Louisiana Iris Water Garden Plant: Not just for southern ponds anymore!

With names like ‘Delta Dawn’ and ‘Dixie Deb’ you might think of sitting by your pond sipping a mint julep whenever Louisiana Irises come to mind.

And they’re not just for southern folks. These winter hardy plants may look tropical with their 6 inch blooms and spectacular array of colors, but actually they will come back in the spring even when winter temperatures dip down to minus 20 degrees farenheight.

Their colors will amaze you. Louisiana Iris ‘Delta Dawn’ boasts a pale lavendar colored flower in the spring, reaching a height of 30 inches. While Louisiana Iris ‘Dixie Deb’ offers, you guessed it, a bright yellow bloom(reminiscent of those effervescent debutante dresses of the south.) It’s a fast grower reaching 30 inches before the summer’s over. Even the colors remind you of china patterns at a genteel southern gala. Take Wedgewood Blue Louisiana Iris ‘Clyde Redmond.’ Its royal blue colored bloom will make the fourth of July fire works look pale when planted next to ‘Delta Dawn’ and ‘Dixie Deb.’

Irises spread quickly and like shallow water, ideally 1-3 inches deep. The best way to grow these water Irises is in a pot filled with ground clay(unscented kitty litter) and a thin layer of sand on top. Or a heavy clay soil mixture will also work. Place them in the back of your water garden for the most dramatic effect. Their willowy stalks will tower above your other water garden plants and create a lovely backdrop when you’re viewing them from your patio or inside the house.

Irises grow from rhizomes and perform best when you buy them as a small plant either from a local or on-line water garden store. Louisiana Irises will also survive outside of your pond as long as you plant them in a heavy clay soil and keep the roots wet constantly. They can not stand to dry out at all. Being a native of the Mississippi delta, Irises like to have their feet wet! While they love water, Irises don’t like shade. They’ll need six to eight hours of sunlight. And they are very heavy feeders. So if you don’t have a lot of fish in your pond to offer much needed waste, aquatic fertilizer tablets placed deep into the bottom of your pots will work. Try to find the widest pot you can before sinking it into the pond. Otherwise you will be transplanting your iris before you know it. They spread quickly!

So grab a parasol, some sweet tea to drink, and enjoy these southern beauties