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Re: Iris confusa 'Chengdu' hardiness

--- Richard Wanberg <Richard@mpadesign.com> wrote:
> Talk about spring fever.......
> Thank you David Feix for sharing about your plants.
> Do you have any info on Iris confusa "Chengdu's
> hardiness? Sunset lists them
> at zone 17 (USDA zone 10) but I would
> be interested in hearing if others have pushed the
> limit.
> Just 10 minutes away from the Bay in San Anselmo, it
> was cold enough this
> winter to freeze back my Hedychiums and
> defoliate the bananas, mountain papayas and
> Brugsmania. And this was a mild
> winter!  The few Aechmea I have take the cold just
> fine (check cold
> hardiness chart at
> ).
> I would be interested in a source for some of the
> plants you listed in
> addition to Baylands Nursery.
> regards,
> Richard Wanberg

I would guess that Iris confusa 'Chengdu' is perfectly
hardy in USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 14, 15, 16 ,17, and
19-24.  The plants are doing quite well at the UCB
Botanic Garden, and survived 22F in the 1990 freeze,
although the foliage and blooms may have been lost
that spring.  The roots are fully hardy, and I've used
this as a container plant on a covered porch in Davis,
with no problems.  I do have to caution however, that
snails and slugs love to eat the leaves of this plant,
which can ruin the beauty of it if you tend towards
being a perfectionist.  The flowers could also be lost
in a late winter frost, so it is probably best under
tree cover where it does freeze.  Mine bloom equally
well in fairly deep shade as in sun.  The white color
form and a paler blue are probably more commonly
grown, but not as showy in my opinion.  The white form
does bloom earlier in the season also.

I don't know who may be growing these commercially,
but I suggest calling UCB Bot Garden to find out if
they are, or will propagate it.  I was fortunate to
have seen the plant in mass at UCB, and then run into
Roger Raiche at his garden one fall, and he kindly
gave me a white, pale blue and the deeper blue Chengdu
form for my garden.  (I've since only kept the Chengdu
for my own garden).  They all spread so quickly, that
I just dig up some whenever I want to use it in a
garden design.  You can see the bloom if you look up
the March plant display at the www.calhortsociety.org
web site, along with Bartlettina sordida as well.  I
will probably be donating a few to the June 2/3,2001
Cal Hort Sale at Lake Merrit Garden Center, but would
expect them to sell out the first preview night.

For nurseries for the other plants, Rosendales,
Suncrest, San Marcos Growers, Monterey Bay Nursery and
Gary Hammer of Desert to Jungle are some of my
favorites.  Baylands in East Palo Alto and Desert to
Jungle,(Los Angeles), are both retail and wholesale,
the others are all wholesale.  As far as I know, only
Baylands has the Gnidia,(and perhaps Rosendale/Sierra
Azul and/or Western Hills), but Richard Ward at The
Dry Garden in Oakland has also carried this plant in
the past, and you could give him a call at 510 547
3564 to find out if he has some in stock.


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