Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Winter-blooming Algerian Iris
Iris unguicularis

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: unguicularis (un-gwee-kew-LAIR-iss) (Info)

» View all varieties of Iris

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

14 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

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)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Extra early (EE)


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
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)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

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 10 photos.
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5 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive andalepuesnz On Feb 24, 2015, andalepuesnz from Kimbolton
New Zealand wrote:

Lovely little thing, bringing winter cheer. But I've had it growing in the most arid conditions imaginable, both sunny and shady, and as long as the drainage is impeccable it thrives here in parts of New Zealand where the winter is cold (for us!). I've never had to water after the first few weeks, and it has formed huge, long-lived clumps for me.

Positive diggerslou On Jun 27, 2012, diggerslou from Anacortes, WA wrote:

Purchased at Seattle Flower and Garden Show in late 1990's and it has faithfully bloomed in November and March ever since. Finally dug the entire clump in May 2012 and tubers were crowded on top of one another 6" deep. Will not wait 12+ years to divide in the future ! Important to note: put it somewhere you will SEE it in November and March-this is a rugged plant to enjoy.

Positive KanapahaLEW On Feb 6, 2010, KanapahaLEW from Alachua, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have 2-year-old clumps of this Iris in both the Herb and Bulb Gardens at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens (Gainesville FL). They have been throwing blooms since mid-December despite our having had a record period of frost. It is truly a gift to have this beautiful Winter color.

Positive pokerboy On Aug 14, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is such a tough plant and it is a bit surprising that such dainty flowers come from such a tough plant. My next door neighbours have two clumps and thay are totally neglected. No water, fetiliser or care. They also get full sun and don't flower but spread rapidly.There are others in our suburb that are huge and others that flower magnificantly. I just had to have one. I bought one at my local markets in flower for only $3 and it is very young. It is sending up 3 newbuds and is spreading already. I don't think it will flower again this winter but I hope it flowers next Winter. Such a tough, but lovely plant. pokerboy.

Positive sred98 On Mar 1, 2004, sred98 from Tulsa, OK wrote:

I received this plant unexpectedly in a trade. I was not impressed. It looked a lot like a clump of liriope! I stuck it in a dry sandy spot in the yard and forgot about it. Suddenly, in November, it surprised me with a beautiful blossom! I didn't want to pick it, since it was the only bud, but I couldn't resist, since I had heard that only one blossom would perfume an entire room. It wasn't an exaggeration! It has a lovely honey/lemon/vanilla scent. By the next day, another had flower had bloomed! This kept up through the winter and snow, until it dropped into the teens. This plant didn't suffer any frostbite, and stayed evergreen. I am on the border of 6/7 (I tend to push the zones a bit). This is an incredible plant that's full of surprises! I hope it multiplies quickly!

From what I understand, it thrives on neglect and doesn't need any special care or protection. It would probably be a great xeriscape or rock garden plant.


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

, British Columbia
Los Angeles, California
Vista, California
Grand Junction, Colorado
Gainesville, Florida
Deridder, Louisiana
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Columbia, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Frisco, Texas
Anacortes, Washington

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