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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dwarf Irises

Iris chamaeiris

Many of you know about our interest in Pacific Coast irises but we also have a growing selection of species iris of other types.  The earliest flowering group is the Dwarf Bearded Irises and we have several already in bloom at the nursery.

Miniature Dwarf Bearded irises are the smallest of all irises, no taller than 8 inches, and are perfect for alpine and rock gardens as well as troughs and pot culture.  They are sun lovers that need well-drained soil and are quite drought tolerant.  Avoid overcrowding for healthy growth.
Iris suaveolens

Iris suaveolens is a striking miniature dwarf bearded iris with large yellow flowers and fans of mid green leaves.  A native of the Balkans to NW Turkey, it is quite cold hardy to -30 degrees. F. 
Iris suaveolens var rubrimarginata

The red margin

Iris suaveolens ssp rubrimarginata has red-margined foliage and large violet flowers.

Iris pumila
Iris pumila is a dainty miniature dwarf bearded iris with small, perfectly formed blue-purple, flowers with a contrasting beard.  From Eastern Europe, it is also hardy to -30 degrees.

Iris chamaeiris
Iris chamaeiris (syn. Iris lutescens) is a Dwarf Bearded Irises and grows to 12” tall.  It has very large, showy flowers.  This species has been used extensively in breeding and is a parent of many bearded iris cultivars.  It is a native of France and Italy and hardy to about 0 degrees F.

Iris cristata

Another small iris is Iris cristata.  It is an Eastern US native and extremely cold hardy to -40 degrees F.  This crested iris is a low growing spreader with large purple flowers and contrasting white and gold crests that run down the middle of the falls.  It can be grown in sun to partial shade and it flowers in spring


  1. I love these dwarf Irises! I grow a few cresteds and am going to try collecting the seed this spring and sowing them to see what I get...I've 3 different varieties so it might be interesting. Do you have any sowing tips for these?
    And thanks!

  2. Sounds like fun. We've had good luck growing many species of iris from seed. There has been so much interest in all types of seed propagation, I plan to devote an entire blog to share our basic approach. Hopefully I can get it posted in the next week!