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Iris foetidissima is the perfect iris for a shady spot, particularly beneath trees, where other plants struggle. It has architectural evergreen foliage and dull purple flowers, but it comes into its own in autumn when its large seedpods split open to reveal rows of orange-red seeds that remain well into winter. It works well with with other shade lovers such as Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae and, under deciduous trees, dwarf spring flowering bulbs. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Grow Iris foetidissima in moist but well-drained soil in sun or shade. Remove faded foliage in autumn.
Plant type: Hardy perennial
Flower colour: Yellow, Bronze
Foliage colour: Dark green
Feature: Flowers, Fruit
Sun exposure: Partial shade, Shade
Soil: Well-drained/light, Moist
Skill level: Experienced
Time to plant seeds: September to May
Time to divide plants: June to August
This Iris is nothing but a weed. Its flowers are grey and the foliage is uninteresting.
Dig it up and bin it.
This beautiful iris has delicate flowers, huge bright green pods and the most fantastic, startling orange-red berries that persist long after other plants have been and gone. It can cope with being under trees, even in relatively dry shade, and has been a blessing in my garden! I'm so pleased to have finally identified it - so if you are planning on digging it up, try offering it free to other people who need shade plants rather than binning it, as the previous commenter suggests :)
A brilliant plant for problem areas. It is evergreen and the flowers are lovely, understated, but lovely. The split seed pods with their bright orange-red seeds are beautiful in winter. It can cope with just about anything - shade, drought, sun. Seedlings are easily identified and can be transplanted easily.
Love this native iris. The strap-like leaves provide evergreen structure all through the Winter. The bright orange berries give a zing to the drabness when nothing else is in colour. It's a tough as old boots, easily dividable, but never invasive.
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