Louisiana Iris 'Black Gamecock'


Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Black Gamecock
Hybridized by Chowning
Registered or introduced: 1978
» View all varieties of Iris


Louisiana (LA)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

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)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Time:

Midseason (M)



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Awards (if applicable):

Honorable Mention

Award of Merit

Mary Swords DeBaillon Medal (LA)

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Tucson, Arizona

Booneville, Arkansas

Clayton, California

Fremont, California

Fresno, California

Sebastopol, California

Ventura, California

Washington, California

Killingworth, Connecticut

Stratford, Connecticut

Brandon, Florida

Fort White, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jay, Florida

Old Town, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Carrollton, Georgia

Pekin, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Macy, Indiana

Ames, Iowa

Johnston, Iowa

Mount Sterling, Kentucky

Smiths Grove, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Brusly, Louisiana

Gray, Louisiana

Thibodaux, Louisiana

Lewiston, Maine

South China, Maine

Edgewater, Maryland

Riverdale, Maryland

Silver Spring, Maryland

Hatfield, Massachusetts

Saint Clair Shores, Michigan

Mora, Minnesota

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Kansas City, Missouri

Averill Park, New York

Cicero, New York

Hilton, New York

Ithaca, New York

Cary, North Carolina

Concord, North Carolina

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Mount Gilead, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Summerfield, North Carolina

Coshocton, Ohio

Bray, Oklahoma

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Thackerville, Oklahoma


Portland, Oregon

Gaffney, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Pickens, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Christiana, Tennessee

Elizabethton, Tennessee

Houston, Texas

Lockhart, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

North Richland Hills, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Spring, Texas

La Verkin, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Arlington, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Chesapeake, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

Seattle, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 4, 2021, greenjeans402 from Riverdale, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Of several types of iris I have currently, this one is by far one of the most vigorous and trouble free. I had some plants growing in pots and actually they grew so well in one season that they started to try to "escape" by growing over and outside the pot edge.

Very vivid and intense deep violet with yellow throats-

Loves dampish areas and mine did very well in part sun as long as they were watered frequently during dry periods-

Seed pods very large and interesting shape-


On May 14, 2018, SecretMonkey from Salisbury, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

A couple years ago I bought a couple of these irises in a bag. I wasn't sure where to plant them. I have nothing resembling a bog area so I tossed them, bag and all, into a super dry, infertile area beneath a huge locust, thinking they were doomed by my bad judgement and impulse shopping. I completely forgot about the bag for a couple of years but I noticed grass like leaves growing, which I thought were daffs that never bloomed. But this year, hello! After a good rain the other day ( May 14th) I noticed blue buds ( definitely not dafs since they all finished months ago) and today- the most velvety dark purple blooms with stunning yellow marks and a reddish whatcha callit. The bag apparently degraded and these babies raised themselves through the most horrendous conditions for at leas... read more


On Sep 27, 2016, rumnroses from Spring, TX wrote:

Put these gorgeous iris under the shade of a Cleveland Pear tree. This is the lowest part of the yard that gets a lot of rain runoff. The iris grew profusely and I had about 80 blooms this spring after two years. What I did right. Started the dirt off with small pine bark mulch, sand, compost and manure. Keep the rhizomes well mulched in July and August. Two or three fertilizer applications between Halloween and Christmas 10-10-10+2% iron. The iris like shade in the heat of the summer and some sun in the winter. I thinned the original plants and started the new rhizomes in an area that is part sun/shade. Had to mulch heavier in the sun/shade area. So far, so good. They have survived some light frost, but would not recommend a hard freeze. North of the gulf area, I would suggest pot... read more


On Jul 1, 2013, datagoodies from Stratford, CT wrote:

In the late fall of 2012, I planted 3 bareroot Black Gamecock Louisiana Iris here in Stratford, CT near the marshes of Long Island Sound. The site, about 6 inches from the side of our garage -- which doesn't have any guttering, had always been a wet, mossy mess. I amended the soil with a bag of manure from Home Depot and covered the site with large pine bark chunks that kept the soil from washing away.
Although the winter that followed was spectacularly cold and snowy and the site gets only afternoon sun, all plants produced beautiful blooms by the end of June 2013. I added dwarf rasberry astilbes ("Visions") in front of the plot. Happy to have swapped mossy puddles for these water lovers that seem to take care of themselves.


