Japanese Water Iris, Japanese Flag, Russian Iris 'Imperial Magic'

Iris ensata

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: ensata (en-SA-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Imperial Magic
Hybridized by Marx
Registered or introduced: 1960
Synonym:Iris kaempferi
» View all varieties of Iris


Japanese (JA)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


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)

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:

Early (E)



This plant is resistant to deer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

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):

Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Water Requirements:

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

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Hannibal, New York

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 19, 2009, pollyk from Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

The real Imperial Magic is a beautiful iris. The picture from Lilypon courtesy Ensata Gardens is the real thing.

Unfortunately, this is one of the JIs that has become mixed up in commerce due to Dutch growers buying cast off seedlings from Japan, and giving them names like Pink Beauty, Imperial Magic, etc. Many of the Imperial Magic from some of the large retail stores are plain purple, or speckled purple, and these are not Imperial Magic.

Do not trade these as Imperial Magic unless they match the picture of the one from Ensata. Buy from true iris growers, and they will be true to name.

Here is the registered description of Imperial Magic from the Society For Japanese Iris:
"IMPERIAL MAGIC Marx, Louise Reg. 1960 60-11 45in 114cm E ... read more