Iris 'Az Ap'
Common Name: intermediate iris 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Cobalt blue with gentian blue beards
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some part afternoon shade, particularly in hot summer climates. Best with consistent moisture from spring to 6 weeks after flowering ends. Some drought tolerance once established. Best performance occurs in light sandy soils with excellent drainage. With clay soils or in areas of high rainfall, plant rhizomes on slopes (growing end uphill) or in raised beds to promote good drainage and discourage the onset of rhizome rot. Plant rhizomes, depending on location, from late July through October (late July–early September in areas with cold winters or September-October in areas with mild winters). Plant rhizomes 12-20” apart. Plant each rhizome shallowly over a baseball-sized mound of soil with 1/ 3 of the rhizome above the soil and with the roots horizontally spread to support the plant. Growth comes from the leafy end of the rhizome. If overcrowding occurs over time, lift the clump in late summer (August) with a garden fork, divide and replant. Keep the iris bed free of weeds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Intermediate Bearded Iris is a rhizomatous iris whose numerous hybrid cultivars grow to 16-25.5” tall. Flowers bloom in May-June (St. Louis) between the bloom seasons of the dwarf bearded and tall bearded irises, with some overlap obviously occurring. Each flower grows to 5” wide with upright standards and pendant falls. Bearded name comes from the bushy beard which is easily visible in the middle of each fall. Branched flower stalks usually extend above the foliage. Plants typically form clumps in the garden over time. Flowers bloom in an almost unlimited variety of different colors and color combinations. Narrow, linear green leaves are substantially erect.

Genus named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

Iris ‘Az Ap’ is an intermediate bearded iris that typically grows to 22” tall. Flowers bloom in May-June. Hybridized by Allan Ensminger. Registered in 1993. Cobalt blue standards and falls with a gentian blue beard. Involved parentage includes ‘Charmed Circle’, ‘Spring Salute’, ‘Patience’, I. pumila and lots of ‘Jungle Shadows’.

The hybridizer apparently believed ‘Az Ap’ resembled the Tall Bearded ‘Azure Apogee’, hence the cultivar name is simply an abbreviation of ‘Azure Apogee’.


Leaf spot, root rot, bacterial soft rot, crown rot and mosaic viruses may appear. Watch for slug, snails, whiteflies, aphids and thrips. Iris borers can cause significant problems in areas where they are found.


Best grouped or massed in sunny areas of perennial beds, borders or foundations.