LILY / IRIS
Requirements: Full sunlight or partial shade. Rich, well-drained soil preferred; alkaline soil often appreciated. Regular watering during dry periods.
The most critical growing factor is the moisture level of the soil and drainage. Irises will absolutely not tolerate "wet feet" (too much water will cause the rhizomes to rot) and require very well-drained soil at all times of the year. They will grow in any good garden soil as long as this drainage is provided. All Irises will produce the most flowers if they receive a full day of sun, but will also perform reasonably well with a half day of sun. The plant grows 60–90 cm tall in full sun and is often found blanketing hillsides; the flowers can range from red to orange to yellow, or mixed, and bloom in summer to early autumn (fall). The leaves grow in a fan, like those of a gladiolus. The flowers are typically orange spotted with red, although yellow-flowered varieties are in cultivation. The seed pods open in the fall, showing clusters of black seeds whose fancied resemblance to a blackberry gives the plant its common name, "blackberry lily". The leopard lily is a flowering perennial of Chinese origin, and is locally used in Chinese villages for its medicinal values. Currently, studies are underway to investigate its apparent potential against prostate cancer. The dried rhizome has long been used in East Asia to treat throat troubles, asthma, swollen liver and spleen, gonorrhea, malaria, and arrow poisoning. The herb is a principal ingredient in a lung support formula to reduce inflammation (heat) and fight viral infection.
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