Blue Flag Iris - Iris versicolor
Blue Flag Iris, also known as the harlequin blue flag, is a perennial flower native to the eastern United States. Its genus name "iris" is named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow. Although they do not bloom in the colors of the rainbow, blue flag iris' are very well known for their bright purple coloration. Blue flag irises can grow anywhere from 24 - 36 inches high. They have clusters of long leaves at the base of their stems. These stems act as the "flagpole" of the plant. The flower acts as the "blue flag." The blue flag iris has a unique petal arrangement. Instead of five or six petals or equal size, the blue flag iris petals have various shapes. There are usually a group of large petals at the base of the flower, with smaller petals growing exposed on the top of the plant. These beautiful flowers grow from bulbs. This means that an iris that grows once will consistently grow back every year. Even if a blue flag iris is cut down, it will sprout again later without issue. These bulbs can survive through the winter, even when the shoot or flower is not visible. This makes the iris very convenient for gardeners who do not want to repeatedly dig up their gardens every season. Blue flag irises are native to marshlands. They are very tolerant of moist and wet soil. They also enjoy full sun to partial shade. These plants are very low maintenance, and deer resistant. They are wonderful for water pond gardens. Their iconic shape and color is a must for any garden. Although the blue flag iris is durable, long lived, and low maintenance, they are susceptible to pests and disease. Issues to watch out for include iris borers, rot, blight, aphids and mosaic virus.