Iris hexagona
Common Name: iris
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Blue and white with yellow signals
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Wet Soil

Culture

Best grown in acidic, humusy, organically rich, moist to wet soils in full sun. Plants may be grown in shallow water. Some part shade is tolerated. Winter hardy to USDA Zone 7 (perhaps 6). Shallow rooted rhizomes will spread to form colonies.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Iris hexagona, commonly called Dixie iris or Carolina iris, is a rhizomatous perennial native to coastal plains, swamps, marshes, bayous, damp hillsides, ditches, riversides, slow-moving streams and areas of shallow water in the southeastern U.S. ranging from South Carolina to Florida and Louisiana. It typically grows to 3-4’ tall with a spread to 9-18” wide. Mildly fragrant, blue to violet (rarely white) iris flowers (to 3 1/2” deep) bloom in spring (April-May) on stems rising from a clump of stiffly erect, yellow-green to bright-green, sword-shaped, basal leaves (each to 2-3’ long and to 1 1/4” wide). Each flower features a funnelform perianth consisting of three wide-spreading, downward-arching falls (sepals) and three upright but shorter and narrower standards (petals). Signals are bright yellow. Leaves wither and die after flowering, but new leaves emerge in fall for the following year. This is one of five species of iris that make up the Louisiana Iris group (Series Hexagonae). It is currently considered to be one of the rarest of the irises native to the U.S.

Genus named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

Specific epithet means six-angled in reference to the six-angled seed pods.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf spot, bacterial soft rot, iris rust and mosaic viruses may appear. Watch for slugs, snails, cutworms, whiteflies, leaf miners, aphids and thrips. Iris borers can cause significant problems in areas where they are found.

Garden Uses

Water gardens, bog gardens, moist low spots. Pond, pool, stream or river margins. Thrives in several inches of shallow water. If grown in borders, it needs a moist to wet mulch to help retain soil moisture.