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Iris reticulata

Phonetic Spelling
EYE-riss reh-tik-yoo-LAY-tah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

The dwarf iris is a bulbous perennial herb in the Iridacea (iris) family native to eastern Europe which blooms very early in the spring. It is only 4 to 6 inches high and 4 inches wide. The genus name Iris is shared by the Greek goddess of the rainbow, and is perhaps a nod to the wide variety of colors of flowers found in this genus. 

This iris grows best in morning sun to full sun in average,  well-drained soil with moisture supplied during the growing season. It is drought-tolerant and should be allowed to dry in the summer to set buds for the next spring bloom. It reproduces best by division. The reticulate patterned bulb divides into bulblets (offshoots) after blooms have faded and may be separated and replanted at 5 inches deep, but may take several years to mature. If the number of blooms is decreasing, it is recommended to separate and plant these bulblets or treat this iris as an annual by planting additional bulbs every fall.

The small, fragrant flowers are a vibrant blue to violet or white. The leaves are fine and grasslike at only the height of the flowers at bloom, 6 to 8 inches, and rise to 12 to 15 inches after the flowers fade. The leaves disappear during the summer dormancy. Once established dwarf iris is drought tolerant and it is resistant to browsing by deer. 

Dwarf iris is impressive in a mass planting at the edge of a border, along walkways, in beds, containers, and rock gardens. It is also excellent for use in woodland gardens or near ponds and streams when naturalizing.  Group them in small spaces like courtyard gardens, along patios or walkways.  Consider planting these purple blooming beauties in a cutting garden where the blooms can be enjoyed both indoors and out.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: It is less susceptible to the fungal, bacterial, and iris borer problems of other iris.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Iris.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Gordon', 'Harmony', 'Katherine Hodgkin'
Tags:
#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#fragrant flowers#small spaces#houseplant#drought tolerant#purple flowers#blue flowers#winter interest#dwarf#mass planting#stream banks#pond margins#disease resistant#cpp#deer resistant#lavender flowers#rock garden#cutting garden#courtyard garden#naturalized area#flowers early spring#border front#walkway planting#spring flowering bulbs#winter flowers#problem for cats#ebh#problem for dogs#problem for horses#ebh-g#container plant#woodland#insect resistant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Gordon', 'Harmony', 'Katherine Hodgkin'
Tags:
#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#fragrant flowers#small spaces#houseplant#drought tolerant#purple flowers#blue flowers#winter interest#dwarf#mass planting#stream banks#pond margins#disease resistant#cpp#deer resistant#lavender flowers#rock garden#cutting garden#courtyard garden#naturalized area#flowers early spring#border front#walkway planting#spring flowering bulbs#winter flowers#problem for cats#ebh#problem for dogs#problem for horses#ebh-g#container plant#woodland#insect resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Iris
    Species:
    reticulata
    Family:
    Iridaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Turkey to Iran
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 4 in. - 0 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 4 in. - 0 ft. 4 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    1 flower at the top of a naked stem, 6-parted with 3 outer, spreading or pendent "falls" and 3 inner, erect "standards", variously colored; blooms in early spring (March)
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Strap-like, overlapping at base, oriented in one plane. They can get up to a foot long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Riparian
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cutting Garden
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN. SKIN IRRITATION MINOR, OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES. Nausea, salivation, vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, diarrhea, elevated temperature following ingestion; skin irritation upon contact with seeds, rootstock, or cell sap.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Pentacylic terpenoids (zeorin, missourin and missouriensin), Irisin, iridin, or irisine
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds