Introduction to PCI

Pacific Coast Iris (PCI) is a small group of species native to the West Coast of North America. PCI species grow naturally from southern California to southern Washington, in and west of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains. Species in this group interbreed easily with each other, and natural hybrids are common. Hybridizers have developed many gorgeous flower colors and patterns in a few generations from several species in this group.

Information in the following sections was developed to help gardeners new to growing PCI to succeed with this beautiful group of species and hybrids. Most iris varieties in general garden use are bearded. Bearded iris are very easy to grow over a wide range of climates and soils, including damp to wet soils. PCI are a different sort of plant. They prefer upland conditions and do not like soggy soils.

The precise conditions that PCI require to thrive can seem daunting. Think of these species and hybrids as the rock garden stars of the iris world. With careful attention to soil, drainage, sunlight, microclimate and time of year to plant and transplant, you too can be successful with this beautiful iris group, just as rock gardeners are with many alpine plants in climates far removed from their native homes.


Lacey, Louise, Editor. 1996. Pacific Coast Native Iris. Growing Native Vol. 7: 1, January / February 1996, #31.
This issue (#31) focused on PCIs, with three articles by Lewis Lawyer and Adele Lawyer. Printed copies are available from Growing Native. Order GN #31 by mail at: Growing Native, P O Box 489, Berkeley CA 94701. Cost is $6. This issue is not available online.

[Visuals: Map showing where PCI grow around the world]