Why plant Audubon® Native Copper Iris?
Not one to follow the crowd? Copper Iris isn’t, either. This intriguing Spirit offers a decidedly different color in wildflowers. When spring slips into summer, it hoists its odd but beautiful brick-red to rusty orange flowers in the air. They’re unlike anything you’ve seen! When they bloom, Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds will soon be over to compliment you on your purchase. They love to sip the sweet nectar of Copper Iris, and warring factions will fight over them. Ideal in a rain garden or at the edge of a pond or other water feature, but suitable for irrigated beds and borders as well.
A water- and heat-loving Spirit, Copper Iris has established itself most extensively in Louisiana, in the Mississippi River Valley. Its natural range then stretches up the Mississippi as far as southern Illinois, wherever it can find constantly moist soil. It will grow in up to six inches of standing water. Copper Iris is one of five species used in the breeding of the popular “Louisiana” Irises. These gorgeous Irises come in a rainbow of colors. Copper Iris adds the genes for its special orange-red color to the mix.
How to use Audubon® Native Copper Iris in the landscape?
Although it’s primarily a plant of the Deep South, Copper Iris is surprisingly hardy, and it can survive winter temperatures to 20 below zero, at least. It can be grown as far north as southern Minnesota.
Hardiness Zone: 5-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Copper Iris
It should be clear by now that Copper Iris flourishes in wet soil! Plant it on the banks of a pond or stream for the biggest, most bountiful specimens. In a manmade water feature, it may be kept in a pot and positioned no more than six inches under the water’s surface. You can also grow Copper Iris in a regular garden border as long as it is irrigated during dry spells. Full sun is best. Plants may be divided in late summer, when they may go through a brief dormancy period. Growth resumes in fall.
How To Water
Water twice weekly for the first 3-5 weeks; then water weekly for the remainder of the year until winter. When you water, water slowly and thoroughly. Watering needs may be altered due to extreme weather conditions.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late year. Continue this for three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Each fall, just before winter sets in clean up the previous years foliage and compost it. Be sure your perennials are mulched well for winter protection. Two inches of an organic mulch will do the job. Consider leaving the plant debris in place through the winter and doing your clean up on the weather warms in the spring. While it doesn't make things neat and tidy, the debris provides overwintering protection for insects, their eggs and pupae including our native Viceroy butterfly.