If you are a collector od dark flowering plants then Iris chrysographes should be high on the list of 'Must Buy' plants. The flowers are very dark, they do look close to black and are stunning when in flower.
It is an easy species to grow, although not easy to find. Although these are a dark flowering iris, it is the black flowering forms that are most sought after.
A rather attractive cultivar is 'Black Night', very deep inky purple flowers, as close to black as any flower. The dark flower consist of 3 upright sepals which are usually darkest part of the flower and 3 drooping petals, and will reach around 25cm across.
The species is from southern China and nearby areas where it is found growing in meadows as well as open in forest areas. Summer flowering, Iris chrysographes is an excellent addition to a Japanese or Chines style garden where the deep black flowers add a sense of drama and the green foliage is a welcome addition.
A few cultivars are available including Black Night , Around Midnight and Black Beauty
Iris chrysographes Care
These are a medium sized Iris reaching around .5m in height with rather graceful arching lance shaped foliage on mature plants. Suited to full sun to part shade and preferring a well drained humus rich soil they do like an alkaline soil, so check soil ph.
A good rich soil is essential, so if you are growing in the garden dig in some well rotted compost and aged manure before planting. Moisture is essential in summer, however overwatering can be problem.
Plants will die back in winter and old foliage can be removed at this time.
Propagation is from seed, or by division of established clumps of rhizomes.
Seed germination is problematical as the tough coated seeds require scarification to germinate, abrasion seems easiest, individual seed scratching may be more effective.
Fertilize with a liquid seaweed fertiliser as soon as they show signs of life late in winter. An all purpose fertiliser after the flowers are spent and top dress with well rotted compost or mulch in summer when foliage has died down
Best time to buy and plant Summer to Spring.
Botanical Name : Iris chrysographes
Includes histriodes and danfordiae
- Care : Easy
- Position : Full sun to part shade
- Soil : Moist, well drained, humus rich
- Height : 30 - 50 cm
- Propagation - Division in late summer - autumn
- Cultivars - "Black Night ", "Around Midnight" and "Black Beauty" and others
Iris Plants and Bulbs for the garden include:
- Bearded rhizomatous iris (germanica irises)
- Siberian Iris iris sibirica
- Dutch Iris
- Beardless rhizomatous irises
- Bulbous irises
- "Junos" Bulbous irises
- Iris Reticulata
- Japanese Iris (ensata iris)
Iris are a diverse genus or plants and with well over 300 different Iris species requirements for growing different iris species vary. Consult your local nursery or mail order supplier for specific instructions.