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Bernieh's Garden

Neomarica longifolia - Yellow Walking Iris

Genus: Neomarica.

Species: Neomarica longifolia.

Common name: Yellow Walking Iris
Botanic name: Neomarica longifolia, also known as Trimezia martinicensis
Family: Iridaceae

This is a lovely iris for tropical and subtropical areas, where the plants more commonly known as ‘Iris’ (eg the ‘Bearded Iris’ etc) cannot grow. They are really easy to grow and quite pest resistant.

Yellow Walking Iris stays green all year and grows in grassy clumps. The sword like leaves grow in a fan shape, and are around 1 inch wide. The plant grows around 2-3 feet high.

The plant flowers intermittently all year, peaking in spring and summer. The delicate iris flowers are bright yellow with mottled brown spots and about 3-4cm across. Each flower lasts only one day,
but another flower will takes its place the following day.
As the flowers fade, tiny plantlets with air roots develop on their stems, and as these mature, their weight causes the leaves to bend down and touch the ground (ie ‘walk’).

The young plants then root and start the process all over again. If left to itself, after a few years, even a small clump of Walking Iris will ‘walk’ for quite some distance!
You can easily snip off the plantlets when air-roots appear, and either replant them for new plants, or just get rid of them – either way, clipping them off will promote more flowering.

The new plantlets will take 1 - 2 years to bloom, depending on climate and care. You can also easily propagate plants by digging up and dividing your main clump.

This plant tolerates the full spectrum of light, from full sun to fairly deep shade, although more sun always equals more flowers. It can even be grown indoors. However, the best light is full sun to bright broken light.

Unusually for many tropical plants, the soil does not need to be particularly fertile, and an average soil is fine. (Again, however, your plant will perform better for you if grown in a richer soil).
Although Yellow Walking Iris will tolerate dry conditions quite well, it prefers moderately damp (but well drained) soil. Mulch is not necessary, and if it is used, it should not be heavy or packed closely around the bottom of the plants, as the rhizome roots may rot if soil is too moist. Water more often in warm months, keep fairly dry when cool.

It will grow indoors or out, in the garden or a pot. In colder climates, it can be grown in a pot and brought in during the winter. While the plants are evergreen, growth will slow in cool or dry weather.

Photos of this plant

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