Libertia (NZ Iris)

Libertia (New Zealand Iris), could be featured multiple times throughout the year. During the colder months it shows an intense colour. Originally a rich green in summer the Libertia changes to an bright orange and yellow with the colour deepening with the cold. Most notable for its winter colour is Libertia ixiodes and Libertia peregrines. The latter spreads easily, creating a matting of fiery orange spikes. Others like Libertia ‘Taupo Blaze’ have been bred for their shades of orange and red or lemon green in the case of Libertia ‘Lemon Slice’.

Not easily noticed in its native environment the Libertia ixiodes resides in ridges, cliffs, gullies, river banks, coastal cliffs, and upland forest. They survive in many different conditions which make them a staple of a Queenstown home garden, coping well with the poor dry soil in the area. Libertia are also known to flower however with their flowers wrestling among their leaves the ixiodes and peregrins cannot match up to the Libertia grandiflora. As its name implies the white flowers are grandly held above the leaves in spring, making it a welcome addition for any flower lover. The grandiflora will thrive in a semi shaded location with better quality humus rich soil and will not tolerate such harsh frosty conditions as the hardier species do.

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Adding Libertia to your garden will add interest to your garden for several seasons and is a fond favourite for New Zealand gardens. It requires little to no maintenance if you choose the right place for your Libertia, although Libertia grandiflora will prosper with an organic feed and conditioner like Dynamic Lifter added to the soil.