Iris Flower Colors

Paint a rainbow in your garden with iris flowers.

Iris germanica  (01) Bloom

Iris germanica (01) Bloom

Iris germanica

Photo by: Courtesy of National Gardening Association

Courtesy of National Gardening Association

Iris germanica

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Plant an iris, and you have the start of a rainbow in your yard. Iris flowers unfurl in a host of hues, from cheery yellow, to midnight purple, to dusky burgundy. Blue iris are probably the most popular color, followed by purple iris shades. You can find a variety of iris flower colors in the group known as bearded iris, and other iris types feature more hues.

Bearded iris (Iris germanica) may be some of the more familiar iris flowers, opening blossoms in late spring to early summer. A host of hybrids exists within the bearded iris family, which expand blossom color palette and size. Among bearded iris, look for flowers in shades of purple, blue, red, peach, yellow, orange, rose, black and white. Bicolor blends also exist. Purple and blue iris are probably some of the more common bearded varieties. All bearded iris make good cut flowers, making these pretty perennials good candidates for a cutting garden. 

Siberian irises (Iris sibirica) open flowers mostly in shades of blue, violet and white, although other hues are available. This perennial iris forms clumps that are two to four feet tall with thinner, grassy leaves. If you love blue iris but don’t have a full sun spot to put them in, try Siberian iris instead. These bloomers flower in part shade conditions. 

For unusual yellow iris flowers, check out two types of iris: dwarf iris (Iris danfordiae) and yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus). This species of dwarf iris opens bright canary yellow blooms in early spring on tiny plants that top out at 4 to 6 inches tall. This yellow iris grows from a bulb and multiplies to form small clumps.  

Yellow flag iris grows from a fleshy rhizome and reaches 3 to 5 feet high. The yellow iris blooms appear in late spring to early summer. This is a moisture-loving iris that colonizes along marshy areas. It’s been listed as invasive in some part of the Northeast, Minnesota, California and the Pacific Northwest.  

Dutch iris (Iris hollandica) hybrids come in a host of flower colors and grow from bulbs. The flowers appear from late spring to early summer. Dutch iris flowers make a great addition to cutting gardens. Many gardeners choose which flower hue they want and plant those hybrids specifically. This group produces classic blue iris, white iris and a wide variety of other bloom shades.  

For the largest iris flowers, consider Japanese iris (Iris ensata). This group needs wet, even mucky soils to thrive. These plants are the ideal choice for planting along the edges of a pond or stream. Japanese iris open flowers in a wide variety of hues, but the white and blue iris varieties are some of the more popular ones. 

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