What to Plant With Iris Plants

Iris plants are herbaceous perennials of the Iridaceae family. Irises are hardy plants characterized by their large, showy flowers and long, narrow leaves. The Iris is named for the goddess of the rainbow, and the flowers bloom in a wide variety of colors. Several plants add contrasting foliage and color when planted with irises in a flowerbed.

Red Columbine

Red columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis) is a branching perennial plant in the buttercup family (Rannunclaceae). This semi-evergreen herb grows up to 30 inches tall and has green to bluish-green compound leaves. Red columbine is known for its showy red and yellow flowers that bloom from February until July. These bell-shaped flowers have both upward spurred petals and spreading sepals. Yellow stamens hang just below the petals. The flowers have backward pointing tubes that attract hummingbirds and long-tongued insects. Red columbine needs moist, rich soil in well-drained locations.

Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberose), also called orange milkweed, is an herbaceous perennial of the Asclepiadaceae family. This bushy plant is commonly grown from seeds and reaches 1 to 1 ½ feet tall. Butterfly milkweed is known for its flat-topped clusters of large, yellowish-orange to bright orange flowers that bloom from May until September. The bright colors attract both hummingbirds and butterflies. Butterfly milkweed prefers sandy, well-drained soils and is drought tolerant.

Swamp Milkweed

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), sometimes called pink milkweed, is an herbaceous perennial that thrives in moist soils. This plant reaches 4 feet in height and is made up of branching stems with flower clusters at the top. The showy, pink to purple blossoms bloom from June through October. Swamp milkweed prefers sunny to partly shady locations and neutral to slightly acidic soil.

Blood Sage

Blood sage (Salvia coccinea), also called scarlet sage and tropical sage, was introduced to North America from Brazil. This southern native is characterized by its widely spaced, loose flowering spikes, which is made up of several whorls of pink or red flowers. Blood sage blooms from February to October. This plant tolerates a variety of soils, including caliche, sandy loam, sand, clay loam and clay.

Scarlet Hedgenettle

Scarlet hedgenettle (Stachys coccinea), also called scarlet betony and Texas betony, is a perennial plant of the mint family (Lamiaceae). This plant has square, stout stems that typically rise to at least 3 feet and are lined with pairs of dark-green leaves. The foliage is aromatic and covered with tiny, soft hairs. Scarlet hedgnettle blooms red flowers from March until October.

Slender False Dragonhead

Slender false dragonhead (Physostegia intermedia), also called spring obedient plant, is a perennial plant in the Lamiaceae family. The plant has a slender, single stem that reaches 1 to 5 feet in height. The large leaves are dense near the bottom, but become more widely spaced and progressively smaller as they move their way up. The funnel-shaped flowers bloom from May through July and are white to lavender with purple streaks. Slender false dragonheads cluster in terminal spikes that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Keywords: what to plant with iris plants, companion plants for irises, what to plant with irises

About this Author

Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for the past decade. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on websites like eHow.com and GardenGuides.com, among others. Carson holds a master’s degrees in writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in psychology.