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North American Irises Are Now Easy to Find

Making It Grow! Minute logo

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. For many years the irises we grew in our yards were Siberian, Dutch, German or Japanese irises. Now, however, with the new interest in native plants, it’s easy to find North American species that are ethically collected and propagated. For damp areas or in a good irrigated garden soil, Louisiana irises are ideal. These are vigorous plants with no pests or disease problems, they are even deer resistant should would be beautiful at the edge of a pond. One cultivars that will appeal to certain South Carolinians is Black Gamecock – a six inch flower on a three foot stem that’s such a dark purple it’s almost black. But don’t despair If that doesn’t appeal to you -- there are over 300 named Louisiana irises to choose from and they come in a wide variety of colors and sizes.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.