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Preparing for Fall – Pacific Coast Iris Production

Preparing for fall pacific coast iris production– Bob @ Matilija Nursery

This is the time of year when we clean up our pacific coast irises in their “big” pots and take a good inventory, so we can see what to divide in fall. Stuff that looks marginal we toss out. This pacific coast iris planting season 2020/2021- fall/winter we’ll be offering large quantities of 33 different named and to be named pacific coat irises. We have been growing/dividing and growing/ dividing all of these irises for several years in order to reach this point.  More new ones will follow next year.

What about the new first blooms from last spring? There were a little over 100 new first blooms that I took photos of (and posted on Facebook/Instagram) and  marked as exceptional.  Which ones will go forward?  Which ones are the best 25 or 30, with exceptional flower color/pattern, structure, and vigorous growth? My iris buddy Dr. Richards- my iris “pusher” used to say “the world is full of beautiful irises but which ones are the good growers?”

Beautiful flowers are necessary but they must also grow well and easily to go forward. A tip to determine how well these pacific coast irises will grow is to look at how fast the fans- the green growth, the leaves, will fill a large pot at the end of summer.

Here’s an example of one that meets the criteria of exceptional flower beauty and easy to grow. The parents were all pacific coast iris “blue bloods” if you can have such a thing.The grandparents were:’Canyon Snow’ x ‘Seagal’  and ‘Stroke of Midnight’ x ‘Untitled’.

Now, what does it look like in a pot in summer?

While summer isn’t over yet,  neither is fall for that matter and there are a lot of 100+ degree days a head, this is about as good as it gets. This is what you want to see in your garden….nice dark green clumps when spring is over. Note all of what look like little clumps are rhizomes that can be split off to for new plants in October – which is what we’re going to do. 

One of the many steps in the long process to create these exceptional irises for your native garden!

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Featured Plant



Botanical Name

Lilium pardalinum

Common Name

leopard lily


Flower Color


Mature Size

5' tall × 4' wide

Climactic Requirements


Filtered Sun / Part Shade / Shade


Occasional / Moderate
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