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Featured Conservation Plants: May 2016

May 2016:
Iris ‘Stephen Wilcox’ (Sib)

This lovely iris was introduced to the Conservation Scheme in 2013 by HPS Shropshire Group as a plant that should be more widely grown. It was bred by Jennifer Hewitt and named after her son-in-law. The name was registered in 2003 and the plant awarded an RHS AGM in 2008 (although subsequently rescinded). It was awarded the British Iris Society Dykes Medal (the BIS’s highest award) in 2011.

Siberian iris are a beardless variety of iris native to Central and Eastern Europe and fully hardy in the UK. They are easy to grow, preferring full sun and moisture-retentive soil that is neutral to acid. They form impressive clumps of mid-green, narrow, upright leaves in the border. Of course, iris have wonderful showy flowers and I. ‘Stephen Wilcox’ is no exception, blooming from late April into May. Flowers are held above the foliage on stems up to 75cm high, have a slightly ruffled appearance and a slight sweet fragrance with lilac-pink standards and deep wine-red falls with a bright violet halo around a gold signal with dark veins.

Plants can be propagated by division from mid-summer to early autumn using large pieces of preferably 3 fans each and planted 2.5cm below soil level.


Jan Vaughan


The Conservation scheme involves HPS members in growing these plants and documenting the best way to grow and propagate them. The plants are distributed across the country with many local groups and individual growers being involved.

The scheme is open to all HPS members. More information about the scheme can be found here.

Since the present scheme started in 1998, we have been successful in conserving over 30 plant varieties that are, in our opinion, all worthy of being grown in British gardens. However, there are still a large number of potentially garden worthy plants in need of conservation.

If you are a interested in making this (or any other of our conservation plants) available on a commercial basis, please contact the National Coordinator.


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