Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Walking Iris, Twelve Apostles
Neomarica caerulea

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Neomarica (nee-oh-mar-EE-kuh) (Info)
Species: caerulea (see-ROO-lee-uh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

17 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Fall/Early Winter
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From leaf cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 16 photos.
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7 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative vossner On Nov 26, 2012, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I got 3 hefty clumps planted in partial sun, with access to sprinkler, ideal conditions, right? They have systematically dwindled. I won't replace but I'm not going to fret over it, either. The yellow one has been a poor performer for me as well.

Neutral RustyB On Nov 26, 2012, RustyB from Mandeville, LA wrote:

When I purchased my original plant I was warned by the salesperson at the nursery that, "I would be sorry". Be prepared that if you plant this thing it will "WALK" as advertised! It has spread rapidly and I must now pull it out of areas where it doesn't belong. Just like weeding. Not a huge problem but it can become an issue for some gardeners.
I find that it grows surprisingly well in shaded areas, requires little/no care, stays green year round, and winter temps (Zone 9) has no effect on it. I have also found that deer will eat it.

Positive cowboydj On May 23, 2008, cowboydj from Rosenberg, TX wrote:

My daughter and I received a separated-from-the-mother-plant portion of this plant two summers ago from one of her college friends. Neither she nor the lady from whom it came knew what it was. The only description we received was, "Oh, some kind of purple flower."

About six weeks ago, ours bloomed!!!! Watching me find this blossom, someone might have thought I was having a heart attack or something!! I was SO excited; jumping, gasping, cooing, talking to the flower, clapping, walking all around the pot; almost crying!!! This is one of the most interesting flowers I have ever seen!!

I ran for the camera not knowing that it would only be open that one day. I managed to get two good shots, regretting, of course, that my daughter was not here to see it.

I'm wondering how long it takes to get more plant? Are there any extra special care instructions? I'm hoping to acquire more than this one type since I now know there ARE more.

Ah, yes! In our research, we have also seen this plant called "Apostle Plant".

happy gardening, dj

Positive helen_a On Jul 21, 2005, helen_a from Nottingham
United Kingdom wrote:

I'm growing my neomarica caerulea and neomarica gracilis in pots which live in a cold greenhouse in the UK winter (not severe but frosts and frequently below 0 C). The caerulea sends up long stems, about a metre tall, and from this stem, one or more flower shoots will each give a single, magnificent but short-lived flower, not just once, but repeatedly. Two years ago I had four flower shoots each putting out easily ten or more flowers each over a period of about 5-6 weeks. But last year, nothing! I potted it up and still nothing yet this year.

caerulea and gracilis seem to propagate completely differently. Caerulea makes seeds, which gracilis apparently does not (hast not yet for me), while gracilis sets off child plants from its flowers. Gracilis also does not flower much, while caerulea is excellent.

Positive easter0794 On Dec 15, 2004, easter0794 from Seffner, FL wrote:

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who has one that hasn't bloomed. I aquired one fan last year. It is very lovely, glossier foliage compared to N. longifolia but is similar to N. gracilis. These other two varieties do very well in my garden and are 'walking' all over the place. I hope to see a flower on this one next year.

Positive maggiemaytoday On Jun 28, 2004, maggiemaytoday from Creswell, OR (Zone 7a) wrote:

I watched on tv, the Martha Stewart program recently..after her walking Iris had bloomed and sent these long shoots out, she gently took each shoot (still attached to mother plant) and put each seperatly in a clay pot and they should root and each become individual plants! I am taking my plant to the potting room and doing just this, today. The nine shoots may provide me with a lot of new plants, and then I can cut it from the Mother plant

Positive TCat On Apr 21, 2004, TCat from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

I acquired 2 of these plants at the Fairchild Tropical Garden members sale last fall. One on them has not flowered, but the other, to my surprise, bloomed repeatedly from the same spot along one of the leaves. Perhaps once a week, 3 violet iris-like flowers emerged from the side of the thickened leaf. Did it bloom 12 times, ergo the name? I'm not sure. The flowers last only one day.

Now this long strap like leaf has become even heavier, falling to the ground. Also, it appears that a new plant is emerging from the site where the flowers had been. I'm watching the progress, unsure if I should separate the new plant from its parent and pot it. For now, I am waiting and watching. Its a most unusual plant.

Positive jb44 On Nov 15, 2003, jb44 from Sebring, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have this same plant - it's about 15 inches high and has blue-green sword type leaves. I just received this plant this Summer. I am waiting for mine to bloom next Spring. I am over-loaded with Neomarica gracilis and Neomarica longifolia, so I think the N. caerulea will look great mixed in with them. I hope mine blooms!

Positive TerriFlorida On Oct 5, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

I am supposed to have this plant. What I have has stiffer leaves than Neomarica longifolia which I grow with great success. It has blue-green leaves. I have had this plant for five years, and it was pot-bound for awhile. To my knowledge it has never bloomed, but I rated it positive because even without blooms, it's a large, strong, and pretty upright accent.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Millbrook, Alabama
Carpinteria, California
Daly City, California
Goleta, California
Huntington Beach, California
Montecito, California
Richmond, California
Bradley, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Groveland, Florida
Homestead, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Seffner, Florida
Cataula, Georgia
Jesup, Georgia
Mililani, Hawaii
Mandeville, Louisiana
Trout, Louisiana
Leakesville, Mississippi
Henderson, Nevada
Creswell, Oregon
Conway, South Carolina
Corpus Christi, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Rosenberg, Texas

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