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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - April 22, 2007

From: Lago Vista, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Water Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Companion plants for irises
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello...what do you suggest as a companion plant for irises? I live in the Texas Hill Country. Thanks.

ANSWER:

There are several of possibilities for companion plants for your iris, depending on whether they are growing in a flower bed or growing in a wet boggy area. Many native irises [e.g., Iris brevicaulis (zigzag iris) and Iris fulva (copper iris)] grow in marshy areas in the wild, but they also adapt to growing in traditional garden flower beds.

First, here are some suggestions for plants with contrasting color and foliage for a regular well-drained (but with moist soil) flowerbed:

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Stachys coccinea (scarlet hedgenettle)

Physostegia intermedia (slender false dragonhead)

If your irises are growing in a semi-aquatic or aquatic area, then here are other suggestions:

Marsilea macropoda (bigfoot waterclover)

Bacopa monnieri (herb of grace)

Hydrocotyle umbellata (manyflower marshpennywort)

Saururus cernuus (lizard's tail)

Pontederia cordata (pickerelweed)


Iris brevicaulis

Iris fulva

Aquilegia canadensis

Asclepias tuberosa

Asclepias incarnata

Salvia coccinea

Stachys coccinea

 


Physostegia intermedia

Marsilea macropoda

Bacopa monnieri

Hydrocotyle umbellata

Saururus cernuus

Pontederia cordata
 

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