Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Copper Iris
Iris fulva

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: fulva (FUL-vuh) (Info)

» View all varieties of Iris

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

15 members have or want this plant for trade.


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

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

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)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

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

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)
Scarlet (Dark Red)
Gold (Yellow-Orange)
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Midseason (M)


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

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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By MaryinLa
Thumbnail #1 of Iris fulva by MaryinLa

By MaryinLa
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There are a total of 10 photos.
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5 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive OhioLarch On Oct 28, 2010, OhioLarch from Monroe, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

In spite of comments about constant moisture, my small clump has bloomed in spite of neglect at the street-side edge of a clay-heavy bed.

I'm sure it would be happier with more water and organic matter, and I hope to improve conditions for it next year.

Positive loiswildflowers On Mar 10, 2010, loiswildflowers from Joiner, AR wrote:

I grew this Iris fulva from seed several years ago. You have to have patience. I used a large needle to prick a hole in the coat of each small seed. Then I put the seed in a ziploc bag in damp peat moss and placed it in the refrigeratoar until the seed sprouted. Takes several months for them to sprout but is worth the wait.

Lois Wilson
Joiner, Arkansas

Positive nevadagdn On Apr 26, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have this in my little pond. The pond never freezes over completely, and I don't remove the plant from the pond in winter. It seems perfectly content with my benign neglect.

Positive suncatcheracres On Nov 24, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I believe this is the red iris that grew along the Bayou Teche behind my Grandparent's cypress cabin in South Louisiana when I was a young child. My Grandfather had several small wooden boats, called "pirogues," tied up to a short wooden dock, and I loved to play down on this dock, where you could get up close to these flowers. From a distance, in the sun, they were a blaze of red against the dark waters of the bayou. These red irises were growing along the bank of the Bayou in the partial shade of low hanging branches of live oaks, dripping in Spanish moss.

The excellent book "The Louisiana Iris, The Taming of a Native American Wildflower," second edition, published by The Society for Louisiana Irises, goes into great detail about the original five species of Louisiana iris and the history of their hybridization. From this book I learned that in Louisiana iris the style arms, the essential sexual organs of all irises, are readily seen due to its very open form, as opposed to the mainly hidden style arms of the bearded irises, and that I. fulva and its closely related hybrids have narrow and short style arms. I. fulva is "found in partial shade to full sun in open swamps sometimes in water up to 6 inches deep after flooding by heavy rains. Found also in well-lighted areas of cypress and hardwood swamps, along streams and canals, and in roadside ditches." Its original range was from South Louisiana to Ohio, growing up the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys.

DNA analysis has shown that I. fulva is the pod parent of the "tri species hybrid complex known as I. nelsonii," the other red Louisiana iris which was a natural hybrid found in very localized areas around Abbeville, Louisiana, in 1938. I. nelsonii were sometimes called "Super Fulvas," as they were larger and more spectacularly colored than I. fulva, and I. nelsonii has been used extensively over the years in the development of the many modern Louisiana iris hybrids. Abbeville is about 75 miles due West of the site of my Grandparent's home, so the iris I saw there as a child could have possibly been I. nelsonii, but I do believe they were I. fulva.

I am presently growing a modern red hybrid in my garden named 'Ann Chowning,' which is a bright red with a large yellow signal, and it was the first winner of the DeBaillon Medal in 1986, "the highest award bestowed on an iris by the Society for Louisiana Irises."

The modern hybrids have proved quite hardy and can be grown in a variety of garden situations, but prefer sun and moist soils.

Positive dogbane On Nov 23, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is one of the parent species of the 'Louisiana Iris'. It hybridizes freely with I. giganticaerulea, I. brevicaulis, and I. x nelsonii. Wild populations were nearly wiped out due to the demand by European iris breeders because of the ease of crossing and its red color.

Native to marshes, bogs and swamps, this iris adapts readily to garden environments and has proven itself to grow well outside of its native range.

The foliage begins growing in the fall and usually dies back in the summer.

Flowers attract hummers and bees. They are usually brick colored, but can be anywhere in the red/yellow part of the spectrum and bicolored flowers are not uncommon.

Seems a bit more shade tolerant than the other irises in its group.


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

Tuskegee, Alabama
Joiner, Arkansas
Mena, Arkansas
Moline, Illinois
Coushatta, Louisiana
Mandeville, Louisiana (2 reports)
Paulina, Louisiana
White Castle, Louisiana
Elsberry, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Sparks, Nevada
Monroe, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Muskogee, Oklahoma
Wagoner, Oklahoma
Corpus Christi, Texas
Shepherd, Texas
Lexington, Virginia

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