Tall Bearded Iris 'Indian Chief'


Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Indian Chief
Hybridized by Ayres
Registered or introduced: 1929
» View all varieties of Iris


Tall Bearded (TB)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 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:



Bloom Time:

Early midseason (EM)



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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Malvern, Arkansas

Fremont, California

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Madrid, Iowa

Wichita, Kansas

Durham, Maine

Gardiner, Maine

Hagerstown, Maryland

Hughesville, Maryland

Brewster, Massachusetts

Deer River, Minnesota

Robertsville, Missouri

Shepherd, Montana

Auburn, New Hampshire

Toms River, New Jersey

Vincentown, New Jersey

Roswell, New Mexico

Beacon, New York

Elba, New York

Ithaca, New York

Kingston, New York

Lake Placid, New York

Rocky Point, New York

Concord, North Carolina

Granite Falls, North Carolina

Dayton, Ohio

Bixby, Oklahoma

Gold Hill, Oregon

Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania

Warwick, Rhode Island

Celina, Tennessee

Hixson, Tennessee

Lampasas, Texas

Lindale, Texas

Meridian, Texas

Galax, Virginia

Portsmouth, Virginia

Roanoke, Virginia

Bellingham, Washington

Sheridan, Wyoming

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 5, 2020, alzubide from Amman,
Jordan wrote:

I have this plant and it set seeds in my garden.


On Nov 11, 2015, NJIrisGuy from Toms River, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

This Iris was a stellar performer from the day I planted my first rhizome. Rapid increase and growth. I am so glad I chose to add this Historic TB Iris to my garden. It is really
lovely and photo's don't do it justice.


On Jun 2, 2012, Bhamster from Bellingham, WA wrote:

We have lots of these in our yard. They came with the place, so I figured it must be an older iris. I'm glad to know its name. It is a prolific beauty that makes a lovely complement for other colors.


On May 19, 2012, Irissimo from London/Kent ,
United Kingdom wrote:

Easily the tallest Iris in my iris bed . I love the smokey purple standards on deeper purple falls, born on strong stems that do not bend in the heavy wind and rain.
I see this Iris everywhere .Most of the houses around here were built prewar circa 1935 and so, they are from the original rhizomes - according to the now very elderly inhabitants .
Every time I see a front garden being paved over to accommodate cars I rescue them !


On May 6, 2012, Dave39 from Mount Wolf, PA wrote:

Planted 2 or 3 rhizomes last year in the subsoil clay of the area, with some organic material added to help loosen the soil, and doing fine, new shoots already and many blossoms...a great grower!


On Aug 28, 2011, themikesmom from Concord, NC wrote:

Indian Chief, Ayres, 1929 TB 35" EM Bloomer: is an often seen non-identifiable iris (noid) at many historic farm and victorian garden properties East of the Mississippi river. This Beautiful unique Maroon red and Purple-pink Bi-tone Classic is a super hardy spreader and reproducer that 'thrives in neglect'. It is a one of a kind unique red beauty that everyone that loves tb iris, and not just historics and reds, should have in their garden.
Indian Chief was Created by Dr.Wylie Ayres of Cincinnati, Ohio. Also an Amateur Occultist and Mysticism researcher and gardener/iris breeder and interesting person, he created the 1933 Dykes medal winner 'Coralie'. as well as some other notable iris, such as 'Persia', 'Arizona', 'Tint' O' Tan', 'Cheerio', 'Madrid', 'Meldoric', 'Theodolina', 'Ve... read more


On May 28, 2011, eyrelle from Ithaca, NY wrote:

A strong, reliable grower. Very nice lavender uprights over darker purple falls with a golden beard. A bout with the iris borer greatly reduced my patch, but after cleaning the rhizomes they are coming back nicely this year.


On May 10, 2011, SissieJeep from Roanoke, VA wrote:

I dug mine up from my grandmother's house when she passed and they are now going wild! They bloomed last year from mid-April up until Thanksgiving weekend when the first deep snow got them!


On Jan 28, 2009, Mainer from Durham, ME (Zone 3a) wrote:

Seems very hardy in this zone. I have mine in the raised wooden beds on the east side of the house.


On Nov 11, 2008, hespiris from Kingston, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Indian Chief is an aggressive grower that makes a great clump in just 2-3 years. The colors are great in light shade, as with any 'red'. While it is a beautiful bloom in its own right ~ it is particularly photographic. The detail of the veining is better seen by the camera than the eye.