About Oregon Iris: The word "iris" comes from Greek, meaning "rainbow." The mythical Iris of Greek legend personified the rainbow, acting as the messenger from heaven to earth. This flower also appears in ancient Egyptian sculpture and tradition, as a symbol of life and power. Native Americans and early settlers found a practical use for this plant, using the strong fibers from the leaves to make ropes, nets, and string; the Latin species name "tenax" means "tough," in reference to these leaves.
Oregon Iris Germination: To help soften the hard seed coat, soak the seeds overnight in warm water before planting. To germinate, these seeds need a period of several months of cold followed by warmth. To accomplish this naturally, direct sow the seeds in fall; they will begin to germinate in the late spring and early summer. Alternatively, the seed can be store in moist sand in the refrigerator for 60-90 days then planted 1/2" deep in peat pots. For best results, use slightly acidic soil and keep the soil moist until germination. The seedlings can be planted outdoors in late spring or early summer or when there is no chance of frost, or when they have reached a height of 4-6".
Growing Oregon Iris Seeds: Seedlings will need occasional watering until they become established. Mature plants are adaptable, tolerating either moist or dry soil. These native plants flourish with little attention, and soon form dense colonies that often crowd out other plants. When fully grown, the plants can easily be divided in late fall. Blooming usually begins in the second year after planting.
Harvesting Oregon Iris: These blossoms do not perform well as cut flowers, and are best enjoyed outdoors.
Saving Oregon Iris Seeds: Very soon after blooming, this plant will produce large green pods that quickly turn brown and drop their seed. Gather the pods as soon as the seeds inside have turned brown; spread the pods out to dry completely, then separate the seeds from the husks. Store the cleaned seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Oregon Iris Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Tough-leaf Iris Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Late Spring - Early Summer Height: 6-12 inches Spacing: 9-15 inches Light: Part Shade Soil Moisture: Dry USDA Zone: 7b-10b Seeds Per Oz: 1800 Produces a compact plant with slender, grass-like leaves and 3-4" pale to bright lavender blossoms with slightly darker veins.