Sisyrinchium 'E. K. Balls'
Common Name: sisyrinchium 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Mauve
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy


Best grown in medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates light shade. Prefers consistently moist soils that do not dry out, but drainage must be good. Plantings may be sheared back after bloom to tidy foliage for remaining part of the growing season. Plants may need to be divided every 2-3 years to keep plantings vigorous.

This hybrid does not seem to self-seed (it may be sterile).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sisyrinchium is a genus of about 90 species of annuals and perennials native to North and South America. Although their foliage is grass-like, the blue-eyed grasses belong to the iris family not the grass family.

Genus name comes from the ancient Greek name for another plant.

‘E. K. Balls’ is a hybrid cultivar that is noted for its mauve flowers. It is synonymous with and sometimes sold as S. ‘Ball’s Mauve’. It is a clump-forming perennial that features a fan-like tuft of narrow, grass-like, blue green leaves typically growing to 6-8” (less frequently to 10”) tall. Star-like, mauve flowers (to 3/4” across) appear in late spring on stalks growing from leaf-like bracts atop flowering stems that are distinctively flattened.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Best in groups or massed in rock gardens, border fronts or open woodland gardens. Also effective as an edger along paths or walkways. Foliage clumps are quite attractive when the flowers are not in bloom.