Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Reticulated Iris
Iris reticulata

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: reticulata (reh-tick-yoo-LAY-tuh) (Info)

» View all varieties of Iris

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20 members have or want this plant for trade.

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under 6 in. (15 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

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

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

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

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Extra early (EE)


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
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:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Awards (if applicable):
Unknown - Tell us

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By jody
Thumbnail #1 of Iris reticulata by jody

By Toxicodendron
Thumbnail #2 of Iris reticulata by Toxicodendron

By wallaby1
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By GardenGuyKin
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Thumbnail #7 of Iris reticulata by lupinelover

There are a total of 23 photos.
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10 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On Mar 11, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Flowers may be purple, blue-violet, true blue, ivory, or bicolored.

Fall planted bulbs all bloom well the first spring and then decline over the next three years or so. They don't naturalize well here in southern New England.

I agree with lokidog that the problem is that this species needs a dry summer rest, while in gardens of eastern N. America plants have to deal with regular summer rainfall (and irrigation). Planting in sharply draining soil may help.

Armitage (in Quebec and Georgia) says that when planted in large numbers, a few bulbs will adapt and multiply.

Flowers are 2-4" tall and bloom in crocus season. After the flower fades, the slender 4-angled leaves rise to 12-18" tall before going summer dormant.

Positive lokidog On Dec 10, 2014, lokidog from Logan, UT wrote:

I'm pretty sure that the problem of these plants not coming up for people is not letting them go dormant and develop buds for the following year. They need to dry out in mid-summer in order to trigger this. In some climates where the rainfall is high, or near automatic sprinklers, this is not possible. But in others be sure to plant in a well-draining soil, and away from sprinklers. These are water-wise plants, though in extremely hot or low rainfall conditions they do need watering in the spring. There are many sources of information out there that are simply wrong - probably because they confuse these iris' with other water loving species (most iris are wetland plants - though the tall bearded or German iris is also a lover of well-drained conditions) The info about not letting them divide and planting them really deep is not a good idea. This weakens the plants and eventually you won't have any. Dividing will not cause the plant not to bloom the next year, as the 'main' bulb will still bloom, the new bulbs will take a while. What the problem here is likely crowding, so dig them up and divide and you should have tons more blooms next spring. An option in areas where the rain is constant, you can try planting in mounds, cover the area with water-proof material, or dig them up, let them dry out for a few weeks - slowly in paper bags, and replant.

This variety is very nice. It bloomed this year starting in Early-March, which is very early for bulbs here. If I was in a more protected spot, it would have been in February.

Neutral narmaj On Oct 24, 2013, narmaj from Deventer
Netherlands (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love these early bloomers, but they don't return for me. I will try the tip of planting them really deep.
NL zone 8a

Positive bonehead On Feb 2, 2010, bonehead from Cedarhome, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Jolly early bloomer. Mine has returned every year and slowly developed into a thick clump (which needs dividing). I have this growing behind a mini daylilly, which hides the spent foliage of the iris well.

Positive Malus2006 On May 3, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I think they are not really an annual - they have hanged around for 3 to 4 years for me now. They are very lovely - look like Siberian iris but with a flair of their own - the leaves looks heavily waxed.

Positive chicochi3 On Mar 2, 2008, chicochi3 from Fayetteville, AR (Zone 6b) wrote:

These bloom for me even earlier than the first daffodils. The first flower of Spring!

Positive wallaby1 On Mar 15, 2006, wallaby1 from Lincoln
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

Iris reticulata the species is said to be treated as an annual, as it often does not return with vigour, some do not return at all. If it is planted too shallowly it will split into several smaller bulbs and take another 7 years to flower.

By planting it 8" deep it will prevent it from dividing, and will continue to flower, but I have found that not all bulbs will regrow. Those that do are a delight.

Positive nevadagdn On Feb 28, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

I don't think there's a reticulata variety I don't like. I've lost track of which one(s) I planted where, so I just enjoy the early spring show.

Positive revclaus On Apr 16, 2003, revclaus from (Judith) Denver, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:

I planted this in a container full of spring flowering bulbs. I'd had no experience with this bulb. I was astonished that they were so beautiful! I'm planning to plant many more this fall.

Positive lupinelover On Apr 2, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

The clumps increase fairly quickly, and make a great show after a couple of years.

The length of bloom depends on the weather conditions: if it remains cool, mine have bloomed for 6 weeks. If the weather turns hot, the flowers can fade in a few days.

Positive jkom51 On Feb 27, 2003, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I planted the variety 'Cantab' of I.reticulata. Foliage is very fine and slender, almost like a Chinese garlic chive. Very short, pale blue blossoms are subtle but lovely.

Positive woodspirit1 On Oct 13, 2002, woodspirit1 from Lake Toxaway, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I liked these little gems from nature because they bloom so early and the individual blooms last about 3 weeks. The leaves are short, if they appear at all, before the blooming.. Then the leaves start growing and can get over 18 inches tall, before they ripen. I found a beautiful pink/lavender selection at Park's and will get a photo when they bloom around here in February.
My soil is quite acid here in the mtns. of NC, but I don't know if that is a requirement.


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

, (4 reports)
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Stamford, Connecticut
Waterbury, Connecticut
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Niles, Illinois
Carmel, Indiana
Barbourville, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Foxboro, Massachusetts
Springfield, Massachusetts
Pinconning, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Florence, Mississippi
Sparks, Nevada
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Clinton Corners, New York
Dallas, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Wellford, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Bryan, Texas
Logan, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Leesburg, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Stanwood, Washington

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