Iris danfordiae
Common Name: iris
Type: Bulb
Family: Iridaceae
Native Range: Turkey
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.25 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Primrose yellow (with tiny dark spots on the falls)
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Soil needs to stay relatively dry in summer in order for the bulbs to set buds for the following year. Plant bulbs 3-4” deep and space 3-4” apart in fall. Bulbs tend to separate into offsets or bulblets after bloom (particularly when planted shallowly), with each new bulblet requiring several years to mature. Although bulbs can be dug and divided (offsets removed) after bloom, it is probably best to do this only if flowering has significantly declined. In order to insure consistent flowering from year to year, it is an option to plant supplemental bulbs each fall, or to grow this plant as an annual by planting new bulbs each fall.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This is a yellow-flowered reticulata iris. It is a low-growing bulbous iris that blooms in March to early April in the St. Louis area, at about the same time as snowdrops (Galanthus), glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa) and the early crocuses. Bright primrose-yellow, 2” diameter flowers with tiny brown or black spots on the falls appear on naked stems (scapes) growing 4” tall. Narrow, grass-like leaves elongate to 12” after bloom, but eventually disappear by late spring as the plants go dormant. Flowers have a sweet fragrance.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Fusarium basal rot is an infrequently occurring disease problem.

Garden Uses

Best massed in sunny areas of rock gardens, border fronts, along walks or along streams or ponds. Small groups of this small plant can get lost in the landscape.