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A Note on Hybridizing Pacific Coast Irises. 8/14/21

A Note on Hybridizing Pacific Coast Irises. 8/14/21

Bob Sussman


As many of you know we’ve been growing and crossing pacific coast irises for years.  When people visit the nursery I always bring it up. In summer I tell them this is really unique and cool stuff for their shade garden. Sometimes I force them/ask them if they want to see pictures? In fall/winter I tell them that now is planting time. I try not to cross the line and nag or become obnoxious . I’m sure I cross the line sometimes ( a lot). In late winter through spring we see the results of all the years of hybridizing and dividing.

 Generally, with our hybrids, you can see the parents in the child. And this is one of the examples. We crossed ‘Canyon Banner’ – which is actually a cross between ‘Canyon Snow’ – the most well know cultivar and ‘Valley Banner’. ‘Canyon Banner’ is an early bloomer. The other cross parent is ‘San Ardo’, and older hybrid with deep purple flowers that also blooms early.

‘Canyon Banner’ – one of our creations for a few years ago.

Iris ‘San Ardo’ a Ghio hybrid. If you don’t know who Joe Ghio is let me just say he’s one of the greatest iris hybridizers and maybe the greatest hybridizers of pacific coast irises.

The result or I should say one of the results two years later

There were a few like this and some different when one of the parents was more dominate. This is one where you can see traits of both. It bloomed early last year as did it’s parents.  It also seems to be surviving well over the summer- as are it’s parents. And, in only two more years we’ll have enough to start selling for your garden. Oh and for those that are unfamiliar with these…these are for your shade garden. The irises are short with the leaves/plants about 1’+/-  and the flowers….THE FLOWERS ARE BIG! AND ARE BETWEEN 4″ AND 5″ ACROSS.

To do this sort of thing,  I think you have to be a bit of a mental case.  Ahhh I don’t think it I know it. Now back to watching my favorite show…..Holey Moley


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