Black Gamecock Louisiana Iris
These blooms are a magnificent 6 inches wide!
'Black Gamecock' is a breathtaking flower, fully half a foot wide and so velvety you can't resist touching the deep purple petals! The golden throat just highlights the ebony hues of the bloom, which stand out like sentries in the early-summer garden! A splendid blossom for any setting, 'Black Gamecock' is especially effective in a waterside planting, the middle of a border, or naturalized in a meadow or woodland setting.
This plant reaches 3 feet high and wide, and is virtually maintenance free in rich, consistently moist soil. Louisiana Iris is a native strain, thriving from Texas to Georgia and South Carolina but concentrated, as you might guess, in Louisiana. (No wonder it sports the colors of the New Orleans Saints!) Usually available only as a mix with a variety of colors, this family just took a big step upward with showy, stately 'Black Gamecock'!
This Iris thrives in full sun, but appreciates a bit of shade in the afternoon in hot climates. It spreads by rhizomes, and the grouping you plant this year will be even bigger and better in a season or two! Tolerant of unseasonable cold as well as heat and humidity, this hardy native is pest and disease free, happy to form a large, thriving clump of smoky color wherever the soil stays moist and is reasonably fertile. Space 'Black Gamecocks' about 2 feet apart. Zones 4-9.
|Zone||4 - 9|
|Bloom Season||Early Summer|
|Plant Height||3 ft|
|Plant Width||3 ft|
|Bloom Size||6 in|
|Bloom Color||Black, Dark Purple|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun, Part Shade|
|Moisture Requirements||Moist, well-drained|
|Resistance||Cold Hardy, Heat Tolerant|
|Soil Tolerance||Normal, loamy|
|Restrictions||Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands|
The dry, sparse appearance of bareroot perennials can be alarming to the novice gardener, but in reality ordering bare root is often the smarter choice. Foliage and blooms can be seductive, but the health and long-term potential of a plant truly lies in its roots. Bareroot plants have several advantages over plants in containers—bare roots are less likely to be harmed in the shipping process, their timing is easier to control, and they are field-grown for larger, healthier root systems. This why Wayside Gardens has had great success with bare root plants, and you can too!
It is safer to ship plants in bareroot form because there is no risk in harming new growth, and therefore the plant actually has a better chance of making it safely into the customer’s garden.
And thanks to refrigerated storage, the timing of bareroot perennials can be precisely controlled. “(Bareroot perennials) are dormant,” explains JPPA Lead Horticulturist Benjamin Chester, “But as soon as they leave the refrigerated storage they’ll begin breaking dormancy.” And once the plant ‘wakes up’, it is ready to begin the growing season in earnest, which means it will quickly catch up to the level of container plants.
The most important benefit of bareroot perennials is that they can be field grown rather than confined to containers. The bareroot Cherry Cheesecake Hibiscus pictured hereperfectly illustrates the difference between a field-grown perennial and a containerized one. Wayside Gardens used to offer this variety in a quart container, like the Monarda next to it. But the Hibiscus was simply too cramped in that space, so Wayside switched to growing it in the earth and selling it bare root. The result is a thick, fibrous mass of roots that used to fill up several cubic feet of soil and which, even in its bare, pruned form would be too large to fit back into the 1 Quart container. What a difference a little space makes! While small and slow-growing cultivars can start well in containers, large and vigorous cultivars need more room to stretch out and develop a solid root system.