Intermediate Bearded Iris 'Eleanor Roosevelt'


Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Eleanor Roosevelt
Hybridized by Sass-McDade
Registered or introduced: 1933
» View all varieties of Iris


Intermediate Bearded (IB)


18-24 in. (45-60 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:

Medium Purple

Bloom Time:

Early (E)




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Award of Merit

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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


Searcy, Arkansas

Auberry, California

North Fork, California

Denver, Colorado

Meansville, Georgia

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Durham, Maine

Billerica, Massachusetts

Brewster, Massachusetts

Somerville, Massachusetts

Piedmont, Missouri

Robertsville, Missouri

Harlowton, Montana

Auburn, New Hampshire

Browns Mills, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Concord, North Carolina

Thackerville, Oklahoma

Portland, Oregon

Warwick, Rhode Island

Summerville, South Carolina

Greeneville, Tennessee

Chillicothe, Texas

Houston, Texas

Midland, Texas

Round Rock, Texas (2 reports)

Palmyra, Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On May 23, 2014, WarwickDave from Warwick, RI wrote:

My grandmother grew this deep purple beauty in her garden and now I carry on the tradition. It's short stature makes it a great border plant in my garden and it is one of the first irises to bloom, fading just in time for the tall bearded irises to get going. The clumps expand rather quickly and they need dividing fairly often, but that just means I have plenty to give away to friends. Re-bloom, for me is a 50/50 thing. If we have an early spring or an unusually warm fall, the plants will usually get some bloom in before the frosts come. Many years the flowering stems show up just before Halloween and get killed before they can bloom. Even with just the spring flowering, Eleanor Roosevelt is an asset in any garden.


On May 17, 2009, straea from Somerville, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is my first bearded iris to bloom this year, blooming now after a cool spring. It looks lovely near the front of my border. I have it planted with 'Gracchus,' another historic shortish bearded iris. ('Gracchus' has several buds but hasn't bloomed yet.)

I have seven heirloom bearded irises in total and they have withstood impressively harsh conditions, planted on a slope in nearly all-day sun with a searing wind and a tendency for the soil to dry out within a day even after summer storms. They have done beautifully. 'Eleanor's neighbor 'Gracchus' has even bounced back from a borer infestation with almost no interference on my part and is looking healthier than ever. There's a reason these irises are still being grown over 100+ years - if you want irises that succ... read more


On Jan 5, 2009, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Awards: Honorable Mention 1936, Award of Merit 1937


On Dec 20, 2008, DebinSC from Georgetown, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This Iris usually begins blooming in my garden in early Feb. (zone 8). It has bloomed as early as New Years. It reblooms intermittently at best, but seems to do so more often if it has afternoon shade.


On May 11, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

'Eleanor Roosevelt' is one of the earliest of my irises to bloom in spring. It is a dwarf variety, reaching about 14 inches or so. It reblooms in the fall if we don't have an early freeze that ruins the buds. It does not bloom continuously all summer, in case you were wondering.