Magazine article Sunset

Arilbreds Do Their Parents Proud; These Hybrid Iris Are Striking and Adaptable

Magazine article Sunset

Arilbreds Do Their Parents Proud; These Hybrid Iris Are Striking and Adaptable

Article excerpt

Arilbreds do their parents proud Native to the dry climates of Iran, Russia, Syria, and Turkey, intricately patterned aril iris stand out among te iris family. Distinctive features include one or more of the following: dramatic stippling, dark veining, an unusual dome or pagoda shape, and a dark spot ("signal") below the beard on the lower petals ("falls"). Because rhizomes can easily rot, however, arils are considered temperamental.

Less finicky are arilbred iris, with aril and tall or dwarf bearded parents. The higher the percentage of aril genes (3/4 aril and 1/4 bearded, for example), the more they resemble pure arils. Colors vary and come in many combinations.

While arils grow best in the high deserts of Arizona, California, and New Mexico, arilbred--because of their bearded lineage--are much more adaptable to almost any climate> with a little extra care, many do well even in coastal areas.

Both aril and arilbred iris bloom earlier than bearded iris, which helps extend flowering time if you grow bearded ones too. In mild-winter climates, arils start blooming in February or March, followed by arilbreds in March and April.

The key to success is good drainage

In mild-winter areas, plant arils and arilbreds in the fall (in hot inland areas, wait until temperatures stay below about 90[degress])> in cold climates, plant in late summer. Choose a site in full sun (or afternoon shade in desert areas) with very well-drained soil. …

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