Iris virginica 'Contraband Girl'
Common Name: southern blue flag
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June
Bloom Description: Lavender blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Wet Soil


Best grown in wet, boggy, acidic, sandy soils in full sun. Also does surprisingly well in average garden soils that are kept consistently moist, however best performance in the border will generally occur with sandy-humusy, water-retentive soils that are never allowed to dry out. The species is often found in the wild growing in standing water, and this cultivar may be grown in shallow water (up to 6 "). Tolerates light shade, particularly in the southern part of its growing range. Clumps will slowly spread by creeping rhizomes to form colonies in optimum growing conditions. Divide plants when overcrowding occurs.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Iris virginica, commonly called Southern blue flag, is a wetland species of iris which is native primarily to coastal plains from Virginia to Louisiana. It typically grows to 2' tall (less frequently to 3') and features non-fragrant violet-blue flowers with falls that are crested with yellow and white. Flower color can vary considerably from very light blue to purple. Bright medium green, sword-shaped leaves often lie on the ground or in the water. Blooms in late spring.

Genus named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

Specific epithet means of Virginia.

'Contraband Girl' is a robust, large-flowered cultivar that typically growing 2-4' tall (taller than the species) with sword-shaped, bright green leaves and lavender-blue irises with purple veining and yellow stripes on the falls.


No serious insect or disease problems. Optimum growing conditions may be difficult to attain in the home landscape.

Garden Uses

Water gardens, along streams or ponds or in low-lying areas that are subject to periodic flooding. May be grown in borders as long as soils are kept uniformly moist.