Plant of the Month for March 2020

Iris graminea

Description and General Information:

Iris graminea is widespread across southern Europe east into the Caucasus region.  In the wild it grows in scrubby areas, meadows and gravelly areas.  Plants form tufts of narrow, shiny leaves 30-60 cm long.  The flower stems are generally shorter than the leaves so that the flowers are partly hidden.  Each flower stem produces one or two flowers.  Each blossom is 6-8 cm across and highly fragrant.  Flower colour varies from reddish-purple to violet-blue.  This iris belongs to the Spuria group and is perhaps the most widely grown from that group.

Blooming Season:

May in southern areas to July in northern.


This iris perfers full sun and well-drained,  humus-rich soil that is on the acidic side.  One established, it can tolerate some drought.  It is hardy to zone 3.


Division, seeds


Mature clumps may be dug and divided after flowering. However, they are slow to re-establish and may take several years to settle down.




Seeds should be sown and exposed to warm temperatures for 4 weeks, then stratified for 6 weeks and finally exposed to 10 C for about 6 weeks.  This treatment mimics fall sowing.  Alternatively sown seeds in September and leave outside for the winter.  They will naturally germinate come spring.

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