Actually this plant is not true iris, although they certainly share many of the same characteristics. Starfish iris is a remarkable plant that is from South Africa and it has an exotic, although familiar, appearance. Best grown in United States Department of Agriculture zones 9 to 11, and the corms can be planted indoors in northern locations. If you are a gardener and you are looking for something interesting and amazing to add to your landscape, growing this plant will provide you with those attributes and a whole lot more.

Furthermore, this plant blooms in late winter to early summer and then they enter dormancy in summer. A single corm will really develop numerous corms over time, giving a brightly colored floral display after several seasons. In spite of this plant’s exotic appearance, care for the plant is minimal and the corms are easy to grow in a sunny location. Nevertheless, this is a frost tender plant and it cannot withstand freezes. This plant has thick, fleshy sword-like leaves that rise from the corms in fall. The 1 ½ inch (3.8 cm.) blooms are the stars of the show. They have 6 creamy white petals with ruffled edges and purple to mauve spots dotted across the surface. Many forms of Ferraria also have a delicious vanilla-like scent while others have a strong disagreeable odor that attracts insects. Each of the corms produces just a few flowering stems and the flowers are short lasting, often for only a day. Starfish iris plants do, in fact, resemble a frilly spotted starfish. 

How to Grow Starfish Iris plant

Growing this plant is very easy in a frost free zone, in full sun where soil drains freely. You can even grow the starfish iris plants in containers with a loose slightly sandy soil. The corms really produce best in temperatures of 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 24 Celsius). Happiest plants should experience cool nights 65 Fahrenheit (18 Celsius). To grow the starfish iris plants in containers, you can plant the corms 1 inch deep and two inches apart (2.5 and 5.1 cm). Outdoors, install plants three to five inches deep (7.6 to 10.2 cm) and space them six to eight inches (15.2 to 20.3 cm). Make sure you keep the soil moderately moist. When the flowers begin to die off you can allow the foliage to persist for a while to gather solar energy to fuel the next season’s growth. After that let the soil dry out for a couple of weeks and then dig up the corms to store them over winter in a dry paper bag.

  How to care for Starfish Iris plants

One of the biggest things to remember with these plants is to divide them every three to five years. The developing corms will tend to pile up on each other, minimizing the number of blooms produced. You can dig around the area at least twelve inches (30 cm.) under the corms and gently lift them. You can separate any that has grown together and only plant a few at a time in each location. Container plants will really benefit from feeding just as the corms begin to produce foliage. Is only few pests and disease that impact on these pretty plants although as with anything having foliage, snails and slugs can be a nuisance. There are lots of cultivars to choose from. Starfish Iris plants can be quite addictive so avail yourself of the many other colors and hybrids available.

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