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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Botanical Name:

family Iridaceae

Life Cycle:

perennial bulbs

Planting Time:

spring or fall depending on type and zone

Height:

4" to 6"

Exposure:

sun to partial shade

Soil:

average to rich, well-drained soil

Hardiness:

zones 5-9

Bloom Time:

winter to early spring depending on zone

Flower:

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

Foliage:

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

Propagation:

division

Suggested Use:

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

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March 30, 2020

I had a pot of indoor dwarf iris given to me as a gift. The flowers have now died so I dead-headed them, but now they have gone crazy and the plants have grown to around 35cm. What do I do with them now?

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Answers

March 30, 20200 found this helpful

Per this site,

Irises cannot be forced a second time indoors. If you want to keep them, allow the foliage to die back naturally, cut off the stems, then store the bulbs in a cool, dry place. Plant the bulbs in a sunny site with well-drained soil in the fall. Dwarf iris plants are hardy to Zone 5 and naturally bloom in early spring.

www.guide-to-houseplants.com/iris-plants.html

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April 2, 20200 found this helpful

I am not sure if you can grow these outdoors or not. If you can then after this growning season and the flowers and leaves dry off naturally move them outside next spring. Allow them to grow outdoors. it is not such a good idea to trim them back. I have done this and I have never had an issue.

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My plants grow year round because I live in he tropics. I have not grown these plants indoors but I am sure the growing process is basically the same. Just allow them to grow this season, they will die naturally, trim them back and save the bulbs. In spring plant them outside or maybe on your terrace.

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April 8, 20200 found this helpful

I am not an 'Iris' expert but I have gained some knowledge due to being given a very nice yellow Iris bulb last year.
Dwarf Iris are said to grow up to 5-6 inches so I'm not sure you have a true 'dwarf' Iris.
You do not say where you live or if you have an outdoor space to plant your Iris so any suggestion could be erroneous for your location.

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If you have yard space to plant outdoors then you can check this chart to see if Iris can grow outdoors in your zone. Iris is stated to be hardy zone 3/5-9 but there are exceptions - especially if you store your bulbs inside during the very cold months.

planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/.../

If you cannot plant outdoors then I would suggest you just leave your plant alone until fall and then decide what to do with it as bulbs need a cold area part of the year.
If you have space, it's possible you could transplant it to a larger pot (with good drainage).

Hardy in zones 3-9, they need a winter chill to thrive. If you live in a warm zone, you can chill the bulbs before planting to mimic the effect of winter. In cooler zones, they are easy-care, long-lived bulbs that will multiply and return year after year.

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"Dwarf Iris bulbs will flower in the early Spring. After the flowers die down, the plant can enjoy a warm rest period. You don't have to water too much during this rest period. Leaves will also die back and start to yellow. At this point, you can choose to tidy up the plant and remove the old leaves."

Be sure to divide your Iris and replant outside or into more pots.
here is a good site to learn about Iris.

www.leafari.com/dwarf-iris-planting-guide.html

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Answer this Question...

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

Answers

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, 2015

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.

Answers

Anonymous
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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