Iris fulva 'Lois Yellow'

Common Name: copper iris 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil


Best grown in fertile, slightly acidic, consistently moist to wet soils in full sun. Tolerates part shade, particularly in the southern part of its growing range. Does well in wet clayey soils. May be grown in up to 6” of standing water. Grow in containers in water gardens. May benefit from winter protection in USDA Zone 5.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Iris fulva is commonly called copper iris because of the unusual copper color of its flowers. It is a beardless, crestless iris (Louisiana Iris group) that is native to swamps and wetlands of the deep South and of the lower Mississippi Valley from Louisiana north to southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois. In Missouri, it is primarily found in bald cypress swamps, sloughs, ponds, ditches and swampy woodland areas in the southeastern corner of the State (Steyermark). It is often found growing and blooming in standing water in spring-flooded areas that typically dry up as the summer progresses. Terra cotta or copper colored irises appear in late spring atop flower scapes typically growing 2-3’ tall. Flowers are reportedly pollinated by hummingbirds. Sword-shaped, linear, bright green leaves. In New Orleans in March of 1821, John James Audubon painted a pair of parula warblers perching on the stem of a copper iris in a painting that became an entry in The Birds of North America.

Genus named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

Specific epithet means tawny for the flower color.

‘Lois Yellow’ is a yellow-flowered cultivar of the native species.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to Iris fulva mosaic.


Water gardens, bog gardens, pond or stream margins, or moist low spots. May also be grown in borders with consistent moisture.