English Iris Iris latifolia

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


The plant known as English iris boasts striking, colorful flowers that are the hallmark of the genus. Each bloom typically exhibits a distinctive combination of deep blue and purple hues, often with a touch of yellow or white at the base of the petals. The petals themselves are arranged in a classic iris form, with three upright or slightly arching "standard" petals and three downward-curving "fall" petals which may display delicate veining or spotting for added visual interest. The foliage of the English iris comprises long, slender leaves that resemble thick blades of grass. These leaves are bright green and can have a slightly glossy appearance, emerging from a central base that forms a fan-like structure. The leaves can sometimes be seen arching gracefully as they grow. English irises typically produce their flowers atop stiff, upright stalks that emerge from among the leaves. These stalks, or stems, culminate in one or several buds which unfold into the characteristic intricate blossoms. After the flowering season, the plant may produce a seed pod, which will ultimately dry and crack open to release the seeds contained within. Overall, the appearance of English iris is characterized by its elegant and showy flowers, along with its lush, sword-like foliage, which together create a plant that is both aesthetically pleasing and a favorite among gardeners for adding bursts of color to a landscape.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      English Iris, British Iris, Butterfly Iris, Dutch Iris, Broad-leaved Iris

    • Common names

      Iris latifolia, Xiphion latifolium, Xiphion vulgare, Iris xiphioides, Iris anglica.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      English Iris is considered mildly toxic to humans if ingested. The rhizomes (rootstocks) contain irritant substances which can cause digestive upset such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Consumption of large quantities may result in more severe symptoms.

    • To pets

      English Iris is also toxic to pets, including dogs and cats. Consuming parts of the plant, particularly the rhizomes, can lead to symptoms such as salivation, vomiting, drooling, lethargy, and diarrhea. In severe cases, ingestion may potentially cause gastrointestinal irritation and even central nervous system issues. If you suspect your pet has ingested English Iris, contact a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Iris latifolia, commonly known as the English iris, adds aesthetic appeal to gardens and landscapes with its striking blue or purple flowers.
    • Biodiversity Support: English iris provides nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects, supporting local biodiversity.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, English iris requires minimal care, making it suitable for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Drought Resistance: It is fairly drought-resistant, allowing it to thrive in various climates without requiring excessive watering.
    • Soil Erosion Control: The root system of English iris helps stabilize soil and prevent erosion, particularly when planted on slopes or in areas prone to soil loss.
    • Versatility in Landscaping: English iris can be used in a variety of garden designs, including borders, water gardens, and as accent plants.

  • 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

    • The rhizomes of English Iris can be used to make natural dyes, providing a range of colors from yellows to browns depending on the mordant used.
    • English Iris fibers can be utilized in papermaking, adding texture and visual interest to handcrafted paper products.
    • The plant has potential use in phytoremediation, a process where plants help remove toxins from the soil or water in a contaminated area.
    • Gardeners sometimes use the crushed dried rhizomes of English Iris as a natural pest repellent to deter rabbits and deer.
    • Due to its intricate flower pattern, the English Iris is popular among artists and photographers for practicing botanical illustration and nature photography.
    • The seeds of English Iris can be used in decorative arts, such as making jewelry or as embellishments in creative fashion designs.
    • English Iris can serve as a natural "marker" plant in gardens as it blooms in early summer, signaling the time for certain gardening tasks.
    • The robust nature of the English Iris allows it to be used in erosion control applications on slopes or areas prone to water runoff.
    • Its leaves can be used in weaving or basketry as part of a natural craft material palette for artisans.
    • Garden designers often utilize English Iris to create color-themed garden sections or to provide striking contrasts with other flowering plants.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The English Iris is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The English Iris is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Faith: Iris latifolia, commonly known as the English iris, is often associated with faith, reflecting belief and trust in something beyond oneself.
    • Hope: This vibrant flower can symbolize hope, representing optimism for the future.
    • Wisdom: In some floral languages, the iris is believed to convey wisdom, possibly due to its regal appearance and history of being featured in ancient royal symbols.
    • Courage: The English iris may also stand for courage, inspiring bravery and the determination to face challenges head on.
    • Purity: With its striking and clean appearance, Iris latifolia can represent purity and innocence.
    • Royalty: The elegance of the iris has made it symbolic of royalty and majesty, which is fitting for a flower often found in royal gardens and emblems.

Every week
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The English Iris, or Iris latifolia, should be watered deeply once a week during its growing season, ensuring the soil is thoroughly moistened. The amount of water needed can be approximately one to two gallons, depending on the size of the plant and the environmental conditions. During the dormant season, reduce watering to every two weeks or less, depending on rain, as this plant prefers drier conditions when it is not actively growing. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions. Always water at the base of the plant to avoid getting water on the leaves, which can promote disease.

  • sunLight

    The English Iris thrives best in full sun to partial shade, with at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. The ideal spot for planting the English Iris would be in an area that receives morning sun and afternoon shade, or dappled sunlight throughout the day, especially in regions with very hot summers.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The English Iris is hardy and can tolerate a temperature range from about 35°F during winter to up to 90°F in the summer. The ideal growing temperatures for the plant are between 55°F and 75°F. Avoid exposing the plant to temperatures below freezing for prolonged periods to prevent damage.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the English Iris involves removing dead or faded flowers and cutting back the flower stalks to the base after blooming is finished. This should be done yearly to encourage new growth and maintain plant health. The best time for pruning is late summer or autumn, after the flowering period.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    English Iris (Iris latifolia) prefers a well-draining soil mix with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.5 to 7. A good mix would be loamy garden soil, compost, and coarse sand. Ensure adequate drainage to prevent root rot.

  • plantRepotting

    English Iris generally does not require frequent repotting and can be repotted every three to four years or when the clump becomes overcrowded. Divide rhizomes during repotting to encourage growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    English Iris does not require high humidity levels and can thrive in the ambient outdoor humidity. It is important to ensure good air circulation around the plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light and cool temperatures for English Iris.

    • Outdoor

      Plant English Iris in full sun and well-draining soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Iris latifolia, commonly known as English iris, begins its life cycle when seeds germinate in late winter to early spring, often after a period of cold stratification which breaks seed dormancy. Seedlings emerge and establish themselves, developing into plants with characteristic sword-like leaves. Throughout the spring, the plants grow and store energy in underground rhizomes. By mid to late summer, the English iris produces showy purple-blue flowers, which are pollinated by insects, leading to the formation of seed capsules. After flowering and seed set, the plant goes into dormancy during the fall and winter months. The rhizomes survive the cold season to produce new growth the following spring, repeating the life cycle, while the seeds disperse to give rise to new individuals.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The most popular method of propagation for Iris latifolia, commonly known as the English iris, is through division. This is typically done in late summer to early fall after the flowering period has ended. To propagate by division, gardeners should carefully dig up the rhizomes, which are the horizontal stem structures of the plant, found just below the soil surface. They should then be separated by breaking or cutting them apart, ensuring that each division has at least one fan of leaves and a portion of the rhizome. These divisions can then be replanted at a depth of about 4 inches (10 centimeters), spaced approximately 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) apart to allow room for growth. The divided rhizomes should be placed in well-draining soil and watered thoroughly to encourage root development.