April Flower of the Month: Iris

Nothing announces springtime like bulb flowers breaking through the soil. Among the most beautiful bulb plants are the bright Dutch Iris. In the floral industry the “Blue Magic” cultivar is the most widely used in account of it’s dark blue purple petals with the yellow splashes in the center. The Iris is also available in many other colors but the blue/purple is the most recognized.

Interestingly, the Iris flower has been used as a symbol for Kings of France for ages. In fact, Irises were on Louis VII banner and purple robe during the second French crusade and were identified as fleur de Louis, the “flower of Louis”  because he favored them so much. Now the question regarding the fleur-de-lis...is it an Iris, paying tribute to Louis VII or is it a Lily which is the true meaning of fleur-de-lis?? Hmm, we may never know but it is the emblem for the city of New Orleans.

The vase life for the Iris is considered average, as they open as soon as they are out of cooler temperature. Select flowers with sturdy straight stems and are showing some color but are not completely open for longer vase life. Each flower has 3 upward facing petals known as “standards” and 3 downward petals know as “falls”. The falls petals invite pollinators to follow the brightly colored “landing strip” toward the blossoms mouth.

Like many other flowers, the colors of an Iris hold symbolic meaning: purple represents admiration and wisdom; blue symbolizes faith and hope; yellow symbolizes passion and white represents purity.  Irises are named after Iris, the goddess of the rainbow in ancient Greek mythology.

Stop by throughout the month to get your Irises in an arrangement or make a striking arrangement with just the tall, straight purple/blue blooms themselves.