Sometimes botanists come up with short "official" words to use in place of longer words. In the case of Iris relatives in the family Iridaceae, botanists use the shortened term irids. Other examples of this phenomenon are aroids (family araceae) and amaryllids (family amaryllidaceae). Like all plant groups, there are gardeners who collect irids and are always looking for the next rare or unusual iris relative. Here at Plant Delights Nursery, we have an enormous on-line plant catalog and have searched through it to create this mini-catalog of irids that look great in the landscape.
When you are ready to buy irids for your garden, check out our online list of irids for sale below.
Since 1988, Plant Delights Nursery has been the choice of serious gardeners and plant collectors looking for the best and rarest perennial plants. We are pleased to have received the Perennial Plant Association Retail Award in 2011, the American Horticulture Society Commercial Award in 2002, and to have been selected as one of the Best Mail Order Plant Nurseries - Garden Design Magazine 2010. Welcome to our family of plant lovers!
(Aka: Freesia laxa, Lapeirousia laxa) This delightful, small, and easy-to-grow South African iris relative makes a small clump of 8" green, iris-like foliage, topped in May and June with small but brilliant scarlet-red flowers. For a small rock garden-sized plant, Anomatheca laxa puts on quite a show. The clump will go dormant in dry summers but returns in late winter. We have found Anomatheca laxa to be amazingly drought-tolerant, even in brutally hot climates. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(aka: Iris chinensis) I first saw this amazing irid in 2010 when I was visiting the Atlanta Botanic Garden. Evidently a plant vendor years earlier had offered what appeared to be a cross of Belamcanda 'Hello Yellow', and the taller orange form of Belamcanda chinensis. We were so impressed after growing this in our home gardens, that we felt it worthy of a name, and Belamcanda 'Gone with the Wind' was born. Belamcanda 'Gone with the Wind' produces 5' tall (6'-7' is possible in part sun) spikes with terminal clusters of lightly speckled butterscotch yellow flowers starting in early July and ending in October (NC) with branched clusters of seed heads that resemble blackberries. Frankly, my dear, we think you'll really like this! Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(aka: Iris domestica, Belamcanda flabellata 'Hello Yellow') This easy-to-grow dwarf blackberry lily is one of those adorable plants you can't help but love. This iris relative looks more like a dwarf gladiolus in foliage, until it is topped in July with 20" tall spikes of 1" round, buttery yellow flowers, followed by blackberry-like ornamental seed pods...a truly great perennial for the border or a knockout in a mass planting! Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This new dwarf, free-flowering crocosmia from the UK's David Tristam is topped from July through September with 20" tall spikes of brilliant orange, outward-facing flowers with a deep red central pattern...hummingbird acclaimed. The sterile (horticulturally neutered) Crocosmia 'Walbreyes' was also selected for its ability to continue to flower heavily even when the clump of rhizomes becomes overcrowded. Rotten name...stunning plant. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This new crocosmia hybrid from the UK's David Tristam produces 2' tall flowering stalks, each with large numbers of 2" wide, outfacing golden flowers with recurved petals. The soft, sword-like green foliage is nearly hidden by the masses of flowers during the summer months...a breeding breakthrough and hummingbird attractor. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This fabulous new sterile dwarf crocosmia comes from the UK breeding program of David Tristam. Despite the silly name, this gem is one of the best crocosmias we have grown. The 20" stalks that rise just above the soft, green, sword-like leaves are topped, starting in July and continuing until September, with brilliant red-orange (RHS 41A) outfacing flowers...hummingbirds say "Bravo!" Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Available 6-20-13 (syn: C. plumbea) This South American bulb is little-known but highly-prized by the few gardeners who have grown it. The pleated, blue-green foliage on this iris relative most closely resembles that of a young palm tree. From midsummer onward, Cypella coelestis is topped with blue, goblet-shaped flowers on sturdy but airy, 2' tall stems. Each flower has 6 petals: 3 large blue-lavender ones and 3 smaller tricolor ones of white, yellow, and blue. Although each flower lasts only one day, the succession of flowers will provide color for several months...quite unique and quite wonderful! Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Cypella herbertii 'Castillo' is a particularly vigorous and floriferous seed strain of the iris-relative, Cypella herbertii, discovered by Argentine bulb guru, Alberto Castillo. The short, upright pleated foliage gives rise to 20" stalks that terminate in sprays of cute orange, hat-like flowers in midsummer. You'll find Cypella herbertii very easy to grow in most well-draining soils. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(syn: Gelasine azurea) Gelasine elongata is a plant whose appearance is sure to fool even the most experienced taxonomist. With foliage resembling a small sabal palm, this South American irid is fascinating even when not in flower. The pleated grey-green leaves of Gelasine elongata are topped with 20" tall stalks, ending in tight clusters of 1", cupped, dark violet-blue flowers in May and June. Although each flower lasts only one day, the procession of flowers is truly amazing. We have this easy-to-grow irid planted in our sunny rock garden where it is exceedingly happy. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Gladiolus 'Atom' is an old mid-1940s hardy Gladiolus dalenii hybrid that forms 3' tall stalks, topped in early summer (mid-June through July in NC) with small, but brilliant red flowers, each outlined with a white picotee stripe...simply delightful and a far cry from the giant florist's glads. