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Tall Bearded Iris 'Wabash'


Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Wabash
Hybridized by Williamson
Registered or introduced: 1936
» View all varieties of Iris


Tall Bearded (TB)


24-36 in. (60-90 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

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Midseason (M)



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):

Dykes Memorial Medal

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


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

Arbuckle, California

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Denver, Colorado(2 reports)

Manchester, Connecticut

Athens, Georgia

Gainesville, Georgia

Boise, Idaho

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Macy, Indiana

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Inwood, Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Keosauqua, Iowa

Barbourville, Kentucky

South China, Maine

Hagerstown, Maryland

Brewster, Massachusetts

Somerville, Massachusetts

Blanchard, Michigan

Richland, Michigan

Deer River, Minnesota

Alton, Missouri

Robertsville, Missouri

Shepherd, Montana

Elba, New York

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Lawton, Oklahoma

Gold Hill, Oregon

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Pickens, South Carolina

Greeneville, Tennessee

Hixson, Tennessee

Readyville, Tennessee

Harker Heights, Texas

Hampton, Virginia

Lanexa, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Alderwood Manor, Washington

Brier, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Tacoma, Washington

Sheridan, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 30, 2016, Ancolie88 from Innsbruck,
Austria (Zone 6b) wrote:

I am happy to have this one here in my garden, because it blooms reliable every year again here in the rainy climate in Austria Tyrol.


On Jun 16, 2013, Irissimo from London/Kent ,
United Kingdom wrote:

Wabash bloomed for me this year.
I wish that the rhizomes would increase as much as they do in the warmer climes of the US .It has a beautiful bloom -nice colour and shape and is born on a strong straight stem .It's a wonderful historic Iris worthy of any garden .


On Nov 11, 2010, rubysage from Colorado Springs, CO wrote:

I inherited my grandmother's iris garden-one with many heirloom varieties. This is one of my favorites.


On Sep 3, 2010, kellydz from Galesburg, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

I discovered this beauty growing in a corner bed of my new house. I had no idea what type it was before coming to DG and having several helpful members assist me in identifying my Wabash. Purple-based foliage is the key! I had to divide mine this summer because it was so huge that the middle was beginning to rot. Every division grew well. It also was spot-free when a newer hybrid planted 2 feet away got infected with iris leaf spot. Really beautiful plant.


On Jun 13, 2010, wakingdream from Allentown, PA wrote:

'Wabash' was given to me by a friend. His neighbor was going to throw it away, which is how he got it. It has a striking beauty in my iris patch, makes the eye vibrate. The depth of the purple color of the falls is unmatched. Blossoms seem to last a long time. The capacity to spread is better than most of the other bearded irises I grow.

While researching information, I found that there is another iris closely resembling 'Wabash', but it can be discounted for the lack of the purple shading at the base of the fans.

I hope to never be without this May blooming beauty.


On Feb 10, 2010, 1913cat from Robertsville, MO (Zone 5b) wrote:

HM 1937 AM 1938


On Jun 13, 2009, straea from Somerville, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is the most amazingly vigorous historic bearded iris I've ever grown. In abandoned gardens in my city, it has taken over entire swaths of ground; some of the clumps are several square feet. In my own garden, it's grown from a very small rhizome to a 2 foot wide clump since I planted it 21 months ago. This spring was its best yet, sending up three bloom stalks loaded with its distinctive flowers. The only down side, to me, is that it's the only historic bearded iris I've yet had to stake in my windy garden, as its bloom stalks are so tall compared to the main clump that they have a tendency to flop to the side if even one flower is open on them. However, it is so beautiful that I am perfectly willing to make this small effort. It's no wonder it is one of the most popular irises of... read more


On May 10, 2009, 305940 from Covington, GA wrote:

Grows like crazy here! Early, Mid, and late season.
One of my favorites


On Mar 8, 2007, girlndocs from Tacoma, WA wrote:

Received a piece of rhizome from a friend who said it was "a purple and white iris". Planted it in February and was pleasantly surprised with a tall bloom stalk that year (in partial shade). The flowers have a very pleasing crisp shape that the contrasting colors add too. It makes me smile.


On Jun 8, 2006, constance22 from Brewster, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Grows like a weed here.


On Mar 5, 2006, TBGDN from (Zone 5a) wrote:

WABASH: 1936, TB, E. B. Williamson: I had some difficulty researching this in the AIS Database as copied and pasted here in quotes and parenthesis: "(AWARD)/1939TB @1936/WILLIAMSON, M/40"/WHT S; BLUE F BORDERED WHT TD1940; A1938C; H1937C" DM 1940)" I feel honored it was named the same as the city of Wabash, Indiana, Wabash County, Indiana and the fabled Wabash River flowing through the state. Strong growth and bloom habits. Great colors!


On Dec 17, 2005, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Awards: American Iris Society Dykes Medal 1940


On Jan 19, 2004, nearindy from McCordsville, IN wrote:

Blooms better in partial shade than most. Small blooms by today's standards and historic, tailored form, but the vibrant colors make it stand out, even among modern cultivars. Recessive amoena, pod and pollen fertile.


On Jun 11, 2003, carolann from Auburn, NH wrote:

Williamson 1936 - historic iris, white self with purple falls - falls have white edging, can grow to over 40"