© RHS/Mark Winwood


Bulb irises

Growing irises from bulbs is easy and provides some of the earliest blooms in the garden; later flowering varieties compliment summer flowering plants. Whether in containers or in the open garden, they are hardy and provide colour year after year.


Early flowerers are diminutive plants with yellow, blue or white flowers. Summer varieties can have flowers in all colours. Unlike other irises, the bulbs have narrow, grassy leaves.


These irises grow in any soil that drains freely, in full sun at flowering time. Early types do well under deciduous trees and among shrubs that provide shelter in summer.


Like nearly all bulbs, these irises will not grow well in permanently wet or very heavy soil or in a permanently shaded situation.

Did you know?

Bulb irises can be treated as flowering houseplants. Grow them in containers outdoors or in a well-ventilated unheated greenhouse, then bring them inside when the buds start to open.

Growing guide

Bulb irises we recommend

Useful advice

Bulbs: planting

Bulbs: planting

Bulbs: propagation

Bulbs: propagation

Iris diseases

Iris diseases

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.