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Growing Miniature Iris (Dwarf Iris)

Category Bulbs
Miniature iris are relatively easy to grow, but are not as hardy as the standard varieties. This page is about growing miniature iris.


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By 0 found this helpful
March 16, 2006

Botanical Name:

family Iridaceae

Life Cycle:

perennial bulbs

Planting Time:

spring or fall depending on type and zone


4" to 6"


sun to partial shade


average to rich, well-drained soil


zones 5-9

Bloom Time:

winter to early spring depending on zone


variety of colors depending on type: white, blue, purple (some with yellow markings), canary yellow (may have green or orange-brown markings).


green; leaves tend to be short at flowering and elongate after bloom fades to a length of about 12 inches.



Suggested Use:

beds, borders, rock gardens, around trees and shrubs, containers and indoor forcing

Growing Hints:

Plant Dwarf Iris in the spring or summer from potted plants or bare-root divisions. Bulbs should be spaced 3 inches deep and 6 inches apart in a sunny location with well-drained soil. Water regularly and do not cut back the foliage until it dies back naturally. Give them time to store enough nutrients for next year's season. Divide plants in the spring every 3 to 4 years to keep them looking their best.

Interesting Facts:

Two of the most common species of the Dwarf Iris are Iris reticulata and Iris dandordiae. The first originates from the Caucasus Mountains in the Middle East and is the variety most commonly sold commercially. It comes in beautiful shades of blue and purple. Iris dandordiae exhibits all of the same characteristics as Iris reticulata, but is a bright canary-yellow color.
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By 0 found this helpful
August 28, 2009

Can bare root miniature iris tubers be held in a cool place over winter and replanted in spring?

Hardiness Zone: 5a

By JoAnn Walker from Madison, WI


August 30, 20090 found this helpful

Unless you're moving and want to take them with you just leave them in the ground and they'll be just fine :-) I lived through 15 Michigan Winters and had dozens of Iris' both regular and miniature and never had a problem. Just had to divide them every three or four years in the Spring ;-)

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August 31, 20090 found this helpful

In your zone after the ground has frozen, I would lay down mulch over the iris area. Iris are notorious for frost heaving because they are so shallowly planted. Frost heaving happens when there are freeze/thaw cycles over the course of the winter season. Even in my zone 6a the Iris will heave out of the soil.


If you lay your mulch down AFTER the ground has frozen it will help keep the ground frozen until you remove it. Just don't lay it down over the iris before the ground has frozen to avoid rot problems (that goes for any plants that are susceptible to crown rot from excessive and prolonged moisture. You will also want to remove that mulch/rake it aside, ect. as soon as possible in spring for that very reason so moisture does not get trapped and the ground can warm up faster. BTW I use wheat straw often with a mix of fall leaves for winter mulch.

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February 14, 20150 found this helpful

Can the irises from grocery store chains be transplanted outside in the spring? Will they survive over the winter in zone 3?

By Gayle D.


April 29, 20180 found this helpful

I hope so, I just bought two tired pots from the grocery store hoping to plant them outside. I'm in zone 5b. Poking around here trying to figure out how to handle them before planting.

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