Iris graminea
Common Name: iris
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Native Range: Central and southern Europe
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June
Bloom Description: Purple-violet
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best planted in a neutral to slightly acidic soil. Fertilize in early spring and after flowers bloom. Mature plants will tolerate some drought. Plants are best left undisturbed once established. Plants may not bloom until the second year after planting. May be grown from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Iris graminea is a beardless dwarf spuria iris that grows from a rhizome to 8-18” tall. It is native from Spain to Russia and throughout the Caucasus. In the wild, it comes in a variety of different forms depending on geographic location. Plants from central Europe generally have grass like leaves with flower spikes that are somewhat hidden by the foliage. Each flower spike bears two flowers (to 3” long) which have purple standards, purple style branches and violet falls with violet-veined, yellowish-white hafts. Flowers have a fruity aroma somewhat reminiscent of ripe plums, hence the sometimes used common names for this plant of plum iris or plum-scented iris. Flowers bloom in June. Grassy foliage clump may elongate after bloom.

Genus named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

Specific epithet means grass in obvious reference to the grass-like clump of leaves.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot is an infrequently occurring disease problem. Susceptible to certain viruses.

Garden Uses

Best grouped in sunny areas of rock gardens or borders fronts. Fragrant cut flower for a small vase.