Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dwarf Crested Iris
Iris cristata

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: cristata (kris-TAY-tuh) (Info)

» View all varieties of Iris

9 vendors have this plant for sale.

29 members have or want this plant for trade.

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under 6 in. (15 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Midseason (MLa)


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Awards (if applicable):
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 20 photos.
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9 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Mar 11, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A lovely little native woodland iris that spreads vigorously where happy, but does not grow densely enough to smother weeds. The flowers put on a good show, but the bloom season is short.

The foliage is attractive when out of bloom, but often disfigured by slugs. A tough plant that performs well in deciduous shade, even dry shade.

Easy to propagate by division. Divisions spaced a foot apart will fill in in a season or two

Positive Jcmeinster On Apr 27, 2014, Jcmeinster from Conroe, TX wrote:

I'm located about 50 miles north of Houston in Montgomery County this is the second year Since I planted and is coming up again in more numbers than what I originally planted .
It's a little guy with big blooms for it size , beautiful color and proven to be a native reliable ground cover that helps to keep the soil in place .
Note: avoid planting near a squirrel food source tree as squirrels will dig on the ground looking for food and expose the rhizomes , or protect with a wire net .

Positive ms_greenjeans On May 22, 2012, ms_greenjeans from Hopkins, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Adorable, and tough. I planted some of these last fall under a huge double-trunked cedar, where many other plants have failed. It thrived, multiplied, and bloomed this spring.

Positive Erutuon On Apr 2, 2011, Erutuon from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

I put this plant in a somewhat dry place next to a tree, and expected it to die because its rhizomes look so small and scrawny, and squirrels dug at it (even cutting off one of the rhizomes), but it survived and grew many new growing tips the next year, forming much wider clump of cute little leaves. This year it's due to bloom, and probably I'll buy more to place around the yard, since it's such a hardy and compact plant.

Positive DMgardener On May 8, 2010, DMgardener from (Daniel) Mount Orab, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

Very small is all I can say, + the fact that the blooms are just tiny! Leaves are lighter green than other Irises, but bloom earlier than most. Flowers are a beautiful lavender blue, with yellow, black, and white markings. An excellent plant! Combines wonderfully with Aquilegia!

Positive 2texaslady On Mar 22, 2010, 2texaslady from Humble, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Iris cristata is a very beautiful little plant. As of yesterday (march 21) one stalk had 7 blossom on it.
This is a great little plant as it's bloom time for us here in Southeast Texas is the same as the old iris Albicans (white cemetery iris) the heirloom iris Kochii ( beautiful dark purple) and the Dyke's Medal winner Dauntless. They have all been blooming for about a week or two. This is one to add to your iris collection for sure!!

Positive KSBaptisia On May 9, 2009, KSBaptisia from Beatrice, NE (Zone 5b) wrote:

Beautiful little native iris for a shade garden.

Positive stormyla On May 14, 2008, stormyla from Norristown, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant grows very well in shade and semi shade. The clumps keep enlarging and it is very floriferous for several weeks in spring. I planted this 3 years ago one, under a Maple and another in the front of a shady border. Both clumps need to be divided this fall and I'm looking forward to trying it in other areas of the garden.

Neutral bluespiral On Jan 25, 2007, bluespiral from (Zone 7a) wrote:

For the frugal and adventurous, following is some research regarding the germination of Iris cristata seed:

1) from rock garden site

a) "Requires soaking. Place in warm water until seeds swell, usually 24-48 hours."

b) "Sow at 4*C [24-39*F] for 3 months, then place at 20*C [68*F] for 3 months."

2) from 2nd edition of Norman C. Deno's book, Seed Germination Theory and Practice - Deno doesn't have an entry for Iris cristata in this edition, but he does point out that regarding the host of different germination techniques for different iris species, "one size definitely does not fit all." However, the germination patterns that he has discovered among various iris species that require exposure to 40*F at the beginning of the germination process might be helpful with this one, so I hope anyone reading this will acquire his book.

Positive rcn48 On Dec 19, 2004, rcn48 from Lexington, VA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Lovely dwarf Iris for the spring garden. Although it has a short blooming period, it readily spreads once established and is wonderful planted amongst taller and later flowering perennials.

Neutral Ladyfern On Aug 4, 2003, Ladyfern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

The darling flowers are way too short-lived. It blooms from the previous year's growth, so it takes a year to establish and bloom. Drought-tolerant. Forms colonies of little sword-shaped leaves--interesting in the woodland garden.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Morrilton, Arkansas
Gainesville, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
Cornelia, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Plainfield, Illinois
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Portland, Indiana
Perry, Iowa
Barbourville, Kentucky
Salvisa, Kentucky
Ellicott City, Maryland
Dracut, Massachusetts
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Westford, Massachusetts
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Howell, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Hopkins, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
Harrisonville, Missouri
Beatrice, Nebraska
Woodstown, New Jersey
Brooklyn, New York
Jefferson, New York
Oyster Bay, New York
West Kill, New York
Burlington, North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Clyde, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Mount Orab, Ohio
Willoughby, Ohio
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Charleston, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Newport, Tennessee
Viola, Tennessee
Conroe, Texas
Blacksburg, Virginia
Broadway, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Mechanicsville, Virginia

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