Blue flag iris - Iris virginica
Blue Flag Iris Plant has its blooming period from late spring to early summer and lasts approximately a month for a colony of plants; however, individual flowers are short-lived. They have a pleasant floral fragrance and are cross-pollinated by bumblebees and long-horned bees. Butterflies and skippers also visit occasionally but are less effective at the cross-pollination. The insects suck nectar primarily from the flowers, but some of the bees also collect pollen. This is a perennial plant that grow two to four feet tall with clumps of sword-shaped green or bluish green erect basal leaves that are up to three feet long. The blue-violet flowers are up to 3½ inches across. The petaloid sepals spread out from the flower’s center and are blue-violet with prominent patches of white and yellow with purple veins. The shorter oblong branches are blue-violet and have upturned tips. The ascending petals are blue-violet with darker purple veins. Later, the flowers are replaced by capsules with rows of tightly stacked seeds. When the capsules split open, the seeds can then float on water and spread to new areas. The root system of fleshy rhizomes with coarse fibrous roots produce colonies of plants. The iris prefers wet to moist conditions, must not dry out, is partial to a partially shaded location, and needs a rich organic soil. Seeds, also, should not dry out; store them with some moist sand. This attractive plant is an ideal plant for the edges of streams, ponds, or retention areas and can be found in Florida marshy areas. It grows in standing water but can tolerate normal garden soils along with regular watering. It is good for massing in front of shrubs, be used as a spiky accent plant, and is a year-round favorite in the garden. Although the lavender to purple flowers only bloom for a short period in the spring, the upright coarse-textured foliage remains attractive.