Danford iris Iris danfordiae

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


Iris danfordiae, commonly known as the Danford iris, is a striking plant primarily recognized for its vibrant, yellow flowers. The bloom of the Danford iris typically exhibits a deep, golden hue and is often characterized by a soft, almost velvety texture on the petals. The flower itself is shaped like a typical iris, with three upright petals called "standards" and three outer petals, known as "falls," that curve downwards. These falls often display a delicate, noticeable veining or spotting pattern which enhances the flower's allure. The bright color of the blooms contrast beautifully with the dark green, grass-like leaves that form a dense, clumping foliage at the base of the flower stalks. The leaves are narrow and long, emanating directly from the base of the plant, creating a tufted appearance. The Danford iris brings an early splash of color to gardens, often being one of the first irises to bloom as warmer weather approaches.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Danford Iris, Dwarf Iris

    • Common names

      Xiphion danfordiae, Iridodictyum danfordiae

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as Danford iris (Iris danfordiae) is not known to be highly toxic to humans. However, like many members of the Iris family, it may contain compounds that can cause irritation or an upset stomach if ingested. The rhizomes (bulb like structures) are usually the most problematic part and can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea if ingested in large amounts. Handling the plant may also cause skin irritation in some individuals. It is always recommended to avoid ingestion of any parts of ornamental plants due to potential toxicity.

    • To pets

      The Danford iris (Iris danfordiae) can be toxic to pets if ingested. The rhizomes and other parts of the plant contain irritants that can lead to gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea, in animals such as cats and dogs. Pets may also experience drooling, lethargy, or abdominal pain. It is important to keep pets away from the plant and seek veterinary care if you suspect your pet has ingested any part of it.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      4 inches (10 cm)

    • Spread

      6 inches (15 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Early Bloom: Iris danfordiae is one of the first flowers to bloom in spring, providing early season color and signaling the end of winter.
    • Attracts Pollinators: Bees and other pollinators are attracted to its bright yellow flowers, which helps support local ecosystems.
    • Low Maintenance: This plant is relatively easy to care for, requiring minimal attention once established in an appropriate setting.
    • Drought Tolerance: It is capable of withstanding periods of low water, making it suitable for xeriscaping or dry climate gardens.
    • Landscape Design: Its vibrant color and unique flower shape make it a desirable plant for rock gardens, borders, and as a ground cover.
    • Propagation: Iris danfordiae can be propagated easily through bulb division, allowing gardeners to multiply their plants and share with others.
    • Compact Growth: Its small size makes it an excellent choice for containers or small gardens where space is limited.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Iris danfordiae bulbs can be crushed to extract juice that, when mixed with vinegar, may serve as a metal polish for tarnished bronze or copper.
    • The crushed bulbs of Iris danfordiae can also be used as a natural adhesive for small crafts due to their sticky nature when moistened.
    • Dried Iris danfordiae petals are occasionally used in potpourri mixes to provide a pop of yellow color and a subtle, earthy scent to the blend.
    • Gardeners sometimes plant Iris danfordiae in rows or patterns to create living, seasonal artwork due to their vibrant and distinctive coloration.
    • The cut flowers of Iris danfordiae may serve as a natural dye for fabrics, yielding soft yellow hues when properly prepared.
    • In some cultures, Iris danfordiae flowers are used in ceremonial decorations, providing aesthetic appeal with their unique appearance.
    • The robust nature of Iris danfordiae bulbs allows them to be used in educational settings, demonstrating bulb growth and plant development to students.
    • The strong, vertical growth habit of Iris danfordiae can be used by landscape designers to create visual depth in garden compositions.
    • In arts, the Iris danfordiae's distinctive shape and color can be used by botanical illustrators and photographers as subjects to showcase the beauty of spring-blooming flora.
    • Iris danfordiae plants can act as a seasonal indicator for gardeners, as their blooming period signals the onset of optimal planting time for certain summer crops.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Danford Iris is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Danford Iris is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Hope: The Iris danfordiae blooms early in the spring, often pushing through the last of the winter's snow, symbolizing hope and the anticipation of good things to come.
    • Purity: With its bright, yellow flowers, the plant is often associated with purity and innocence similar to other brightly colored flowers.
    • Courage: The bold appearance of the bloom is emblematic of bravery and the courage to be yourself.

Every 2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Danford iris generally requires moderate watering during the growing season. It's preferable to water this plant deeply once a week, providing about 1-2 gallons of water per session to ensure the soil is moist but not saturated. Overwatering can lead to bulb rot, so it's essential to allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions. During the dormant season, after the leaves have died back, reduce watering significantly to prevent the bulbs from rotting in too-damp conditions.

  • sunLight

    The Danford iris thrives best in full sun to partial shade conditions. An ideal spot for this plant would be where it can receive at least six hours of sunlight daily, enhancing its bloom production. However, if you're in a region with extremely hot summers, providing some afternoon shade will help protect the plant from intense heat.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Danford iris prefers temperate climates and can typically withstand winter lows down to about 5°F, though they perform best when winter temperatures don't drop below 20°F. The ideal growth temperature for the Danford iris is between 50°F and 75°F. During hot summer days, temperatures exceeding 86°F might stress the plant, so providing some shade during the hottest part of the day can be beneficial.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning of the Danford iris is typically minimal and involves removing any dead or faded flowers to promote the growth of additional blooms. After blooming has finished, leave the foliage in place to allow the plant to store energy for the next season; the leaves should only be cut back once they yellow in the fall. Pruning is generally done annually, post-flowering.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mix for Danford iris (Iris danfordiae) is well-draining, loose and fertile, with a mixture of loam, sand, and organic matter. The pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, within a range of 6.0 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    Danford iris typically does not require frequent repotting and can be repotted every 3 to 5 years if they become overcrowded or the soil becomes depleted.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Danford iris prefer a moderate humidity level, although they are quite adaptable and do not require specific humidity conditions as long as they are planted in well-draining soil.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Grow in bright light, with cool temperatures and shallow planting.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun or part shade, in well-drained soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Iris danfordiae, also known as Danford iris, begins its growth cycle as a bulb, which lies dormant underground during the summer. In the autumn, root growth commences, with the plant's foliage starting to appear above ground before winter. The Danford iris blooms in early spring, displaying its characteristic bright yellow flowers. After flowering, the plant goes through pollination, which can be facilitated by insects, leading to the formation of seed pods. Once seeds develop, they are dispersed in late spring or early summer, potentially giving rise to new plants. The foliage dies back after seeding, and the bulb enters a period of dormancy until the cycle restarts in the autumn.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The most popular method of propagation for the Iris danfordiae, commonly known as Danford iris, is by dividing its bulbs. This process is ideally done in late summer after the foliage has died back, or in the fall around September or October. To propagate, carefully dig up the clumps of bulbs and gently separate them by hand, taking care not to damage the bulbs. Each division should have at least one growth point or shoot. Replant the separated bulbs promptly at a depth of approximately 3 inches (or about 7.5 centimeters), spacing them around 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 centimeters) apart in well-draining soil that receives full sun to partial shade. Water the newly planted bulbs well to help establish their roots. The Danford iris will typically flower in the following spring.