Iris 'Ballet Lesson'
Common Name: standard dwarf bearded iris 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Peachy pink
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

Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris is a rhizomatous iris whose numerous hybrid cultivars grow to 8-16” tall. Flowers bloom in May-June (St. Louis). Each flower grows up to 4” wide and features upright standards and pendant falls. Bearded name comes from the bushy beard which is easily visible in the middle of each fall. Flower stalks usually grow at the same height as or only slightly taller than the narrow, erect, linear green leaves. Plants typically form clumps in the garden over time. Flowers bloom in an almost unlimited variety of different colors and color combinations.

Genus named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

‘Ballet Lesson’ is a standard dwarf bearded iris that typically grows to 9-12” tall. Flowers bloom in May. Hybridized by O. D. Niswonger. Registered in 1992. Standards and falls are peachy pink with intensified color around the pink-tipped white beards on the falls. Parentage is ‘Straw Hat’ x ‘Ballet Slippers’.


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


Best grouped or massed in sunny areas of rock gardens, border fronts or along walks. Also may be grown in containers.