The Dwarf Crested Iris

May 19, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. One of the native irises that I found listed in the AC Moore Herbarium’s SC Plant Atlas is Iris cristata – dwarf crested iris.   The Herbarium map shows its having been collected in Richland and Kershaw and upwards –probably a good indication that those of us above the fall line could be successfully growing this plant in our garden. Unlike most irises, Iris cristata prefers a slightly shaded spot in well-drained, rich soil -- perfect for the edge of a naturalized area. When happy, it will act as an ephemeral ground cover and reward you in the spring with a five inch high carpet of green leaves followed by miniature flowers that are available in a variety of blues and even a rare white. One selection is a naturally occurring tetraploid – Powder Blue Giant – with flowers three inches across.