Japanese Water Iris, Japanese Flag, Russian Iris 'Gracieuse'

Iris ensata

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: ensata (en-SA-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Gracieuse
Synonym:Iris kaempferi
» View all varieties of Iris


Japanese (JI)


24-36 in. (60-90 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:


White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Midseason (MLa)



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:

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Lula, Georgia

South China, Maine

Southold, New York

Madison, Wisconsin

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 2, 2013, themikesmom from Concord, NC wrote:

I believe I have found the Hybridizer and Date for the Iris. It is E. Turbat et Cie [E. Turbat Estates] year of Registration 1926. Turbat Estates Iris were some pretty rare and obscure French iris created by J. Goulchault and Eugene Turbat in the Early 20th Century and they only created about 20 irises, 'Gracieuse' supposedly being the only one still in existence. I believe this to be the same 'Gracieuse' pictured by members here on DG as the picture on IrisParadise's website, where i found it, appears identical. I do not grow this iris nor do I have any expertise or experience with Japanese iris other than about 3 JI cultivars, so I have no knowledge of whether this plant has desirable qualities and genetics although the pics of it appear pretty. I also have no experience ordering iris en... read more


On Mar 9, 2010, pollyk from Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Another one of those unregistered Japanese irises that the Dutch wholesalers sell. What you receive as Gracieuse may be a nice looking iris, or a real dog. Best to always stick with registered irises, and buy from growers. You can check the Japanese iris society webpage to verify they are registered.


On Jun 23, 2008, enya_34 from Madison, WI wrote:

It's my first iris ensata. It came through a very late and particularly cold and wet winter of 2008 here in Madison, WI. I hope it fairs well this winter too. With all the rain we got this spring the blooms were spectacular. I love the fact that it blooms after siberian irises as I grow it in the same area and really love the extended season of color :)