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Where Some New Irises Come From- Bob Sussman

Where Some New Irises Come From


Plants do funny things because they are plants.  We’ve been growing and crosses pacific coast irises for many years. In the western states there are some 11 or 13 irises that are native. As a general comment they all cross. The purpose of crossing irises is the same as crossing any other plant or animals for that matter. The hybridizer tries to produce bigger and more beautiful flowers that will also grow well in people’s gardens. It’s multi year process taking two years from cross to flower. When I first started doing this it was much more random than systematic. I didn’t have much data to work with especially in terms of the criteria of growing well in people’s gardens in my region, southern California. Still, even a broken clock gets the time right 2x/day and we produced a few nice exceptional growers. One of the early ones ‘Dr. Richie’ I named after one of my iris buddies Dr. Richard Richards, a nice red one. 

I’ve often used ‘Dr. Richie’ as a cross parent as it tends to push the offspring toward the reds and when crosses with a dark maroon like ‘Now Showing’ we got some interesting results.

Often though we’ll just collect the seeds and grow them out. Sometimes the offspring can drift significantly from the parent. Like these mostly white offspring from ‘Dr. Richie’. An excellent grower and one that we’ll have ready for your garden but still a year off.

Last year we collected seeds from this white ‘Dr. Richie’ seedling. They’ve germinated and look like little grasses or weeds. The jury is out until a year from this spring.

More to look forward to.

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Featured Plant



Botanical Name

Iris germanica TB 'Amathyst Winter' Re

Common Name

Amathyst Winter


Flower Color

Purple / Yellow

Mature Size

2-1/2 tall × 2 wide

Climactic Requirements


Full Sun / Filtered Sun


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