The iris unguicularis, also called the iris of Algeria, is an evergreen bulbous native to the eastern Mediterranean and northern Africa; the small bulbs are planted at a distance of a few centimeters. They produce numerous erect, ribbon-like leaves, light green or bluish-green, often slightly fleshy, gathered in tufts resembling thick grass cushions, 20-25 cm long. Throughout the winter, from November to February-March, they produce numerous flowers with a diameter of 8-10 cm, carried on a very short stem; they have six petals, which, with the blossoming of the flower, tend to bend downwards; they are wide, bright purple, white, pink, blue, lilac, streaked with white and with a striking golden-yellow line that cuts them in half. These flowers are intensely scented, very particular in the flower beds or in the rocky gardens.
To best cultivate our iris unguicularis, it is advisable to plant the plant in a sunny place, or at the most semi-shady, that enjoys at least 4-5 hours of direct sunlight per day. This is because it is a species particularly used to living in areas with a sultry climate and therefore prefers warm or mild climates. Generally they do not fear the cold even if intense frosts can make the flowers wither early; in any case the flowering will continue as soon as the temperature rises, even by a few degrees. For better flowering it is advisable to place them in a place protected by a wall or a wall of the house. The unguicularis variety is one of the few to flourish throughout the whole year with its resplendent flowers of a particular perfumed blue-lavender color.
Generally they are satisfied with the rains, although it may be necessary to proceed with sporadic summer watering, in the case of very prolonged drought. In autumn it is advisable to enrich the soil with mature organic fertilizer, or with slow release granular fertilizer, specific for flowering plants.
However, these plants are very easy to grow and can give great satisfaction thanks to their bright bluish-purple blooms. They are suitable to beautify the gardens of our homes and can create beautiful flower beds of great visual impact.
As for the most suitable soil for their cultivation, the species of iris unguicularis prefer loose and light, very well drained, slightly alkaline soils. The small size makes these irises suitable for growing in pots.
The multiplication of the iris occurs by seed, using in the spring the seeds that are found in large pods located between the leaves; It is possible to propagate these plants by removing the bulbils, late in the spring or in late summer.
Iris unguicularis: Pests and diseases
Now let's talk about diseases and parasites that could affect our iris plants. In general, we can say that they are not affected by particular diseases, although sometimes the tender leaves are consumed by snails. There are specific problems with this problem that can eliminate snails definitively at the main garden centers and nurseries.