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Iris versicolor

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© RHS 2002

Characteristics

Plant type

Aquatic, Bog or Herbaceous Perennial

Habit

Clump-forming

Toxicity

Ingestion may cause severe discomfort

Resilience

Hardiness

old H4 (hardy)

Colour

Flower

Blue and Purple in Summer

Foliage

Green in Autumn, Spring and Summer

Size

Ultimate height

0.5-1 metres

Ultimate spread

0.1-0.5 metres

Time to ultimate height

2-5 years


Preferred common name

blue flag

Family

Iridaceae


Iris may be rhizomatous or bulbous perennials, with narrowly leaves and erect stems bearing flowers with 3 large spreading or pendent fall petals, alternating with 3 erect, often smaller, standard petals, in late winter, spring or early summer

I. versicolor is a rhizomatous perennial to 80cm in height, with narrow, erect foliage and branched stems bearing several bluish-purple flowers 6-8cm in width, the falls with a conspicuously veined white basal patch

Other common names

  • Boston iris
  • liver lily
  • North American blue flag
  • particoloured iris
  • purple iris
  • snake lily
  • wild iris

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Full sun

Aspect

  • South-facing or West-facing
  • Sheltered or Exposed

Cultivation

Grow in moist to wet deep, humus-rich, acid soil in full sun

Soil

  • Poorly-drained
  • Acid or Neutral
  • Sand, Clay or Loam

Propagation

Propagate by division from mid-summer to early autumn

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds, Low Maintenance or Wildflower meadow


How to care

Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

Can be defoliated by sawflies

Diseases

Generally disease free