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Gladiolus 'Carolina Primrose' was discovered at an old abandoned NC residence, a tribute to its amazing durability. For us, this extremely hardy form (or hybrid) of Gladiolus dalenii var. primulinus makes a fast-multiplying clump that produces 3' tall flower spikes from mid-June through mid-July in NC...attractive to hummingbirds. The floral spikes are laden with soft butter yellow flowers darkening toward the throat, where you will also find small reddish-brown stripes...that's stripe throat, not strep. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(aka: G. byzantinus) We are pleased to finally offer the old-fashioned Gulf Coast pass-along gladiolus...thanks to Texas plantsman, Greg Grant. The 2' tall spikes of intensely tacky, fluorescent cerise-red flowers top the late-January emerging foliage from late April through early May...attractive to hummingbirds. G. 'Cruentus' could be classified as a spring ephemeral since the entire clump is dormant by early summer...be sure to mark the spot when planting summer groundcovers. We tried to find a matching RHS color code with no luck...obviously royal taste doesn't allow this color in the old UK. As you can imagine, its drought-tolerance and ease of culture are legendary! Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
(aka: Gladiolus coll #A12NC-018B) We found this abandoned gladiolus on a roadside bank near the town of Bolivia in Brunswick Co., NC. The corm multiplication rate and subsequent flowering potential is unrivaled. Our clumps of Gladiolus 'Bolivian Peach' are topped with 40" flower spikes in early July...a hummingbird favorite. The lower petals are soft yellow, blending perfectly with the soft peach color of the top petals. Many Gladiolus dalenii forms have proven to be hardy into Zone 6 for those who don't mind experimenting. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This amazing Gladiolus dalenii hybrid was introduced to the market by the former Holbrook Nursery in NC after it was discovered in the frigid mountain town of Boone, NC by extension agent, Jeff Owen. The 4' tall stalks open in early June (NC) with medium-sized flowers of peachy-apricot, highlighted by a yellow center and red streaked throat...attractive to hummingbirds. Although we list this as Zone 6, we have heard many reports of Zone 5 hardiness. Gladiolus 'Boone' multiplies obscenely fast, so you'll have plenty to share. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
From South African seed, we selected this amazing form of the durable and easy-to-grow Gladiolus dalenii var. dalenii. Gladiolus 'Halloweenie' produces 5' tall branched flower spikes of intense scarlet orange flowers, each with a bright yellow throat. The flowering show doesn't start here until Halloween...slightly earlier in warmer climates. This is a truly tacky plant for a tacky holiday...get one today! Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
We initially offered this as we acquired it...as a form of Gladiolus communis var. byzantinus. It never seemed quite right to us, and in 2010, it was confirmed that it was instead Gladiolus italicus...a similar, but different species. Everything we said about the plant is the same...only its name changed...sort of like all those farm workers after the 1986 amnesty. This is a demure dwarf 18" tall rock garden plant, not to be confused with the large tacky (we're not saying tacky is bad) florist glads. For us, Gladiolus 'Texas Snowflurry' flowers in mid-April through early May, then goes dormant for the summer...attractive to hummingbirds. The corms for Gladiolus 'Texas Snowflurry' never get large, so don't freak out when you see their size...they are ready to flower. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
The year was 2004, the highway, Interstate 40, the exit, Old Fort, NC. Though it isn't advertised, old Ford vans can go from 60 mph to 0 in just a few seconds as I can attest when I saw this long-abandoned gladiolus growing by the guardrail just outside Asheville, NC. Upon closer inspection, it was not the Gladiolus dalenii often found in southern gardens, but an old garden hybrid...a very winter-hardy hybrid. Back in our trial gardens, Gladiolus 'Old Fort' produces stunning 7' tall sturdy flower spikes, starting in late June and continuing into July, often with repeat flowering...a hummingbird favorite. This glad probably had a name in a former life, but after being stranded on the highway for years, its memory ain't what it used to be. If you recognize it, please let us know. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
When I first saw this in the UK at Cotswold Garden, it was not in flower but I was intrigued at the thought of a hardy purple glad, so I bought one on faith...and Mastercard. I was rewarded the next spring with a superb gladiolus that produced 4' tall spikes laden with rich, dark purple flowers, starting in early June...a hummingbird magnet. We've now got enough that we grow it both in the garden, with plenty left for arrangements, and to share with you. This vigorous grower is simply superb! Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
This amazing gladiolus was discovered at an abandoned homestead by NC plantsman Arley Dugger. It is certainly possible that this had a cultivar name at one time, but we have been unable to track it down. For us, Gladiolus 'Robeson Red' is one of the earliest of the Gladiolus dalenii hybrids to flower, starting for us in late May and often reflowering sporadically through July. The 4' tall sturdy stalks are laden with medium-sized scarlet red flowers...outstanding! Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)
Iris brevicaulis 'Auburn Blues' started it's second life during our 2006 botanical excursion near Seale, Alabama (just south of Auburn) when we spied it being swept away in a fast-moving, storm-swollen stream. The rhizome that we were able to snag and bring home, quickly made a lovely clump with the best flowering show that we've ever seen on the often sparsely flowering native, Iris brevicaulis. Our original clump is now 2' tall x 3' wide, adorned in spring with large, light blue-lavender flowers that occur near the base of the clump, starting for us in late May. Pot Size: 3.5" (24 fl. oz/709.77 ml)