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IRIS cristata

Image of Iris cristata

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Iridaceae

Botanical Name

IRIS cristata

Plant Common Name

Crested Iris

General Description

A charming plant for the woodland or shade garden, this creeping herbaceous perennial is native to the eastern and central United States. It spreads by short, slender, shallow rhizomes to form large clumps of low, flexuous, sword-shaped leaves. Relatively large lavender-blue flowers are held just above the leaves in spring. The three spreading flower sepals bear prominent white or yellow crests; the three petals and petal-like styles are erect. The leaves remain attractive throughout the growing season. Several cultivars are available, including white-flowered selections.

This little beauty does best in rich, moist, well drained soil in partial sun, but will tolerate sandy soil and considerable shade. Plant it with the rhizomes partly exposed. Propagate by seed, or by division in early summer. It is ideal as a small-scale ground cover for naturalistic gardens, or as a "knitter" between taller shade-lovers such as Dicentra specatilis and astilbes.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4"-8" / 10.2cm - 20.3cm

  • Width

    6"-18" / 15.2cm - 45.7cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    World/Pandemic, North America, Europe, Africa, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Purple, Lavender, Blue Violet

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Cutflower, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    No