Best Companion Plants for Bearded Iris
"Last August I planted some Bearded Iris in two very different spots on my property - one bed is very formal, and the other is more of a wild & natural look. I chose to plant shades of blue in the formal bed and multiple colors in the natural area and was delighted by how beautiful they looked when they flowered this spring. Now I would like to make them the focal point of these gardens, both of which are quite new. Can you recommend some perennial plants that may complement my Bearded Iris plantings?" - Stacey B., Vineland, New Jersey
Great question! Whenever a question of good companion plants arises, we love to draw inspiration from our favorite gardens. Read on to learn what makes these Bearded Iris companion plants perfect for your beautiful and easy-care garden.
Our Top Picks For Tall Bearded Iris Companions
When considering growing Bearded Iris and ideal companion plants, here are some helpful tips to think about:
- If you're using one variety Bearded Iris as a focal point, it will be important to know when it blooms and if it reblooms.
- Choose a selection of flowers that will bloom before, with, and following your Bearded Iris flowers to extend the flowering season in your garden.
- Consider the placement of flowers for a more structured, formal look or a more natural, casual effect.
- Consider the look of plant foliage, as well as plant blooms. Bearded Iris have unique, sword-shaped foliage that brings an elegant texture to the garden.
- Harmonize with similar colors, or contrast with complementary colors.
- We gerenally recommend placing taller plants behind your Bearded Iris, and shorter plants in front.
Oriental Poppies offer deep clear red flowers -- the one color Bearded Iris do not have. Tall and showy, with similar needs, they are great companions. Use white flowering Oriental Poppies for a calming effect, red for a pop of color, or peach colored flowers for a soft look. They will die back in summer, so plant other perennials in front of them to hide the dying foliage. Plant Oriental Poppy Seeds or Perennial Oriental Poppies.
Lupines will help create a lovely wildflower look to your Iris, with tall, colorful stems of long lasting flowers. Lupine are available in both warm and cool colors, with flowers blooming in spring. Plant Lupine Seeds or Lupine Plants.
Alliums give a sculptural element to the garden, and are available in several heights, from short to very tall. They are easy to grow and long lasting pollinator favorites. For a formal look, choose Allium of medium height, and plant them in a linear or defined way. In an informal setting, tall Allium planted throughout a perennial garden make great garden features with a whimsical feel. Fall-planted Allium Bulbs are available in pink, blue, white, yellow, or classic purple.
The lovely tall wands of Larkspur (Delphinium) are excellent choices to grow with Bearded Iris. Shades of purples, blues, pinks, and white offer lovely accompaniment for a late spring display. Plant Rocket Larkspur Seeds or Perennial Delphinium.
Baptisia, also known as Indigo, is a great choice in shades of yellows and blues. Try yellow Baptisia with white, gold or blue Iris. Blue flowering Baptisia is lovely with Bearded Iris in blues,purples, or other contrasting colors. Plant Indigo Seeds or Baptisia Plants.
Peonies are one of the most well-known spring blooming perennials. With dark green foliage and blossoms that open to a lush, fragrant, and long lasting flower, Peonies are an excellent Bearded Iris companion. While slow to establish, these long-lived plants will live for decades in the right conditions. See our selection of bareroot Peonies.
Daylilies are an easy-to-grow choice to pair with Bearded Iris. These plants also have long, strappy foliage that help to fill in a garden. Some even rebloom along with the Bearded Iris. See our current selection of Daylilies.
Salvia will add a colorful border to your Iris garden with its colorful, and long lasting flowers that attract a parade of pollinators. Typically available with dark purple or red flowers. In a formal setting, a nice border can be created, if informal, plant them in groups of 3’s or 5’s for a more natural look. Plant Salvia, also known as Sage.
More Bearded Iris!
With their wide array of colors, sizes and bloom times, mixing more Bearded Iris into your existing bed can increase the season of blooms with a kaleidoscope of colors, patterns, and textures. If you have a reblooming variety, remember to add in some late season bloomers like Agastache, Aster, and Salvia.
