Iris Black Gamecock

Iris 'Black Gamecock'

One of The Boldest and The Best Year After Year

Item # 49797
Ships in Fall at the proper planting time for your zone. View Schedule

Stunning color and unprecedented vigor make this Louisiana iris the best. Iris 'Black Gamecock' flourishes in early summer year after year in wet soils with giant, near-black blooms. The most vigorous Louisiana iris ever grown is a flower fully a half foot wide and so velvety that gardeners can't resist touching the deep purple petals. The golden throats highlight the ebony hues of the blooms. Splendid in any setting, Iris 'Black Gamecock' is especially effective in waterside plantings or in meadows and woodlands.

This plant reaches three feet high and wide, and in rich, moist soil is virtually maintenance-free. This native strain thrives from Texas to South Carolina and mostly in Louisiana. Formerly available only as a mix of colors, the iris family stepped upward with the stately Iris 'Black Gamecock'.

Iris 'Black Gamecock' spreads by rhizomes, so the grouping planted this year will be bigger and better after a season or two. As tolerant of unseasonable cold as of heat and humidity, this hardy, pest-free native forms large, thriving clumps of smoky color wherever the soil stays moist and reasonably fertile. Space Iris 'Black Gamecock' about two feet apart in Zones 4 to 9.

Choose locations in full sun or light shade. The soil should be moderately damp with organic matter added. Cover the rhizomes with two to three inches of acidic soil of pH <6.5. Water plants well during droughts. Semi-annual applications of a balanced fertilizer as new growth begins and then two months before blooming are advisable as is a year-round mulch in the cold climates.

Review Summary
(Based on 1 Reviews)

Overall Rating: 5.0 / 5.0


these are survivors of the worst conditions!
from NC wrote on May 14, 2018:

Years ago I got a bag of a couple of these irises, threw them, bag and all into a bed intending to plant them later but forgot. And then completely forgot about them for 2 or 3 years.The worst possible conditions-dry, infertile, full blast hot sun. last year I thought it was some kind of grass and just left it ( at least something was filling in that space), but yesterday, after a rain, I saw 20-30 buds which popped open in profusion today- masses of the most dramatic blooms over silvery gray leaves. I will plant something neon yellow that will coincide with these babies for next year.

Iris Louisiana Hybrids


Set plants 2 feet apart. Choose a location in full sun or, father south, in light shade. The soil should be moderately water-retentive to damp, with extra organic matter added. Cover the rhizomes with 2 to 3 inches of soil. An acidic soil of pH 6.5 or lower is a must.


Keep plants well watered during periods of drought. A balanced fertilizer, applied twice a year as new growth commences and two months prior to bloom, is recommended, as is a year-round mulch, partic ularly in the colder regions.


Zones 4-9

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Wayside Difference Since its founding in 1920, Wayside Gardens has brought the rarest and highest-quality plants to the garden market. Wayside was founded in 1920 by two acclaimed growers who came together to pursue their shared vision of marketing all high-end plants for the serious garden enthusiast. Originally located in Mentor, Ohio, Wayside Gardens swiftly grew a reputation for the highest-quality plants and the most sophisticated clientele. In 1975, Wayside was purchased by the Park Seed Company, and moved to Hodges, SC.  The company has flourished since then, growing to become an undisputed leader in rare and unique plant growing.

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Tips for gardening in particularly hot, dry climates:

1. Water with a drip system whenever possible – soak the bed slowly and thoroughly to a depth of 10" to 12".

2. Watering deeply every 3 to 5 days is preferable to a shallow daily watering.

3. Water in the early morning, so foliage has time to dry.

4. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch or similar material to aid in water retention and help keep the roots cool during hot weather.

The dry, sparse appearance of bareroot perennials can be alarming to the novice gardener, but in reality ordering bare root is often the smarter choice. Foliage and blooms can be seductive, but the health and long-term potential of a plant truly lies in its roots. Bareroot plants have several advantages over plants in containers—bare roots are less likely to be harmed in the shipping process, their timing is easier to control, and they are field-grown for larger, healthier root systems. This why Wayside Gardens has had great success with bare root plants, and you can too!

It is safer to ship plants in bareroot form because there is no risk in harming new growth, and therefore the plant actually has a better chance of making it safely into the customer’s garden.

And thanks to refrigerated storage, the timing of bareroot perennials can be precisely controlled. "(Bareroot perennials) are dormant," explains JPPA Lead Horticulturist Benjamin Chester, "But as soon as they leave the refrigerated storage they'll begin breaking dormancy." And once the plant 'wakes up', it is ready to begin the growing season in earnest, which means it will quickly catch up to the level of container plants.

The most important benefit of bareroot perennials is that they can be field grown rather than confined to containers. The bareroot Cherry Cheesecake Hibiscus pictured hereperfectly illustrates the difference between a field-grown perennial and a containerized one. Wayside Gardens used to offer this variety in a quart container, like the Monarda next to it. But the Hibiscus was simply too cramped in that space, so Wayside switched to growing it in the earth and selling it bare root. The result is a thick, fibrous mass of roots that used to fill up several cubic feet of soil and which, even in its bare, pruned form would be too large to fit back into the 1 Quart container. What a difference a little space makes! While small and slow-growing cultivars can start well in containers, large and vigorous cultivars need more room to stretch out and develop a solid root system.