Lovely lilac flowers. The large, silken petals unfurl November to January.
The sublime elegance of Japanese Iris brings an almost magical tranquillity to the garden. The colour combinations are definitely exotic and the large petals create a magnificent display. The ribbed, sword shaped leaves form nice clumps and the flowers grow on straight stems above.
They will grow across a variety of positions. Japanese Iris thrive in full sun but will take afternoon shade.
Here in Silvan, we grow Japanese Iris in our open paddock and they flower beautifully every year. We don’t supplement water over summer (though we are a bit spoiled for with high natural rainfall in the hills), and do nothing but fertilise and divide them as required. Amazingly, in garden soil they will even grow to become dry tolerant, and can be left in the ground year round.
They are commonly known as water plants, but they are more versatile than that! Garden soil, even if it is on the dry side is fine, as long as they have some supplemental watering during growth and flowering. You can also grow them alongside or even in ponds. They are surprisingly diverse!
They have been cultivated in Japan for over half a century, they are a symbol of good portent and so are often seen at celebrations and ceremonies. They originated in boggy meadows that naturally drained during the dormant period of Japanese Iris. A popular plant, they were planted beside rice paddy fields where their beauty was reflected in the waters.
It is the pattern of moisture during the growing period and relative dryness during the dormancy which provides the ideal growing conditions for these magnificent Iris. However, if you don’t have rice paddies or ponds at home, don’t despair, they are very versatile and can easily be grown in almost any garden setting.
They do need a humus rich neutral to acid soil and won't tolerate limey or alkaline soils.
If desired, you can have your Japanese Iris submerged in a pond in the traditional way, but if your ponds are permanent, you must grow them in large pots and remove them as the leaves brown, since the rhizomes like good drainage during their annual dormancy. Put the pots back in the water then they shoot again in spring. Alternatively drain the area over their dormancy.