Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Intermediate Bearded Iris
Iris 'Eleanor Roosevelt'

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Eleanor Roosevelt
Hybridized by Sass-McDade; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1933

» View all varieties of Iris

9 members have or want this plant for trade.

Intermediate Bearded (IB)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 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:
Full Sun

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

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Early (E)


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Flowers are good for cutting

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

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

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Awards (if applicable):
Honorable Mention
Award of Merit

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By carolann
Thumbnail #1 of Iris  by carolann

By carolann
Thumbnail #2 of Iris  by carolann

By Toxicodendron
Thumbnail #3 of Iris  by Toxicodendron

By Wandasflowers
Thumbnail #4 of Iris  by Wandasflowers

By DebinSC
Thumbnail #5 of Iris  by DebinSC

By DebinSC
Thumbnail #6 of Iris  by DebinSC

By DebinSC
Thumbnail #7 of Iris  by DebinSC

There are a total of 15 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive WarwickDave On May 23, 2014, WarwickDave from Warwick, RI wrote:

My grandmother grew this deep purple beauty in her garden and now I carry on the tradition. It's short stature makes it a great border plant in my garden and it is one of the first irises to bloom, fading just in time for the tall bearded irises to get going. The clumps expand rather quickly and they need dividing fairly often, but that just means I have plenty to give away to friends. Re-bloom, for me is a 50/50 thing. If we have an early spring or an unusually warm fall, the plants will usually get some bloom in before the frosts come. Many years the flowering stems show up just before Halloween and get killed before they can bloom. Even with just the spring flowering, Eleanor Roosevelt is an asset in any garden.

Positive straea On May 17, 2009, straea from Somerville, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is my first bearded iris to bloom this year, blooming now after a cool spring. It looks lovely near the front of my border. I have it planted with 'Gracchus,' another historic shortish bearded iris. ('Gracchus' has several buds but hasn't bloomed yet.)

I have seven heirloom bearded irises in total and they have withstood impressively harsh conditions, planted on a slope in nearly all-day sun with a searing wind and a tendency for the soil to dry out within a day even after summer storms. They have done beautifully. 'Eleanor's neighbor 'Gracchus' has even bounced back from a borer infestation with almost no interference on my part and is looking healthier than ever. There's a reason these irises are still being grown over 100+ years - if you want irises that succeed with little maintenance, plant some heirlooms!

Neutral Joan On Jan 5, 2009, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Awards: Honorable Mention 1936, Award of Merit 1937

Positive DebinSC On Dec 20, 2008, DebinSC from Georgetown, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This Iris usually begins blooming in my garden in early Feb. (zone 8). It has bloomed as early as New Years. It reblooms intermittently at best, but seems to do so more often if it has afternoon shade.

Positive Toxicodendron On May 11, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

'Eleanor Roosevelt' is one of the earliest of my irises to bloom in spring. It is a dwarf variety, reaching about 14 inches or so. It reblooms in the fall if we don't have an early freeze that ruins the buds. It does not bloom continuously all summer, in case you were wondering.


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

Searcy, Arkansas
Auberry, California
North Fork, California
Denver, Colorado
Meansville, Georgia
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
Durham, Maine
Billerica, Massachusetts
Brewster, Massachusetts
Somerville, Massachusetts
Piedmont, Missouri
Robertsville, Missouri
Harlowton, Montana
Auburn, New Hampshire
Browns Mills, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Concord, North Carolina
Thackerville, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Warwick, Rhode Island
Summerville, South Carolina
Greeneville, Tennessee
Chillicothe, Texas
Houston, Texas
Midland, Texas
Round Rock, Texas (2 reports)
Palmyra, Virginia

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