Region 14 American Iris Society—About Irises

Types of Irises


    Most common and hybridized of all iris types

    • Miniature Dwarf Bearded Iris
    • Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris
    • Intermediate Bearded Iris
    • Border Bearded Iris
    • Miniature Tall Bearded Iris
    • Tall Bearded Iris
    • Aril Iris

    These iris are grown from rhizomes, lack beards, and generally need a lot of moisture for good growth.

    • I. ensata

      JAPANESE IRIS With graceful leaves, this iris has stems up to 4 feet with 4 to 12 inch flowers. Bloom from June to July. Colors are purple, violet, pink, red, or white. Flower often has an edge of a contrasting color. Plant near ponds or provide a lot of water through bloom season or while growing. Needs acid soil.

    • I. foetidissima

      GLADWIN IRIS Flowers are blue gray, chartreuse, and sometimes, but rarely pale yellow. Known for bright red seed capsules which appear in the fall. Drought resistant.

    • I. missouriensis

      WESTERN BLUE FLAG IRIS Native iris of the meadows and stream beds of the western states and the Rocky Mountains. 1 to 2 feet tall with spring flowers up to 3 inches wide. Flowers are light lavender or white and can have purple veins. Once plant has established it is drought tolerant after bloom.

    • I. pseudacorus

      YELLOW FLAG WATER IRIS Very tall plant with 5 foot leaves and stems reaching 6 to 8 feet. Yellow flowers are 2 to 3 inches. Needs wet acid soil. Happiest growing in beds of water like ponds and slow moving edges of creeks. Prolific.

    • I. sibirica

      SIBERIAN IRIS Narrow grassy leaves 1 to 3 feet tall with 2 to 3 foot flower stems. Flowers are shaped like Dutch iris. Bloom midseason after bearded iris. Purple, red purple, shades of blues, or white. Need full sun acid soil and plenty of water during growth season. Flower best from established clumps.

    • I. unguicularis

      WINTER IRIS Flowers grow low in 1 to 2 foot narrow dense leaves. Flowers are Lavender or white. Leaves can be cut back to show flowers. Can be divided in September before flowering or in March after flowering.

    • Louisiana Irises

      A group of 3 or more species iris native to Mississippi delta. These Iris are now hybridized to plants of great beauty. Hybrids are somewhat like Japanese irises. Colors include reds, whites, yellows, pinks, purples, and blues. 2 to 5 feet in height. Acid soil. Keep moist during growth season.

    • Pacific Coast Iris

      species iris are native to western coastal area.

    • Spuria Iris

      Hybids with larger flowers have replaced the species for the most part. Flowers, similiar to Dutch iris, are yellow, buff, bronze, lavender, blue, chartreuse, or white. Plant forms clumps of narrow leaves 2 to 6 feet tall. Sun, good soil. Keep moist during growth season, dry during summer. Blooms are best on established plants.

    • I. reticulata


    • I. xiphiodides

      ENGLISH IRIS Flowers are larger than Dutch Iris, and have the velvety texture of Japanese irises. Early summer bloom after Dutch iris.

    • Spanish iris

      From species native to Spain and north Africa. Smaller flowers and later bloom than Dutch iris

    • Dutch iris

      Hybridized by Dutch growers. Flower in March and April

    • Wedgwood iris

      Often sold as Dutch iris, these iris are a cross between Dutch and the Moroccan native I. Tingitana. Flowers are large and lavender blue with yellow markings.

  • CRESTED IRISES—Flowers with narrow crest at base of outer petals.
    • I. cristata

      Lavender, light blue or white flowers that are good in rock gardens.

    • I. japonica

      ORCHID IRIS One of the most beautiful of crested irises.

    • I. tectorum

      ROOF IRIS Planted on the roofs in Japan, these iris are also good in rock gardens. Broad leave about 1 foot tall. Flowers are purple blue with white crests. Can also be pure white.