Reticulated Iris

Tips on how to plant this petite beauty.


SH06I097YARDSMART Sept. 11, 2006 _ Dwarf Iris reticulata bears big flower color. (SHNS photo courtesy Maureen Gilmer)

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Plant type: Bulb
Botanical Name: Iris reticulata
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

A bulbous iris valued for petite purple or blue flowers with gold highlights. The reticulated iris flower has six petals; the three upright petals are called standards, and the three hanging petals are called falls. Blooms in spring. Foliage is green and grasslike and eventually dies back after blooming. Plant size is two to six inches tall and four to six inches wide.

How to use it: Plant in mass or use in containers. Use in the front of a mixed perennial border. Plant with other spring-flowering bulbs, like crocus and snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis). Cutflower.

Culture: Prefers a moist, well-drained soil. Plant in full sun to part shade. Reticulated iris is bulbous. To plant bulbs, dig a hole three to four inches deep. Place bulbs with the growing tip pointed up. If planting several bulbs, plant four inches apart. Plant in fall. For added winter protection, provide an extra layer of mulch. Primarily propagated through division. Dig and divide only when the center of the clump dies out and there is less vigorous flowering. Divide after blooming has finished. May have problems with slugs or snails.

Special notes: The name iris is derived from Greek mythology where Iris was the goddess of the rainbow, therefore aptly named for its variety of flower colors. Fragrant.

Selected cultivars

  • 'Harmony'. Perhaps the most popular reticulated iris cultivar. Has blue flowers with yellow and white splotches on the falls.


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