On May 30, 2012, WoodlandLisa from KILLINGWORTH, CT wrote:

I'm looking for some feedback re this plant. I received 3 free bulbs from a nursery vendor with an order I placed. I'm in CT and my house is in/surrounded by woodland. I get very little full sun, but happened to plant these bulbs (with roots and new growth) in a place with full direct sun from about 10 am to 3 pm. Though I'm concerned beause most of what I'm reading indicates these do best in a boggy/moist environment. Does anyone have any input or advice contrary to these circumstances? While I didn't buy these plants, they are pretty and would fit into my garden scheme and I'd like them to surive and thrive. Also, notes indicate they are deer resistant? Any input or feedback is appreciated.


On Apr 22, 2011, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I bought this plant back in April of 2009 at a local nursery, it was in full bloom when I bought it. I planted it into the ground and by the end of summer it was looking pretty bad. Then I discovered it needed to stay moist and realizing in my hot sandy soil that wasn't going to happen, so I moved it to a big ceramic pot that stays pretty moist. All year in 2010 I had luscious green growth, but never any blooms, it tripled in size. Over wintered just fine with temps dipping into the upper twenties quite a few nights. Then this year I added some coffee grounds to it, read somewhere that they like them. At first they yellowed and I thought I made a mistake, but then greened up a deep dark green. And to my surprise I got lots of flowers for the first time the end of March through the first we... read more


On Apr 21, 2009, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

What a stunning display it makes. Mine is planted inground, part sun and while not in a very boggy area, I did take care to plant it where the sprinkler will hit it for sure.

It has been a fast multiplier, though I'm hoping that having it in less than full sun and not as moist will slow down its enthusiasm for spreading.


On Jul 12, 2008, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

A very regal shade of purple. Blooms in June in my garden.


On Jul 11, 2008, tosoiba from Las Vegas, NV wrote:

I am attempting to grow 5 gamecocks in the small flower bed right in front of my house. I have the moisture right, the full sunlight and the acidity. So far they aren't doing too bad.

Could someone advise me on how often to fertilize my plants.


On Apr 27, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

The Louisiana Iris is indeed a durable beauty.

We grow them in a natural pond, in pots, in the ground, all
over. True to form, they bloom best when grown in water.
Can be grown in a container with adequate watering or in
a pot with a tray of water beneath.

Endures the winter as if it didn't have a care in the world,
blooming in late spring to early summer.



On Jun 11, 2006, GeorgiaJo from Dallas, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Grows in the pond, alongside the pond, in pots, in tubs, in sun in part-sun.....

Blooms well and multiplies quickly.


On Mar 9, 2006, TBGDN from (Zone 5a) wrote:

BLACK GAMECOCK: (F. Chowning, R. 1978). Sdlg. FC77-12. LA 24" (61 cm) L. "Blue-black (RHS 103A) self; narrow gold line signal. Unknown parentage., Melrose Gardens 1980." Very hardy here in 5a/b. Easily grown in damp, boggy or consistently moist soil. Requires somewhat acidic conditions which can easily be achieved by addition of garden sulphur or Miracid commercial fertilizer.


On Dec 21, 2005, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Awards: American Iris Society Honorable Mention '82, Award of Merit '86, Mary Swords Debaillon Award '89


On Apr 26, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

I just added this to my pond this year. More as the year progresses.


On Oct 23, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have several of these iris in my iris bog next to my pond, and also planted in my front garden where it seems to do equally as well in spring moist/well drained soil. This is one of the few iris I can say reliably blooms each year. Flag iris, does, of course, but I haven't had as much luck with other types such as bearded.


On Nov 30, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I bought mine from a local nursery in early Spring of 2003, and it flowered in May here in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, and is now growing in a low, wet spot near a Brown Turkey fig tree with several other kinds of iris. It eventually had several flowers and three seed pods. I let the pods hang on the stalks for months--I eventually had to stake them--and when the pods started turning yellow, I opened them up and found seeds, despite the pods having several insect holes bored into them. I planted the seeds in light potting soil and late this summer I saw about a dozen little sprouts. I shared some of the sprouts with friends and planted the rest in my garden, where so far several have survived both dogs and squirrels. Next time I will let the seedlings stay in a pot for at least a y... read more


On Jun 27, 2003, ChefWil from Washington, CA (Zone 7b) wrote:

It grows well in my pond planted in 2" of clay pellets over a 4 inch layer of heavy clay soil submersed in 3 inches of water in full sun. I fertilize with houseplant stakes every month.


On Jun 14, 2003, fidler from La Verkin, UT wrote:

Hybridized from Louisiana, it grows very well in my southern Utah pond and bog gardens. It also does well in moist borders in partial shade gardens. Less light and higher alkalinity resualt in pailer color. Very hardy.