Iris guide


While the Iris family as a whole is enormous, there are several groups which are commonly seen and easily available, this section highlights some examples.  A very comprehensive list of the members of the iris family has been produced by Anne Blanco-White a former President of the Society and you can download it here

The BIS also operates a seed scheme each year accessible to members and you can download a Sample Seed List

Bearded Iris

For many people these would be the archetypal iris. Over the years they have been classified into several groups; miniature dwarf, standard dwarf, intermediate, border, miniature tall and tall, reflecting their height and the size of the flowers.

The shorter ones tend to bloom earlier and the taller later and the season therefore runs from April to June. They are best grown in sunny well drained position with their rhizomes on the surface where they are baked in the summer sun.

Siberian Iris

Often planted near to water these attractive flowers will also grace any sunny border and will tolerate drier soils once well established.


This small and delicate iris grows from bulbs rather than rhizomes and will appear in the spring having been planted in the autumn, preferably in a well drained and sunny position.

Dutch iris

Also grown from bulbs this Iris is often seen in the florists trade and is available year round as a cut flower. They can be grown like reticulata but flowering in May/June and, of course rather taller.


Often called the 'Yellow Flag' this native of the UK will grow very well in moist soils or shallow water, because it’s so vigorous it’s not often used in gardens unless a wild area is planned.


This is the iris often chosen for growing at the edge of garden ponds not quite as vigorous as the Pseudacorus, but still quite robust.