Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tall Bearded Iris
Iris 'Indian Chief'

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Indian Chief
Hybridized by Ayres; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1929

» View all varieties of Iris

18 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tall Bearded (TB)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 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 midseason (EM)


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

Click thumbnail
to view:

By winnietn
Thumbnail #1 of Iris  by winnietn

By hespiris
Thumbnail #2 of Iris  by hespiris

By eyrelle
Thumbnail #3 of Iris  by eyrelle

By themikesmom
Thumbnail #4 of Iris  by themikesmom

By Terri1948
Thumbnail #5 of Iris  by Terri1948

By carolann
Thumbnail #6 of Iris  by carolann

By carolann
Thumbnail #7 of Iris  by carolann

There are a total of 26 photos.
Click here to view them all!


8 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Bhamster On Jun 2, 2012, Bhamster from Bellingham, WA wrote:

We have lots of these in our yard. They came with the place, so I figured it must be an older iris. I'm glad to know its name. It is a prolific beauty that makes a lovely complement for other colors.

Positive Irissimo On May 19, 2012, Irissimo from London/Kent
United Kingdom wrote:

Easily the tallest Iris in my iris bed . I love the smokey purple standards on deeper purple falls, born on strong stems that do not bend in the heavy wind and rain.
I see this Iris everywhere .Most of the houses around here were built prewar circa 1935 and so, they are from the original rhizomes - according to the now very elderly inhabitants .
Every time I see a front garden being paved over to accommodate cars I rescue them !

Positive Dave39 On May 6, 2012, Dave39 from Mount Wolf, PA wrote:

Planted 2 or 3 rhizomes last year in the subsoil clay of the area, with some organic material added to help loosen the soil, and doing fine, new shoots already and many blossoms...a great grower!

Positive themikesmom On Aug 28, 2011, themikesmom from Concord, NC wrote:

Indian Chief, Ayres, 1929 TB 35" EM Bloomer: is an often seen non-identifiable iris (noid) at many historic farm and victorian garden properties East of the Mississippi river. This Beautiful unique Maroon red and Purple-pink Bi-tone Classic is a super hardy spreader and reproducer that 'thrives in neglect'. It is a one of a kind unique red beauty that everyone that loves tb iris, and not just historics and reds, should have in their garden.
Indian Chief was Created by Dr.Wylie Ayres of Cincinnati, Ohio. Also an Amateur Occultist and Mysticism researcher and gardener/iris breeder and interesting person, he created the 1933 Dykes medal winner 'Coralie'. as well as some other notable iris, such as 'Persia', 'Arizona', 'Tint' O' Tan', 'Cheerio', 'Madrid', 'Meldoric', 'Theodolina', 'Venus De Milo' and 'Order of the Purple'. If anyone else loves 'Indian Chief' as much as we do and wants to furthur research, ''ALL'' of the 'Ayres iris' are now in Plantfiles here at DG and can be found in an specific search by hybridizer.

Positive eyrelle On May 28, 2011, eyrelle from Ithaca, NY wrote:

A strong, reliable grower. Very nice lavender uprights over darker purple falls with a golden beard. A bout with the iris borer greatly reduced my patch, but after cleaning the rhizomes they are coming back nicely this year.

Positive SissieJeep On May 10, 2011, SissieJeep from Roanoke, VA wrote:

I dug mine up from my grandmother's house when she passed and they are now going wild! They bloomed last year from mid-April up until Thanksgiving weekend when the first deep snow got them!

Positive Mainer On Jan 28, 2009, Mainer from Durham, ME (Zone 3a) wrote:

Seems very hardy in this zone. I have mine in the raised wooden beds on the east side of the house.

Positive hespiris On Nov 11, 2008, hespiris from Kingston, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Indian Chief is an aggressive grower that makes a great clump in just 2-3 years. The colors are great in light shade, as with any 'red'. While it is a beautiful bloom in its own right ~ it is particularly photographic. The detail of the veining is better seen by the camera than the eye.


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

Malvern, Arkansas
Fremont, California
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Madrid, Iowa
Wichita, Kansas
Durham, Maine
Gardiner, Maine
Hagerstown, Maryland
Brewster, Massachusetts
Deer River, Minnesota
Robertsville, Missouri
Shepherd, Montana
Auburn, New Hampshire
Vincentown, New Jersey
Roswell, New Mexico
Beacon, New York
Elba, New York
Ithaca, New York
Kingston, New York
Lake Placid, New York
Rocky Point, New York
Concord, North Carolina
Granite Falls, North Carolina
Dayton, Ohio
Bixby, Oklahoma
Gold Hill, Oregon
Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania
Warwick, Rhode Island
Celina, Tennessee
Hixson, Tennessee
Lampasas, Texas
Galax, Virginia
Portsmouth, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Bellingham, Washington

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