Shop Bearded Iris
The silky, elegant flowers of ‘Twist of Sheree’ Reblooming Bearded Iris will bloom first in mid-spring, and again at summer’s end, contrasting nicely with your spri...Learn MoreTwist of Sheree Reblooming Bearded Iris Twist of Sheree Reblooming Bearded Iris Iris germanica 'Twist of Sheree'$11.99 Sale $8.99Per Bag of 1
Tall and handsome ‘Air of Mystery’ Bearded Iris is an early spring wonder that will amaze and delight. Tightly ruffled standards of dusky tan deepen to soft lavender at t...Learn MoreAir of Mystery Bearded Iris Air of Mystery Bearded Iris Iris germanica 'Air of Mystery'$9.32 Sale $6.99Per Bag of 1
‚Speed Limit‚ Reblooming Bearded Iris captures the eye with its bold, deep-blue color. Its lower petals are each adorned with a pristine white spot directly in the center...Learn MoreSpeed Limit Reblooming Bearded Iris Speed Limit Reblooming Bearded Iris Iris germanica 'Speed Limit'$11.99 Sale $8.99Per Bag of 1
‚Sea of Love‚ Reblooming Bearded Iris has icy lavender-blue petals with a contrasting pale yellow beard. These large ruffled flowers bloom in late spring and again in ear...Learn MoreSea of Love Reblooming Bearded Iris Sea of Love Reblooming Bearded Iris Iris germanica 'Sea of Love'$11.99 Sale $8.99Per Bag of 1
‘Mother Earth’ Reblooming Bearded Iris harmonizes in pastel pinks and lavenders with cloud-like white ruffled petals floating above and buttercup yellow beards. Soothing,...Learn MoreMother Earth Reblooming Bearded Iris Mother Earth Reblooming Bearded Iris Iris germanica 'Mother Earth'$11.99 Sale $8.99Per Bag of 1
‘Final Episode’s’ Reblooming Bearded Iris lemon yellow standards (upright petals) flutter gaily over violet-purple falls (downward petals), glazed with a burgundy f...Learn MoreFinal Episode Reblooming Bearded Iris Final Episode Reblooming Bearded Iris Iris germanica 'Final Episode'$11.99 Sale $8.99Per Bag of 1
Sometimes simplicity is high art, and ‘Snappy Dresser’ Bearded Iris is the epitome of beauty with pure lavender-blue blossoms. A warm glow radiates from the center around...Learn MoreSnappy Dresser Bearded Iris Snappy Dresser Bearded Iris Iris germanica 'Snappy Dresser'$9.32 Sale $6.99Per Bag of 1
Reblooming Bearded Iris Ziggy is a unique and fun multi-colored flower. Golden-yellow standard petals contrast wonderfully with magenta and yellow streaked falls. With a yellow beard...Learn MoreZiggy Reblooming Bearded Iris Ziggy Reblooming Bearded Iris Iris germanica 'Ziggy'$11.99 Sale $8.99Per Bag of 1
‚Sugar Blues‚ Reblooming Bearded Iris sparkles in the sun with its wisteria blue petals and white beard. A fragrant iris that blooms in late spring and again in early fal...Learn MoreSugar Blues Reblooming Bearded Iris Sugar Blues Reblooming Bearded Iris Iris germanica 'Sugar Blues'$11.99 Sale $8.99Per Bag of 1
Dangerous Mood Bearded Iris is a blue-lovers delight. Deep velvet-blue ruffled falls (downward petals) are lit by three upright petals (standards) of pure white blushed with indigo b...Learn MoreDangerous Mood Bearded Iris Dangerous Mood Bearded Iris Iris germanica 'Dangerous Mood'$9.32 Sale $6.99Per Bag of 1
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All About Bearded Iris
Bearded Iris (Iris germanica) is a member of the genus, Iris, named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow. As the myth goes, when the gods wanted to communicate with humans, they sent Iris, who arrived with golden wings. As she stepped to earth, colorful flowers sprung forth. It’s almost hard to imagine a better name for this kaliedoscopic species! With thousands of colorful combinations, Bearded Iris is one of the most popular garden perennials. With endless choices of color, texture, pattern, and form, this flower opens the doors for garden creativity.
To communicate clearly about Bearded Iris, it’s helpful to know a little nomenclature.
- There are six petals. The three upward reaching petals are called “standards,” and the three petals that drape downwards, are known as the “falls”.
- The most distinguishing feature of Bearded Iris is their fuzzy "beard" located at the upper base of the falls.
- Bearded Iris grow from rhizomes - bulb-like, tuberous roots, with a fan of elegant sword-shaped leaves.
Bearded Iris comes in several size ranges with differing bloom times.
- Miniature Dwarf Bearded Iris are tiny, ranging in size from 5-15 inches tall. These great for a rock garden or border.
- Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris range from 8-16 inches. These are great with later blooming tulips.
- Intermediate and Border Bearded Iris grow from 16-27 inches.
- Tall Bearded Iris grow from 28-48 inches tall. These blooming from late spring to early summer with large flowers.
Actual bloom times will vary, depending on the weather. Each flowering stem will hold several buds that will come into bloom sequentially, usually lasting 3-5 days. Once it is finished, simply snap it off with your fingers to keep a clean look and to keep more flowers coming. After all the buds have bloomed, cut the stem back near ground level.
Reblooming Bearded Iris
Many new hybrid Bearded Iris are offered as rebloomers. This means the Iris will bloom at its usual bloom time in the spring, and then come into bloom again at the end of the season, towards fall. The plant will grow new fans of leaves, putting up fresh flowering stems. It’s important to note that reblooming is not guaranteed and can be affected by location, sunlight and even the weather.
Tips For Happy, Healthy Bearded Iris
If you have Bearded Iris that are growing and blooming happily, it’s probably because they have:
Full sun: 5-7 hours of sun per day, or very light shade.
Rhizomes are planted just a couple of inches below the soil level, leaving some exposed (unless you are in a very hot climate).
Bearded Iris need fertile, well-drained soil.
Give your rhiozomes plenty of room to grow, as these plants will spread and multiply each year.
Bearded Iris are known for being easy-care, long-lasting perennials. They do best with regular doses of compost or a natural fertilizer.
Once established, Bearded Iris are water-thrifty plants, needing only occasional deep watering. Overwatering can cause the rhizomes to rot.