Iris cristata

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 4 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: dwarf crested iris
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Native Range: Northeastern United States
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Pale blue with gold-crested falls
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought

Noteworthy Characteristics

Iris cristata, commonly called dwarf crested iris, is a low-growing, rapidly spreading plant that typically grows to 3-6” tall. It features pale blue, lilac or lavender iris flowers with gold crests on the falls. Flowers are borne on very short stems, often appearing nearly stemless. Narrow, sword-shaped, yellowish-green to medium green leaves (to 6” long) arise from a network of branching rhizomes. Spreads quickly and forms dense colonies in optimum growing conditions. Native from Maryland to Oklahoma south to Georgia and Mississippi. In Missouri, it typically occurs on rocky, wooded slopes, on bluffs and along streams in the southeastern Ozark region (Steyermark). When in flower, a well-developed bed can produce a spectacular drift of blue color.

Genus named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

Specific epithet means with tassel-like tips or crested.


Snails and slugs can be significant problems.

Garden Uses

An excellent plant for early spring bloom in a shaded area of the rock garden, perennial border or woodland garden. Foliage forms a nice ground cover for woodland areas. May also be used as a seasonal ground cover or edger.