Facts About Purple Iris


Purple irises (Iris), like other colors of iris, are herbaceous perennials widely distributed across North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the northern parts of Africa. The iris genus contains between 200 to 300 varieties, all of which add vivid color to a garden and require little maintenance.

Purple iris in bloom. image by "Iris" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: WhitA (Whit Andrews) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.


Common purple iris varieties include the lilac-colored Variegata, also called the Dalmatian iris, and the purple-black Before the Storm, a fragrant, mid-season bloomer. Other popular purples include the Dusky Challenger and the Purple Sensation.


Purple irises are classified as either bulbous or rhizome irises. Bulbous irises usually produce smaller flowers than the rhizome irises.


Purple irises are widely adaptable and grow well in sunny locations with moist, well-drained soil. They generally thrive in USDA zones 3 to 10.


Purple irises vary in height from as short as 8 inches to as tall as 5 feet. Most iris varieties bloom for two to three weeks in the late spring to early summer.


Purple irises are commonly used for borders in perennial gardens and as container plants. Irises are frequently used as cut flowers in colorful table arrangements.

Fun Facts

The purple iris is the state flower of Tennessee. The iris flower was named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow.


  • Tennessee State Flower
  • Iris: Purple Sensation
  • Irises

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About this Author

Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for more than 10 years. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on various websites. Carson holds master’s degrees in both writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working toward her doctorate degree.