The two species of Iris I will describe here are both commonly referred to as Dwarf Irises. These are the Iris reticulata and the Iris danfordiae.
Iris reticulata bloom very early in the spring. The flower is quite large in relationship to the plant as a whole, and has a wonderful fragrance, somewhat like a violet. They are very easy to grow: not only will they come back year after year, but, given half a chance, they will even multiply. What more could you ask for?
The Iris reticulata varieties "Harmony" and "J.S. Dijt" are very popular, and, so, are easy to find commercially. However, other varieties are not equally easy to locate. For the less common varieties, you might start by looking at: McClure & Zimmerman, Botanus, Brent and Becky's Bulbs or Fraser's Thimble Farms.
Both species and all their varieties have a fragrance. This is also indicated by the use of the asterisk asterisk (*) after the name of each variety in the list of example varieties.
|Flowering time:||very early spring|
Dwarf Irises typically bloom after Snowdrops, but before Giant Dutch Crocuses
|Plant height:||4" - 6" (10 - 15 cm)|
|Minimum planting depth:||4" (10 cm)|
|Hardiness zones:||suitable for zones 5 - 9|
may also be suitable for zones 3 and 4 if a deep mulch is used on the bed in the fall
|Colours:||Iris reticulata: white, blue, purple; may have yellow markings|
Iris danfordiae: canary yellow with brown speckles
|Shape/form:||relatively large (iris-shaped) flowers on a short stem|
|Alternate names:||Rockgarden Iris, Miniature Iris|
Latin names: Iris reticulata; second species: Iris danfordiae
|Notes:||good for rock gardens, under shrubs and trees, in beds, borders, and containers and for indoor forcing; needs a well drained soil|
|Examples of Iris reticulata varieties:||Cantab* (light blue), Harmony* (deep sky blue), Ida* (lobelia blue with dark blue spots and yellow blotches), Iris reticulata* (dark purple), Joyce* (sky blue), J.S. Dijt* (deep purple-violet and reddish purple), Katharine Hodgkin* (pale blue and yellow), Natascha* (ice blue and white with golden yellow blotches), Pauline* (purple with white blotches), Purple Gem* (violet-purple and plum purple)|
|J.S.Dijt||Iris danfordiae||Purple Gem|
Iris reticulata | Iris danfordiae
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Last modified: October 12, 2008