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Iris selections


Named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, iris indeed comes in a rainbow of colors and in many heights. All have the classic, impossibly intricate flowers. The flowers are constructed with three upright "standard" petals and three drooping "fall" petals, which are often different colors. The falls may be "bearded" or not. Some cultivars bloom a second time in late summer. Some species prefer alkaline soil while others prefer acidic soil.

Shown above: Immortality iris

Sun,Part Sun
Plant Type:
Plant Height:
6 inches to 3 feet tall
Plant Width:
6 inches to 2 feet wide
Landscape Uses:
Containers,Beds & Borders,Slopes,Groundcover
Special Features:
Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fragrant,Winter Interest,Cut Flowers,Attracts Birds,Attracts Hummingbirds,Attracts Butterflies,Drought Tolerant,Tolerates Wet Soil,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow
Top Varieties

Iris sibirica 'Bennerup Blue' produces cobalt-blue flowers with small white blotches. It grows 2 feet tall. Zones 3-9
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Iris 'Champagne Elegance' has glamorous fragrant flowers, several per stem, that have pale buff-apricot falls with amber beards and white standards faintly blushed pink. This tall bearded type may rebloom in late summer. It grows 3 feet tall. Zones 4-9
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Iris cristata is a wild form native to areas of North America. It bears blue, white, or purple flowers in spring over tiny clumps of sword-shape foliage and grows to 1 foot tall. Zones 3-9
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Iris ensata 'Electric Rays' is a Japanese iris with large double violet flowers streaked with white. This award-winning variety grows 3 feet tall. Zones 5-9
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Iris sibirica 'Harpswell Snowburst' offers blue-violet flowers edged in white. It grows 3 feet tall. Zones 3-9
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Iris 'Immortality' is a tall bearded type that offers pure-white flowers. It commonly reblooms in fall and grows 3 feet tall. Zones 4-9
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Iris chrysographes is known for its especially dark purple-red fragrant flowers. It blooms in early summer and grows 2 feet tall. Zones 7-9
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Iris danfordiae is an early-blooming bulb with single yellow flowers in late winter. It grows 6 inches tall. Zones 5-8
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Iris fulva has 4-inch-wide coppery-red flowers that are yellow at the center but without beards. The swordlike leaves may reach 4 feet tall. Zones 4-9
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Iris ensata 'Satozakura' prefers to grow in water or damp places where soil is acidic. Its large, somewhat flat mauve to rosy-pink flowers are yellow at the throat and conspicuously veined. Clumps grow to 3 feet tall. Zones 6-9
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Iris sibirica 'White Swirl' makes tough clumps of narrow green sword-shape leaves. In midsummer, each stem blooms with several 1- to 2-inch pure-white flowers touched with yellow at the base. Zones 3-9
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Iris pseudacorus grows vigorously in wet places. Its thick clumps of grayish spearlike leaves may reach 4 feet tall. In late spring and summer, 2-inch yellow flowers appear on strong stems. It may become invasive. Zones 5-8
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Plant It With

Thrift's tight mounds of grayish foliage and spherical pink or white flower heads are perfect companions for some of the low-growing species of iris in rock gardens.


Many primroses thrive in wet areas where water-loving iris also thrives. Earlier-blooming primroses extend the season of bloom, which is continued by the iris.


The sumptuous flowers and handsome fingered foliage of peonies show off well against bearded iris flowers and sword-shape leaves.


In areas where lupines do well, the vertical spikes of flowers make a stunning picture with bearded iris. Their palmate leaves contrast well with those of iris.