University of Maryland Extension

Apostle plant, Walking Iris

Photo and text by Bob Orazi

Neomarica gracilis

This is probably one of the easiest plants to grow both indoors and out, and one of the oddest. Its twelve sword-shaped leaves appear as a fan. Each leaf develops an exotic flower like a cross between an iris and an orchid. It lasts only one day, but the numerous blooms continue throughout spring, summer and fall. From the flower grows a stem with a plantlet dangling on the end.  Like spider plants, Apostle plant is ideal for a hanging basket. In its natural environment, the plantlet contacts soil and roots, hence, the name “walking iris”.  To propagate new plants indoors, root plantlets in pots for several weeks, then snip the stem connecting them to the mother plant. Adaptable to most any light or soil condition, Apostle plant literally takes care of itself.

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