Iris germanica Flammenschwert
Description: A distinct Iris with bright yellow upright standards in the centre and brown markings on the falling petals each with a yellow border creating a wonderful combination. Though this looks like a new variety it is in fact a much loved older variety with catalogue records showing its availability in nurseries in the 1920s. Irises always attract attention with their exotic flowers in early summer. The flowers of this border bearded form are freely produced in May - June when grown in a sunny position.
Uses: Always plant in a sunny border and avoid competition from other plants so that the roots are baked for the best flowering.
Climate/Position: Sunny position required.
Height/Spread: 50cm x 40cm
Soil Requirements: Well drained soil.
Pruning: Cut back leaves in late autumn/winter.
Special Requirements: Bearded irises need to be planted with the rhizome, or root, just above the soil. This is because the rhizome needs to be baked by the sun in order to form flowers. Make sure that there is not too much competition from surrounding plants and remove any weeds. Rhizomatus Iris also need to be rejuvenated every few years by lifting the rhizome (root) after flowering and cutting out the oldest dead or damaged parts and replanting the younger roots but ensuring the rhizomes remain exposed to the sun.
Additional Interest: The German Iris is actually native to the Mediterranean region and can be traced back to the late 1500s. The dried root, which smells like violets, was commonly used in ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt as a fragrance, flavoring and cosmetic ingredient. Although the aroma intensifies as it ages, curing the root can take up to three years or more. Once dry, the ground up root can be used in potpourii, perfumes, and lotions and extract that can be found in many beverages and baked foods and sweets.