Like iris, these old favorites produce fans of lance-shaped leaves that arise from rhizomes. Foliage and flowering stems grow to about the same height. Flowers are intricate, with three large, rounded outer segments around three smaller, curled inner segments banded in contrasting colors. Each flower lasts only a day, but others follow over an extended period. Indoors, give bright light but protect from hot sun. During active growth, feed monthly with a balanced fertil- izer; let soil go fairly dry between soakings. In winter, stop feeding and give little water.
N. caerulea. BRAZILIAN WALKING IRIS. From Brazil. To 5512 ft. tall, 23 ft. wide, with stiffly erect leaves. As plant grows, lower leaves fan out to the side. Branching flower stems carry a succession of 3- to 4-in. blue blossoms, their centers intricately banded in yellow, white, and brown. Blooms in early summer. Offsets are produced at flowering points on the stems; they detach easily for additional plants.
N. gracilis. WALKING IRIS. Native from Mexico to Brazil. To 2212 ft. tall, 1112 ft. wide. Blooms in late spring and summer; flower stems resemble the leaves so closely that blossoms appear to emerge directly from the foliage. Flowers are 212 in. wide, with white outer segments and inner ones in a combination of blue, brown, and yellow. As flowers fade, the blossom stalk bends downward and produces plantlets that take roothence the common name.
N. longifolia. YELLOW WALKING IRIS. From Brazil. Upright growth to 2 ft. tall, 1112 ft. wide. Blooms all summer, bearing 2-in. yellow flowers banded with brown. Walks the same way N. gracilis does.