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Iris x germanica is often confused with:
Iris ensata Iris ensata
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Iris Flower in pond pots (1.5 ft. of water) in spring in Moore County
Dianthus Flowers
Clematis hybrida Clematis 'marcelina' late large flowered

German Iris Iris x germanica

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Iris germanica
Phonetic Spelling
EYE-riss jer-MAN-ih-kah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Bearded iris is in the Iridaceae (iris) family. This herbaceous, perennial herb comes from the Mediterranean region and is assumed to be the father of many of our current bearded iris cultivars. In fact, it is difficult to find the straight species of this plant for sale in the nursery industry.  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. 

Bearded iris does best in full sun and when planted in rich well-drained soil. While it tolerates some shade it will struggle in heavy clay soils. Rhizomes should be planted at soil level or lightly covered and not mulched. Bearded iris prefers dryer soil; mulching or overwatering could lead to root rot. To encourage growth and blooming, fertilize this plant in early spring and divide in mid- to late summer, after flowering. 

This iris has been cultivated to include a rich variety of colors and a variety of heights from dwarfs and miniatures to medium and tall, making them useful in all areas of a perennial border. With a generally tall stature, this showy iris has large fragrant blooms rising as much as 3 feet above the leaves on single naked stems. 

Bearded iris makes a great addition to a cutting garden, mass planted in a naturalized area or woodland garden, in the middle of a border, or alongside a walkway or patio.  They are quite drought tolerant and very resistant to browsing by deer. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Iris borer is a major insect pest to this plant and can be managed by removing affected roots and foliage immediately, as well as clearing the bed of foliage at the end of the season and division of plants as they become crowded. Blooms should also be removed after they fade. Fungal diseases, crown rot, and mosaic virus are additional problems.  

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

More information on Iris.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Corner Roadside Planting Flowers Galore Corner Roadside Planting Backyard Respite Landscape Flower Bonanza Garden Davidson County Demo Garden Water Garden Water Wheel
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Concertina'
  • 'Harvest of Memories'
  • 'Immortality'
    a Reblooming Iris (blooms more than once)
  • 'Sugar Blues'
  • 'Tickled Peach'
'Concertina', 'Harvest of Memories', 'Immortality', 'Sugar Blues', 'Tickled Peach'
Tags:
#cultivars#purple#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#houseplant#drought tolerant#white flowers#purple flowers#many colors#yellow flowers#blue flowers#variegated leaves#spring flowers#apvg#mass planting#cpp#summer flowers#deer resistant#rhizomes#large flowers#summer bulbs#cutting garden#spring interest#border middle#walkway planting#patio planting#problem for cats#apvg-p#ebh#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Concertina'
  • 'Harvest of Memories'
  • 'Immortality'
    a Reblooming Iris (blooms more than once)
  • 'Sugar Blues'
  • 'Tickled Peach'
'Concertina', 'Harvest of Memories', 'Immortality', 'Sugar Blues', 'Tickled Peach'
Tags:
#cultivars#purple#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#houseplant#drought tolerant#white flowers#purple flowers#many colors#yellow flowers#blue flowers#variegated leaves#spring flowers#apvg#mass planting#cpp#summer flowers#deer resistant#rhizomes#large flowers#summer bulbs#cutting garden#spring interest#border middle#walkway planting#patio planting#problem for cats#apvg-p#ebh#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Iris
    Species:
    germanica
    Family:
    Iridaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Yugoslavia
    Bulb Storage:
    Not necessary, but if desired, store rhizomes in peat at 35 degrees F (2C).
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • 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)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Several flowers at the top of a naked stem, 6-parted with 3 outer, spreading or pendent "falls" and 3 inner, erect "standards", cultivars in various colors and patterns.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Leaf Arrangement:
    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
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cutting Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    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, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, elevated temperature following ingestion; skin irritation upon contact with seeds, rootstock, or cell sap.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Irisin, iridin, or irisine
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds