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IRIS ensata 'Velvety Queen'

Image of Iris ensata 'Velvety Queen'

Family

Iridaceae

Botanical Name

IRIS ensata 'Velvety Queen'

Plant Common Name

Japanese Iris, Velvety Queen Japanese Iris

General Description

The big silky purple flowers of ‘Velvety Queen’ offer deep color that is best admired in the full sun. The large, flat-topped flowers are the size of an open human hand and have a contrasting bright yellow splash at the base of each petal.

Japanese iris originates from China, Russia, and Japan but has been cultivated most by the Japanese. It was first popularized in the West in the late nineteenth century when it was most prized as a collector's plant. Now there are hundreds of fine cultivars available of eastern and western origin.

This tall, elegant perennial may also be called the butterfly iris, a name which describes its large, flattened flowers that come in an array of cool colors. When in full bloom they look like a flutter of large butterflies alight on the stems. They appear in late spring to early summer above clumps of stiff, strap-like leaves of rich green borne from thick, fleshy rhizomes. Over time these spread into sizable clumps, which may be divided every few years.

Japanese iris prefers full to partial sun and is best placed in moist boggy soils, though it will tolerate good garden soil that’s evenly moist. Still, it is a true marginal, growing best in the fluctuating water levels of the water's edge, tolerating higher water in the summer and drier conditions in winter.

Enjoy its beauty in Japanese-themed gardens, waterside plantings or any sunny mixed border. The blooms are also suitable as cutflowers.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m (4)

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Russia/Siberia, China, Japan

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Ample Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Purple, Lemon Yellow, Plum

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • 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

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Water Gardens

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No