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Herbaceous Perennial

Iris lactea

white-flowered iris

A variable perennial, to around 40cm high, with linear, finely ribbed, grey-green leaves, sometimes flushed with purple at the base. Flowers are usually pale violet blue, or part white or pale yellow, often with narrow falls, and are sometimes produced while the leaves are still relatively short

Synonyms
Iris biglumis
Iris ensata lactea

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Purple Blue White Yellow Green Grey Silver
Summer
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Iridaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Potentially harmful
Harmful if eaten. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Iris may be rhizomatous or bulbous perennials, with narrow 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

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Tepm. Asia W Himalaya

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in well-drained, deep, fertile soil that does not dry out. Will tolerate part shade but flowering is best in full sun

Propagation

Propagate by seed or by division, see dividing iris for more detailed advice. Plants raised from seed may take some years to flower

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Remove spent flower stems in summer, and any dying foliage in autumn

Pests

May be susceptible to aphids, slugs, snails and thrips

Diseases

May be susceptible to aphid-borne viruses, bacterial soft rot and grey moulds; see Iris diseases

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