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Louisiana Iris Iris hexagona

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
EYE-riss hek-sa-GON-uh
Description

Dixie iris is very rare plant in the Iridaceae family found in a range of South Carolina to Florida and Louisiana.  In the wild is grows in wet, shallow, sunny areas such as marshes, ditches, swamps, and streams or riversides of the coastal areas. 

This herbaceous perennial grows to 3-4 feet tall and spreads 1-1.5 feet but the leaves die back after the early spring bloom and reappear in the fall for the next season. It prefers full sun however it can tolerate some shade and moist to wet acidic rich soils.  Soils that are on the drier side can be mitigated with a heavy application of wet mulch to keep the soil cool and reduce evaporation.  

The blue to lavender flowers are more similar to I. hollandica than I. germanica in that the flowers on tall 1-3 foot stems are delicate and crisp with the three standards being narrower and shorter over the three widespread falls.  The seed pod is hexagonal, but the preferred method of propagation is through the division of the rhizomes planted shallowly. 

It can grow in several inches of water; so are perfect for that low spot in the landscape that never drains, a bog garden or pond gardens. The rhizomes can spread easily making it good for naturalizing or planting along a border.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.  It is subject to iris borers, whiteflies, aphids, thrips and the fungal, bacterial difficulties of the Iris family so the bed should be kept clean of old leaves and debris. 

More information on Iris.

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Flowers Galore Shade Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Black Gamecock'
  • var. hexagona
    Lavender to pink flower
  • var. savannarum
    Light blue to lavender flower
'Black Gamecock', var. hexagona, var. savannarum
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#water garden#rain garden#fragrant flowers#white flowers#purple flowers#blue flowers#stream banks#pond margins#cpp#ponds#tall#forests#naturalizes#border planting#wildflower garden#marshes#rare#wet soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#bog gardens#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Black Gamecock'
  • var. hexagona
    Lavender to pink flower
  • var. savannarum
    Light blue to lavender flower
'Black Gamecock', var. hexagona, var. savannarum
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#water garden#rain garden#fragrant flowers#white flowers#purple flowers#blue flowers#stream banks#pond margins#cpp#ponds#tall#forests#naturalizes#border planting#wildflower garden#marshes#rare#wet soils tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#bog gardens#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Iris
    Species:
    hexagona
    Family:
    Iridaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Rhizomes used in perfumes
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern South Carolina to N. Florida
    Distribution:
    AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MO , MS , SC , TX
    Wildlife Value:
    Mildly resistant to deer
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 9 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Six-sided capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Variegated
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Irregular
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Delicate 3" lavender to blue sometimes white flowers with 3 short, upright standards, 3 spreading, pendant falls, and yellow signals instead of beards.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Knife-like, narrow, to 3 feet long and 1.25 inches wide basal leaves that arise from rhizomes.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses