Blood Iris Iris sanguinea

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
blood-red iris


The Iris sanguinea, commonly known as the Blood Iris, is a flowering plant with a striking and elegant appearance. It typically bears showy flowers that range in color from deep purplish-blue to violet, often with a splash of white or yellow and darker veining on their falls, which are the downward-pointing segments of the blooms. The blossoms are composed of three upright petals known as standards, and three falls that gracefully hang down, providing a contrasting display of shape and color. The foliage of the Blood Iris is notable for its slender, sword-shaped leaves that emerge from a creeping rhizome, which is an underground stem allowing the plant to spread. These long, linear leaves are bright green, giving the plant a lush, grass-like background which nicely complements and supports the height of the flowers when they are in bloom. The Blood Iris has a distinct flowering period during which it reveals its full beauty, and outside of blooming season, the plant remains visually appealing due to its vibrant, verdant foliage. Together with the flowers, the leaves of the Blood Iris combine to create a plant of exquisite aesthetic charm, with a form that is both striking in solitude and impressive when planted in mass in a garden setting.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Blood Iris, Siberian Iris, Japanese Iris

    • Common names

      Iris sanguinea var. yezoensis, Limniris sanguinea, Xiphion sanguineum.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Iris sanguinea, commonly known as Siberian iris, is considered to have a low level of toxicity to humans. However, if ingested, parts of the plant can cause mild stomach upset. The rhizomes are more likely to contain irritants and can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea if consumed. Handling the plant can sometimes lead to skin irritation due to the presence of certain chemicals, so it is advisable to wear gloves if sensitive.

    • To pets

      Siberian iris is also known to have a low level of toxicity to pets. While it is generally not considered highly poisonous, ingestion of the rhizomes or other parts of the plant can cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset in animals, leading to symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. As with humans, it's prudent to prevent pets from ingesting the plant to avoid these potential adverse reactions.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Landscape Beautification: Iris sanguinea, commonly known as Blood Iris, adds striking color and form to gardens and landscapes with its vibrant hues and intricate flower structures.
    • Habitat Creation: Blood Iris provides habitat and food for various pollinators, including bees and butterflies, which are essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems.
    • Soil Erosion Control: The root systems of Blood Iris can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion in garden settings or near bodies of water.
    • Cultural Significance: Iris sanguinea has cultural and historic importance in many societies where it is used in art, literature, and symbolism, often representing wisdom, hope, trust, and valor.
    • Low Maintenance: Blood Iris is known for being a hardy plant that requires minimal upkeep once established, making it a convenient choice for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Water Features: Blood Iris is suitable for planting around ponds, water gardens, and other wetland areas, contributing to an aesthetically pleasing aquatic environment.
    • Seasonal Interest: The plant offers seasonal interest with its attractive blooms in late spring to early summer, and its foliage can add texture to the garden throughout the growing season.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Iris sanguinea has been traditionally used to reduce inflammation.
    • Diuretic: It is said to help promote urine production, potentially aiding in the removal of waste from the body.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Iris sanguinea can be used for natural dye extraction; the roots may yield a black dye when mixed with iron mordants.
    • The fibers of the plant can be used in traditional Japanese textile arts for creating woven crafts and paper products.
    • The plant's stout leaves can be used as natural thatching material for small insect hotels or birdhouses to provide shelter and blend in with garden aesthetics.
    • Floriculture enthusiasts use the bright and attractive flowers of Iris sanguinea as a source of pollen for hybridizing with other iris species.
    • As a natural insect repellent, compounds from Iris sanguinea can be applied to gardens to deter certain pests without using harsh chemicals.
    • The robust nature of this plant makes it ideal for use in erosion control on riverbanks or slopes, helping to stabilize soil with its root system.
    • The distinctive forms of Iris sanguinea make it a subject for photographers and painters who capture the essence of botanical diversity.
    • The plant serves as a learning tool in botanical courses to study the unique morphology of the Iris family.
    • Iris sanguinea is utilized in flower arranging and Ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement), emphasizing seasonal and structural discipline.
    • Water features and ponds often incorporate this plant as a marginal aquatic plant, adding color and life to artificial and natural water bodies.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Blood Iris is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Blood Iris is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Hope: Iris sanguinea is commonly associated with hope, representing the expectation for positive outcomes and future happiness.
    • Wisdom: This plant is symbolic of wisdom, reflecting intelligence and the ability to make sound decisions.
    • Trust: The iris embodies trust, signifying belief in someone or something and connoting reliability and faithfulness.
    • Purity: The iris is often considered a symbol of purity due to its bright and clear colors, suggesting innocence and cleanliness.
    • Courage: In some traditions, the iris stands for courage, representing the bravery needed to face challenges head-on.
    • Royalty: Historically, the iris has been connected to royalty and noble virtues, partly because of its regal appearance.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Blood Iris prefers consistent moisture during the growing season. Water the plant thoroughly, ensuring water reaches the roots, approximately once a week with about 1 gallon of water. Increase the frequency during hot, dry spells to keep the soil from drying out completely. In the winter, reduce watering to prevent waterlogging as the plant enters dormancy. Always water at the base, avoiding wetting the foliage which can lead to disease.

  • sunLight

    Blood Iris thrives best in full sun to partial shade. The ideal spot for this plant is in an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. Some afternoon shade is beneficial in extremely hot climates to prevent leaf scorch.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Blood Iris prefers a temperate climate and can typically survive in temperatures between 20 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature range for growing Blood Iris is from 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure the plant is protected from frost, which can damage the rhizomes and foliage.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Blood Iris to remove spent flower stalks and encourage new growth, ensuring this is done after flowering has finished. Dead or damaged leaves should be trimmed away to keep the plant healthy and to prevent disease. Pruning is typically done annually, in late summer or early fall.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Siberian Iris prefers a well-draining soil rich in organic matter with a pH of slightly acidic to neutral, around 5.5 to 7. A good soil mix might include loamy garden soil, compost, and peat with a layer of mulch to retain moisture.

  • plantRepotting

    Siberian Iris typically does not require frequent repotting and can be left undisturbed for several years. Repotting is usually done every 3 to 4 years or when clumps become overcrowded.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Siberian Iris is not particularly humidity-sensitive but does best in environments where the humidity is moderate to high, similar to its natural damp meadow habitat.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, cool temps, and moist, well-draining soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sun to part shade, in rich soil, keep moist.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Iris sanguinea, commonly known as Siberian iris, begins its life cycle as a seed which, when sown in soil and given the proper conditions of light, temperature, and moisture, germinates and develops into a seedling. As the seedling grows, it develops into a mature plant with a rhizomatous root system that stores nutrients and ensures perennial growth. During the growing season, strap-like leaves emerge, followed by the formation of flower buds that bloom into the characteristic showy, purple flowers of the Siberian iris in late spring to early summer. After pollination, which is often aided by insects, the flowers develop into seed capsules containing multiple seeds, which eventually dry and split open to release the seeds for dispersal. The plant then enters a period of dormancy, typically in the winter, where above-ground foliage dies back, and the plant conserves energy within its rhizomes. With the return of favorable conditions in spring, the cycle begins anew with the emergence of new growth from the rhizomes.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Iris sanguinea, commonly known as Blood Iris, is by division. This typically is done after the flowering period has finished, which is usually in the late summer to early fall months. To propagate by division, gardeners dig up the iris clumps and gently separate the rhizomes, ensuring that each division has at least one or two leaf fans. The divisions are then replanted in well-draining soil, spaced about 12 to 24 inches apart (30 to 61 cm), and at a depth where the top of the rhizome is slightly exposed to the sun. It is essential to water the newly planted divisions well to help establish them. This method is favored because it also rejuvenates the plant and helps to stimulate blooming for the following year.