This superlative iris is a true aquatic, growing just as well in shallow water as by the margin of aor lake, a gift for masking the hard edge of an artificial garden pool. A native of Japan and China, the smooth spears of pale green make a background for hosts of deep lavender-blue with broad, drooping falls, the whole plant doubly beautiful when reflected in the water. This is a beardless iris some 2 feet (60 cm) tall, flowering in mid-summer and dying down completely in winter.
laevigata, like most aquatics, should be grown in full sun. The sharp contrast well with the rounded foliage of rodgersias, hostas, or the umbrella plant (Peltiphyllum peltatum), a planting for rich. Acid soil. All these must be by the water’s edge, not in the water, as must kaempferi. This is a taller relation of /. laevigata, with ribbed leaves and flatter (the falls and standards melting together), in various shades of blue often marked with white.
Iris laevigata has a lovely variegated form, with cream and green striped leaves, and also a white form. It is possible to grow all these forms in a moist border, but this would involve much pointlesswhen even a small pool would offer a more sympathetic home.