Iris reticulata

Iris reticulata
Iris reticulata

Family: Iridaceae
Botanical Name: Iris reticulata
Common Names: Early bulbous iris
Foliage: Flowers:
Flowering Period: Early Spring


The rich blues and violets of this dwarf iris are a welcome sight at the beginning of the year. Plant them near the house so this early flowering extravaganza can be fully appreciated following the dull winter months.


  • Foliage: Narrow erect green pointed leaves. Deciduous.
  • Flowers: Fragrant, deep violet-purple flowers, marked with a central yellow crest. The flowers have 6 large petals, three of which spread out and three are erect.
  • Flowering Period: February - March.
  • Height: up to 6in (15cm).
  • Soil: Grow in a moist but well-drained good quality garden soil (Chalk, Clay, Sand or Loam). Best in neutral or slightly alkaline conditions.
  • Conditions: Full sun, any aspect, exposed or sheltered.
  • Habit: Tufted.
  • Type: Dwarf rhizomatous/bulbous perennials.
  • Origin: Caucasus to Northern Iran.
  • Hardiness: Fully hardy in most regions of the UK (down to -20°C).
  • Toxicity: Ingestion may cause severe discomfort.

Planting Context

Flower beds, border edges, rock gardens, window boxes, pots and containers. Due to its small size it is ideal for planting at the front of a border, among other low growing plants or with other low-growing early flowering bulbs.

Planting Iris reticulata

Plant dormant bulbs in the autumn.

Taking Care of Iris reticulata

Easy to grow, requiring very little care and attention.

Pruning Iris reticulata

No pruning necessary. Remove dead flower heads and allow leaves to die back naturally.

Pests and Diseases

Generally disease free. Protect emerging shoots from slugs and snails.

Propagating Iris reticulata

Sow seed under glass in autumn or spring. The bulbs can also be lifted separated in early autumn. Replant the larger bulbs immediately where they are to flower. Plant-up any smaller bulbs (offsets) in a nursery bed to bring them on to maturity.


There are a number of hybrid forms available including:

'j.s. dijt' with a spotted rich orange centre.

'Cantab' with large pale blue flowers.

'Katharine's Gold' white flowers with yellow falls and blue freckles.

'Katharine Hodgkin' pale blue-grey flowers with intricate markings.