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Herbaceous Perennial

Iris pumila

dwarf bearded iris

A compact, rhizomatous, bearded iris to 15cm tall with slightly glaucous, widely sword-shaped leaves 3-15cm long. In mid-spring, a 1cm long flower stem bears 1-2, long-tubed flowers, each 2.5-5cm wide. Flowers are variable in colour from violet-purple, blue to yellow or white with most having a darker spot pattern on the falls and yellow or blue beards

Other common names
Crimean iris
dwarf English iris
see moredwarf iris
Synonyms
Iris attica subsp. pumila
Iris pumila var. equiloba

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Blue Purple White Yellow Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or East–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Iridaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Potentially harmful
Harmful if eaten. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling. Pets: Harmful if eaten. For further information and contact numbers regarding pets, see the HTA guide to potentially harmful plants
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
C Europe to Caucasus

How to grow

Cultivation

Grows best in a very well-drained, slightly alkaline soil

Propagation

Propagate by seed or by division of rhizomes after flowering, from midsummer to late summer; for more advice, see dividing irises

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Gravel garden
  • Patio and container plants
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Rock garden
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Cut down old flower stems after flowering, and remove any dying foliage in autumn

Pests

May be susceptible to 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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