If you want to give your backyard some color and personality, you cannot really go wrong with the Dwarf Iris flower. In a vibrant blue, violet or purple shade with yellow and white markings in the middle, this plant is sure to catch anyone’s attention in an instant regardless of its smaller size. The truth is, you will immediately fall in love with it. And the good news is – it isn’t difficult to plant.
Dwarf Irises come alive in spring. So, with these types of flowers, your garden will bloom as soon as the winter cold fades away and is replaced by the first warm ray of sunshine, given their blooming season starts in late winter or quite early in the spring.
As some passionate gardeners might already know, these miniature irises are from the Reticulata species, which are native to the Russian or Caucasus region. However, dwarf irises are not only found in this area. For instance, Iris Verna is found in the Eastern United States.
Keep reading to find out more about Dwarf Irises, a small-sized plant yet incredibly captivating!
About Dwarf Iris
- Iris Reticulata is native to the Caucasian Mountains and East Turkey to Iran. Generally, the majority of iris species come from some parts of Europe and Asia with mild temperatures.
- People have long cultivated irises and continue to do so nowadays. They come in various shapes and sizes, but the Dwarf Iris is known mainly for its vibrant violet or blue colour.
- The name “Iris” means “rainbow” in Greek. Not only this, but in Greek mythology, Iris was the embodiment and the goddess of the rainbow. The plant’s unique shape and beauty are regarded as out-of-this-world by many people.
- Irises and dwarf irises are considered thoughtful gifts, as the flower is known to have rich and deep meanings, such as representing eloquence. The purple iris conveys wisdom, while the blue one, faith, and hope.
- Iris was the emblem of 19th-century Florence. At the time, in Florence, the Italian birthplace of the Renaissance and the capital of the Tuscany region today, the industry of dried iris rhizomes was thriving.
- Many centuries before, iris rhizomes were used for their medicinal properties and benefits in both the Indian and Egyptian cultures. In addition, this was a vital ingredient in the making of perfume or to create scents, which were used as an appropriate offering to the gods.
- From being the emblem of Florence, the iris flower, more specifically the purple iris, later became the New Orleans’ emblem as well as Tennessee’s state flower. Therefore, this plant continues to have numerous symbolistic meanings.
- Dwarf iris is a plant that is used for its health benefits to this day. While the plant’s juice can alleviate and improve the skin’s condition, the orris root, the flower’s rhizome, has diuretic properties in its substances. Hence, it is known to purify and cleanse the body of toxins.
- While the plant has some beneficial properties, it is poisonous and can generate minor symptoms if ingested. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to mention that under no circumstance should it be eaten. Irises’ roots, sap or juice, and seeds are the plant’s poisonous parts. So, be careful!
Dwarf Iris Features: An Overview
- There are more than one species of dwarf irises. Apart from Iris Reticulata, Iris Danfordiae, Iris Pumila, Iris Verna, and Iris lacustris are part of the Iridaceae family. All of them are miniature plants known as dwarf irises.
- The dwarf iris flowers belong to the Iridaceae family, with the iris plant being the genus with the most species – specifically around 300 – as part of the aforementioned family.
- In general, the dwarf iris plants reach no more than 4 to 5 inches (10-12 cm) in height. A few species of the dwarf iris can grow to a maximum of 6 inches (15 cm).
- The ideal and recommended period to plant a dwarf iris is during the fall, with their blooming period starting in late winter. Some begin to bloom at the beginning of spring.
- Dwarf irises share most of the appearance features of the larger-sized iris flowers. These miniature relatives consist of three erect standard petals and three larger petals, with a spreading aesthetic, while the leaves have a grass-like appearance.
- The typical colour for the dwarf iris is violet-blue and vibrant purple. Three of its petals contain a yellow and white-crested marking, creating a beautiful contrasting effect.
- The dwarf iris grows best when planted in full sun to partial shade in medium moisture soils.
- Most dwarf irises have a subtle scent, unlike other garden flowers. So, if you try to smell a dwarf iris, you can hardly discern a specific scent. The plant’s roots, or “orris”, give iris-scented products, like candles, essential oils, and perfumes the smell.
- The dwarf iris is a plant with low poison severity. When ingested by humans, it can cause digestion problems and other symptoms include nausea, lethargy, and abdominal pain. Although it isn’t a highly poisonous plant, be careful where you plant it. For your peace of mind, choose an out-of-reach area in your garden, especially for children.
