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NEOMARICA caerulea

Image of Neomarica caerulea

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Iridaceae

Botanical Name

NEOMARICA caerulea

Plant Common Name

Giant Apostle's Iris, Walking Iris

General Description

Interesting, fragrant, royal blue iris flowers decorate the walking iris from late summer to spring. Native to Brazil, this tender perennial is popular for tropical beds and greenhouses. It is very easy to grow and propagate. It grows and spreads from underground stems or rhizomes, and plantlets form at the end of the flower stems after blooming. As the plantlets grow in size and weight, the stems bend down to the ground and they root.

Walking iris is clump-forming and its leaves are broad, sword-shaped and pointed at the ends. They grow in flat, fan-like arrangements, as do most members of the Iris family. The brilliant lavender-blue iris flowers are marked with white and burgundy-brown spots and borne in clusters on leafy stems held above the foliage. This species tends to bloom in succession from late summer through to spring. Each bloom lasts for only one day. The fruits that follow are brown, three-valved capsules.

Sites with partial sun and moist, well-drained soils are ideal. Unlike most of its relatives, walking iris will not perform well at the water’s edge. It is moderately salt tolerant and is quite frost sensitive. The walking iris is a reliable, easy-to-grow perennial for interior and exterior landscapes. Plant it in masses as a groundcover or in large beds or containers. It is also a great houseplant in locations with bright light.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 14

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Width

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter, Late Winter, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Thicket/Colonizing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Blue, Burgundy, Lavender, Blue Violet

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Groundcover, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes