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Plant of the month - Iris Reticulata

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

How would you combine hardiness with sophisticated, yet understated beauty, with vibrant colour? It’s easy: include Iris reticulata bulbs in your garden design!

These dwarf, rhizomatic perennials will flower from late winter to early spring: deep violet petals have a central yellow ridge with narrow, erect leaves and grow to about 15cm in height. Their small size allows them to keep snug during cold spells and protects them from strong winds, which are typical of fenlands and Cambridge.

Their size and deep purple hues make them an ideal companion to daffodils, forsythias or the wilder winter aconites, with the deep purple making a striking well against yellows. They work well in sunny borders but planting them in pots makes them a good addition to any patio or balcony to add colour and nourishment to insects and pollinators, and raising them up makes them easier to appreciate their delicate structure.

The rhizomes should be planted about 5-10 cm apart at twice their own depth in a sunny spot; you can then propagate them each year by dividing the bulbs from mid-summer to early autumn. It is advisable to wear gloves when handling them and like many bulbs their their toxicity may cause discomfort not only to humans, but to dogs and cats too.


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