Iris pallida ssp pallida
Iris pallida ssp pallida has sweetly fragrant blooms in pretty soft lavender tones.
With fetching cream and gold beards and a silken, soft fluttering texture.
Sweetly fragrant silken blooms
Fragrant blooms on branched stems in late spring and early summer.
But this lovely plant would be worth growing for the foliage alone.
Because it has broad blades of grey that stand sentinel upright as a vertical statement in the garden from spring well into autumn.
Source of fragrant orris root powder
The dried root of iris pallida ssp pallida is a source of Orris root powder. (Though other species of Iris are also used to make this handy commodity – there is a big market for Orris powder).
Orris root powder has been used for centuries as a medicine.
Then in medieval times it was also believed to hold magical properties and be part of the alchemical process of turning base metal into gold.
But it’s most popular use, and one that still applies today, is to use it as a perfume and potpourri fixative.
A tip if you are drying the roots at home – dry them long and well so they develop full fragrance.
The fresh roots are also distilled to make commercial Orris oil. Which is used to flavour drinks, lollies and chewing gum.
Water-wise & easily grown
Iris pallida ssp pallida is native to Croatia, so no wonder it prefers dryer soils.
It is a tough and vigorous grower and remains evergreen in all but very cold areas of Australia.
And is robustly frost hardy down to at least – 20C.
It sometimes also has the common name of Dalmatian Iris, for obvious reasons, and is a water-wise plant that is well adapted to hot summers and periods of dry.
Very good in rocky places & gravel soils
So the Sweet Iris is very good in rocky areas and gravel soils.
And it’s Croatian origins from rocky limestone slopes also means it loves some dolomite lime annually.
Plant Iris pallida ssp pallida in Full Sun, though it can also tolerate some Partial Shade for part of the day.
Fragrant cut flower on strong stems
Pick the strong stems when the buds are just beginning to unfurl and the make good cut flowers for vases with a pretty scent.
80cm. High in silken bloom x 30cm. Wide clump of very upright, slender, grey sword-like foliage.
SEED SOWING ADVICE:
Sow in punnets indoors / or sow directly in the garden autumn or winter.
INDOORS: First rub the seeds gently between your hands with some sharp sand (or you can use fine sandpaper) to score the seed case. Then soak seeds in warm (not boiling) water that has previously been boiled.
And leave stand in the cooling water for 24 hours.
Now drain the seeds and sow in a punnet on the surface of good quality seed raising mix.
And cover with grit/mix/sand/vermiculite to depth the same as the of seed’s diameter.
Place the punnet in a warm, well-lit position (not in direct sunlight).
Continue to keep the punnet moist at 16 to 21°C for 2-4 weeks.
Then wrap the moist, sown punnet in cling wrap or a plastic bag & place in the fridge (not freezer) for 4-6 weeks.
Now remove from fridge, unwrap punnet & place again in a warm, well-lit position.
Temperatures 12-21°C approx. are ideal for rapid and optimum germination.
Seedlings emerge within approx. 30 days.
But patience – do not discard punnet, as some seedlings may come later.
SEED COUNT: 3 seeds per pack approx. (Seeds are scarce).
(We always aim to exceed the stated seed count, and give a generous serve).
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