Growing Dwarf Iris
It isn’t a difficult gardening activity to grow and plant a dwarf iris. In fact, it is advised for beginners to start by growing plants like the dwarf iris, as the requirements are not too complicated. When planted, dwarf irises need full sun exposure or partial shade to grow properly.
Therefore, whether you are an experienced gardener or not, the dwarf iris is an easy choice.
This outdoor plant looks fantastic when you plant it in groups of at least three. For your backyard garden or patio, you may want to consider growing dwarf iris in flowerbeds alongside garden paths, which will instantly enhance the aesthetic. The proper temperature for dwarf irises to grow is cool to mildly warm, given that they can thrive in full sun and partial shade.
- An iris of small size, the iris with sharp petals (Iris setosa) is a species which resists well to drought and poor soil.
- The plant is well suited to a front of a flower bed or for naturalization on poor, stony or sandy soil.
- It is significantly smaller than the iris versicolor and measures with its flower stalks 15 to 40 cm in height.
- Exposure: Sun half Shadow
- Grow Iris Setosa as a perennial in USDA Zones 3 - 8 and it will grow to approximately 32 inches tall.
- This variety of Iris is the true dwarf perennial. Its flowers bloom in spring and last a long time.
- This dwarf hardy perennial is a very nice upright element in the rock garden and will be further dwarfed if grown in a trough where it is just shines.
- Generally, this type of Iris prefers acidic conditions in full to partial sun, but it can be grown in other types of soils and do very well.
- Sow 1 - 2 seeds of these heirloom flowers for every plant you desire.
- Plant Name:Bearded Iris, Plant Characteristic:Flowering (Flower Bulb)
- Brand:White, Type:Bulbs
Planting Dwarf Iris
The recommended planting season for a dwarf iris is during fall, in an area where the plant can receive a lot of direct sunlight. If it is not possible to plant it in full sun, partial shade is accepted as well. When it comes to soil type, the dwarf iris plants grow best in a neutral, medium moist, however, well-drained soil, with an ideal pH of 6.8 to 7.0. But this plant can also tolerate soil types such as acidic, clay, sand, chalk, and loam.
In order to plant the bulbs properly, you need to dig a 4-inch (10 cm) deep hole in the soil, place the bulb, and water it well. A noteworthy mention would be to leave a space of 3 to 4 inches between each planted flower. This way, the dwarf irises won’t be too clustered. Instead, they grow evenly and beautifully. However, if you prefer planting them in a pot or container rather than a flowerbed, you can position them a bit closer.
It is essential you deadhead the dwarf iris consistently, as this will allow the plant to continue blooming. Not only do you improve the plant’s appearance by removing spent flowers, but you also support the growing process. If you are a beginner, keep this aspect in mind, as it could easily be overlooked.
Watering Dwarf Iris
As mentioned earlier, the dwarf iris requires an average well-drained soil but moist during the growing period. Hence, maintenance is not complicated, as this plant’s water needs are relatively low. During summer, you need to keep the soil drier so that the bulbs can set buds for the following blooming season.
Apart from watering it, another effective method to maintain the soil moisture is to add a layer of shredded fallen leaves, or leaf mulch, on its surface. Additionally, if you want, you could use organic matter to keep the soil fertile and healthy. The good news is that the dwarf iris doesn’t require complicated maintenance techniques at all, and taking care of it is quite easy. This makes it an ideal plant for amateur gardeners to have.
Propagating Dwarf Iris
A practical method to propagate the dwarf iris plant is by dividing the reticulate patterned bulbs into bulblets during autumn. This is preferably done at the beginning of the season or as soon as the foliage becomes yellow. Then, you can plant these bulblets in the soil at a 5-inch depth.
In terms of pests and diseases, as it is crucial to know this aspect when planting and propagating the dwarf iris, a noteworthy mention is that this plant is less susceptible to the Iris Borer, a disease that affects the rhizomes. So, you don’t have to be as worried about possible fungal or bacterial issues as with other irises.
Despite its smaller size, the Dwarf Iris is a beautiful and unique plant. With its violet-blue or vibrant purple flower, and a yellow marking on the petals, this plant can undoubtedly steal the show from any garden. Whether on a flowerbed by the paths, near a pond or in a rock garden, the Dwarf Iris is especially impressive when planted in groups of at least three.
Considered thoughtful gifts, easy to plant and take care of, the Dwarf Iris is an ideal plant for someone without too much experience in gardening. So, don’t miss the opportunity of improving your garden’s aesthetic with these miniature irises!