I have had a large neomarica gracilis for many years now. It is kept it in a bright, moderately cool sunroom and has given me many years of pleasure and many new plants. For some reason, this year’s buds, of which there are many, have not opened and are still tightly closed. Do you have any ideas why this has happened?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Margaret in Ontario: Neomarica gracilis, commonly known as a Walking iris or Apostle plant, is grown as a perennial in many gardens but is certainly suitable for a houseplant for those of us not living in the warmer gardening zones. Native to Brazil, these plants are low-maintenance and are not prone to insect or disease problems, although they do prefer consistently moist soil. As you have found, this plant will give you many years of pleasure as well as additional plants. Your iris sounds perfectly happy and it may just need a bit more time for the buds to open. From the growing conditions you mentioned, it sounds like they are very suitable for this plant, and as long as the foliage looks healthy I do not think you have too much to be concerned about. It is true that stressed plants will produce flowers in a last-ditch effort to survive, but I would not suspect this to be the case in your situation. I would say just give it more time. Even in a controlled environment plants are not always going to bloom at exactly the same time each year. It actually is a bit early for them to be blooming as they typically flower in mid-spring. You obviously know how to care for this plant since you have been so successful in the past, so just keep doing what you are doing and the flowers will eventually open!