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Flight of ButterfliesIris

Basic Facts:

Iris flowers have their own structure and terminology. The upper petals that normally stick up are called standards, the lower petals falls. Some have a row of coloured hairs on the falls called beards. Some have a thickened section of petal along the middle of the falls called guides as they guide bees to the nectar and pollen.

Members of the Iridaceae family

Garden Use: 

Iris are beautiful and rewarding plants. Their flowering period is short but this is more compensated by the sheer exuberance of their blooms. Also, don't forget that the blue-green, sword shaped leaves add long-lasting appeal to the border in their own right. 

Cut Flower Use:

Excellent cut flowers. Iris are toxic.


You need to know which type of Iris you are growing as conditions vary greatly - there are water Iris, species that grow in the desert and everything in between. See cultivation information under each type below.


Our Irises are propagated by division.  The rhizomes are best divided shortly after flowering although Sibirica irises can also be divided in spring.  Cut back the leaves to about 1/3 of their length after division and replant. If cutting the rhizomes of bearded Iris then sterilise your knife between each cut using surgical spirit or a flame.

Pests and Diseases:

Leaves eaten along the edges in May / June (especially water irises): look out for the small black-headed grey caterpillars of Iris Sawfly on water Iris. Easy to squash by hand (go on don't be squeamish - its them or your Irises!). Look every few days as new caterpillars hatch out over time.

Leaves may be spotted. This is due to a fungal infection caused mainly by poor air circulation. Ignore or spray.

Soft evil-smelling rhizomes can occur on bearded irises in late spring. This is due to bacteria entering through damage or at old leave joints. Cut off rotten parts, cutting back into healthy tissue. Sterilise knife before and after each cut.

Iris Holden Clough

A hybrid between Iris pseudacorus and another, possibly chrystographes. Vigorous and healthy. About 2ft 9in - 3ft tall and fairly quickly clumping to 1ft 6in - 2ft across.  Flowers May - early July.

Best in moist soil but does do okay in our very dry soil.

Price 5.00 (9cm pot)

Sibirica Iris

These Iris do not need moist soil to thrive. They have flattened flowers on tall stems in June. The basic species is blue, as are many of the cultivars. There are also white, yellow, mauve and mixed colours available. Divide after flowering. We find it is best to break up into good-sized clumps if planting back into the garden - single stems will provide lots of plants but these need a lot of care and time to form strong plants. Cut the dead stems down to the ground in winter - if left until spring you will have the job of cutting off old ones whilst trying not to damage the new ones.

Iris sibirica Melton Red Flare

Red-purple flowers with shining gold patches, deeper purple standards.. Often cited as reaching 90cm / 3ft tall, but in our garden is more like 60cm / 2ft. Flowers June to July.

Far superior to the similar but rather murky variety 'Sparkling Rose'

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

Iris sibirica Perry's Blue

Old, tall and tough Often. 90cm / 3ft tall,

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

Iris sibirica Ruffled Velvet

Lovely deep blue flowers with a fine, glistening silver edge to the petals. 2ft 9in tall. Flowers May-July.

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

Iris sibirica Shrawley

Elegant, netted flowers. 2ft 9in tall. Flowers May-July.

Price 5.00 (9cm pot)

Iris sibirica Sliver Edge

Lovely deep blue flowers with a fine, glistening silver edge to the petals.. 2ft 9in tall. Flowers May-July.

RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

Iris sibirica Snowcrest

We just had to try this one after seeing it flowering. White flowers with very stand-up standards and very falling falls if you get what I mean. A heritage variety from 1932.

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

Iris sibirica Steve

Nice variety that's not too tall - about 2ft / 60cm

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

Iris sibirica Whirl Swirl

White with a hint of yellow. About 2ft / 60cm

Price 4.50 (9cm pot)

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