Iris douglasiana (Pacifica) ‘Burnt Sugar’

A groovy selection of our coastal native evergreen douglas iris. From spikey grassy clumps rise 2′ tall flower spikes topped with multiple blooms that are amber and maroon, intricately marked on the interior falls. Blooms April to June. Vigorous clump forming perennial for any soil type where there is not standing water. Regular water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Full sun. High deer resistance.  To 2′ wide in a few years. Oregon native plant.

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Iris douglasiana (Pacifica) ‘Canyon Snow’

Pretty, floriferous and reliable form of Pacific Iris that forms large impressive evergreen patches and in April/May large white flowers with a touch of yellow on the lower petal. To 18″ and spreading to form large colonies in full sun to quite a bit of shade. Virtually any soil. Tolerates summer irrigation if the drainage is excellent otherwise follow a dry summer regime. High deer resistance. Evergreen. Oregon native plant.

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iris foetidissima ‘Variegata’

Useful, pretty foliage plant in a genus most known for flowers. The 1.5″ wide leaves are striped in white and dark green. Each evergreen leaf rises to 15″ and then arches over. In time it forms large showy clumps. In late spring small not very striking brown flowers appear and are followed by much more showy orange berries that appear in fall and persist. To 2′ wide in time. Part shade and rich soil with regular summer water. Avoid blasting hot locations and dry, compacted soils. Great winter appearance and totally hardy to cold. Limited quantities. Excellent deer resistance.

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Iris japonica ‘Eco Easter’

Superior form of this evergreen Japanese Iris species. Sprays of orchid like light blue/white/orange frilly flowers arch from the central clump in early to mid spring. Evergreen fan shaped foliage is good looking year round. To 18″ tall and 3′ wide. Part shade to high overhead shade in rich, well drained soil with regular consistent summer irrigation. Very long lived. This form is more floriferous with bigger flowers. Excellent cut flower. A natural for Japanese gardens. Easy to grow.

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iris lazica

Formerly lumped with the winter blooming Iris- I. unguicularis this larger form blooms later February into April. Large simple violet blue flowers appear within the large evergreen foliage. Foliage is large, one inch wide, rich green, and good looking all the time. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Very very drought tolererant when established. Low maintenance plant that works very well as a small scale year round ground cover. to 14″ tall and spreading several feet wide. High deer resistance. Long lived. Excellent in concert with Hellebores, Cardamine trifolia, and Cyclamen coum.

 

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Iris tenax

Oregon iris or Tough leaved iris is the most northerly species of Pacifica Iris- extending its native zone as far as SW Washington. Its common throughout the western part of our state where it decorates grassy hillsides in full sun to quite a bit of shade with jolly purple flowers April-June. That was the most common color where I grew up SW of Eugene. Turns out this Iris comes in quite a few colors. Pink, blue, white, golden yellow, red- all hues that have been recorded for this species. Conspicuous also, among the 11 Pacifica species this is a winter deciduous perennial and its the hardiest of the lot. Forms grassy clumps in fan shaped displays to about 10″ tall.  A large clump can be 30″ across and filled with nearly 100 flowers- these rise on cantilevered stems to 14″ tall. Not very tolerant of disturbance and to be honest it has stymied us quite a few times. They HATE division. Therefore, we feature seed grown plants- local seed. These plants feature extra vigor and usually bloom with in 3 years. They also establish better.  Best in light shade, dappled shade on slopes. Average, clay soil is what it wants and you can increase vigor by double digging the hole very wide to incorporate oxygen in the soil and water lightly and consistently through the first summer. Then none to light in subsequent years. And admirable competitor with introduced invasives and as per all Iris it is supremely deer and even rabbit resistant.  Winter deciduous- also, it may go drought deciduous in extremely dry summers. Mixes well with native annuals. Established clumps live for decades. The flowers have the light fragrance of root beer (at least to me) and are the only fragrant Pacifica species that I can detect.  First nation people used the incredibly tough leaves to braid into ropes, traps. Which is cool.  Photo credit: East Multnomah Conservation District. Oregon native plant.

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Iris unguicularis

The winter blooming Iris or grass Iris makes us smile as the intense purple/blue flowers with intricate yellow and white markings appear sporadically from November to spring. Grassy upright green foliage offers some weather protection for the flowers which come off and on in mild stretches. Not over the top showy but the individual flowers are stunning at a time of the year when stunning is in short order. Spreads to form evergreen colonies in full sun and well drained soil. Little supplemental water once established. High deer resistance. Long, long lived perennial persisting in old gardens for decades. Place it where you can see it in the winter. Near an entrance for example

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Iris unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’

Not a very enchanting cultivar name but a useful and distinct flower color variant of Algerian Iris. This winter blooming species produces large pale lilac/ivory flowers from November-sporadically until March. The 4″ flowers are nestled in the grassy evergreen foliage but are a light enough color to read from quite a distance. This for is perhaps best planted with the species to produces contrasting flower colors for more depth. To 1′ tall and twice as wide in several years. Full sun to very light shade in well drained soil of average fertility. Not quite as cold hardy as the species but it has to get pretty damn cold (below 5ºF) for damage to occur and that just never happens. Long lived perennial. High deer resistance. Low summer water requirements.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Baby Lilac’

I found this naturally occurring hybrid at the intersection of the species Iris tenax and Iris douglasiana in the southern Oregon coast range. There are 11 Pacific coast species and finding a true hybrid with knowledge of the parents in the wild is rare. Pacific coast iris are most closely related to Siberian Iris. These guys crossed the land bridge from Alaska and speciated. Its still possible to cross Pacifica Iris with Iris siberica. These are known as Calsib hybrids.  This is a sturdy evergreen large clump forming Iris with large pale lilac flowers with intricate markings on each lower petal. Full sun to part shade in virtually any soil with little summer water. Water to establish the first season and then none necessary in subsequent years.  Excellent plant for wild areas. Cold hardy. Leaf clumps are evergreen and flop a bit in the winter. A very heavy blooming plant- a large clump can have 25-30 flowers.  Highly deer and rabbit resistant. Oregon native plant.

Xera Plants Introduction.

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Iris x pacifica ‘Big Wheel’

Astonishing flower color is one reason to love this large flowered Pacifica hybrid. Orange/coral/pink all morphed into one hue with a central zone of deep purple near the center. To 1′ tall and forming spreading clumps of evergreen foliage. Blooms April-June. The large flowers are showy from quite a distance. Part shade is ideal but endures full sun and tolerates total shade. Water regularly through the first summer to establish- the clump should increase by twice its size then none in subsequent years. Resents disturbance best left where it is to live. Great deer resistance. A very unusual color for a PCI.

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