Tall Bearded Iris Iris 'Fern Oakley' (TB)

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


Iris 'Fern Oakley' is a type of tall bearded iris, known for its eye-catching flowers and elegant foliage. The blooms of this iris are particularly striking with their bold coloration and intricate patterns. The flowers are characterized by their frilly and ruffled edges, which give them a luxurious and elaborate appearance. They exhibit a combination of deep and vivid colors, often with a blend of rich purples, pinks, or burgundy, contrasted by lighter shades or streaks running through the petals, lending a dramatic and sophisticated look to the plant. The petals have a velvety texture and are divided into two types: the upright standards and the downward-arching falls, typical of bearded irises. The beard, which is a fuzzy strip in the middle of each fall, is usually brightly colored and stands out against the petals, providing an additional visual interest. The foliage consists of long, sword-shaped leaves that are arranged in a fan-like pattern, emerging from the base of the plant. The leaves are a fresh, vibrant green, which not only frames the flowers beautifully but also adds texture and form to the garden even when the plant is not in bloom. Overall, Iris 'Fern Oakley' is an elegant and showy plant that makes a strong visual impact when in flower.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Tall Bearded Iris, Bearded Iris.

    • Common names

      Iris 'Fern Oakley' (TB)

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Tall Bearded Iris, including the cultivar 'Fern Oakley', is generally considered to have a low level of toxicity to humans. However, certain parts of the plant, particularly the rhizomes (underground stems), can cause irritation if ingested. If a person eats part of a Tall Bearded Iris, they might experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea. Handling the plant, especially the rhizomes, can also cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction in some individuals. Ingestion is not typically fatal, but it is advisable to seek medical attention if symptoms are severe.

    • To pets

      Tall Bearded Iris has the potential to be toxic to pets if ingested. The rhizomes contain irritants that can cause gastrointestinal upset in animals, such as cats and dogs. If a pet consumes part of a Tall Bearded Iris, symptoms may include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or abdominal pain. It is important to prevent pets from chewing on or eating the plant, and if ingestion occurs, contact a veterinarian. While toxicity is usually not deadly, prompt veterinary care can alleviate symptoms and prevent more serious complications.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3 feet (91 cm)

    • Spread

      1 feet (30 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Temperate Northern Hemisphere


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: The Iris 'Fern Oakley' (Tall Bearded Iris) is known for its beautiful flowers that come in striking colors, adding visual interest to any garden.
    • Ease of Cultivation: Tall Bearded Irises are relatively easy to grow and maintain, making them suitable for both experienced and novice gardeners.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, these irises can tolerate periods of drought, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Pollinator Attraction: The vivid blooms attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which are essential for the health of the ecosystem.
    • Seasonal Interest: Tall Bearded Irises provide seasonal interest with their late spring to early summer blooms.
    • Versatility in Landscaping: They can be used in a variety of garden settings, including borders, perennial beds, and as cut flowers in floral arrangements.
    • Disease and Pest Resistance: These plants are often resistant to many common pests and diseases that affect other garden flowers.
    • Propagating Ease: Tall Bearded Irises can be easily propagated through division, allowing gardeners to expand their collection or share with others.

  • 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 'Fern Oakley' petals can be used to create natural dyes for fabric and paper crafts, giving a unique and subtle color derived from the plant's hues.
    • The strong, fibrous leaves of the iris can be woven into baskets or used in other traditional crafting methods for creating small handmade items.
    • Adding the elegant Iris 'Fern Oakley' to a compost pile can introduce beneficial nutrients and organic matter as the plant material breaks down.
    • With their intricate shape, iris flowers can serve as a detailed subject for botanical illustration and artistry, providing inspiration to artists.
    • Dried petals and stems of Iris 'Fern Oakley' can be incorporated into potpourri mixes for a subtle scent and visual appeal.
    • This iris variety can be used in photography as a striking subject for macro photography, showcasing the intricate details of its flowers.
    • The rhizomes of some iris species can be dried and carved into small trinkets or beads, though care should be taken to ensure 'Fern Oakley' is suitable for this use.
    • The unique pattern and shape of iris flowers, like 'Fern Oakley', can inspire designs in clothing and textiles, emulating their natural beauty.
    • Pressed iris flowers can be used in scrapbooking or greeting card decoration, adding a real floral touch to paper crafts.
    • The contrasting colors of the Iris 'Fern Oakley' can be studied for understanding color theory and combinations in landscape design projects.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Iris is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Iris is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Hope: The iris generally symbolizes hope, reflecting the expectation for positive outcomes and future happiness.
    • Faith: Irises are often associated with faith, representing belief in the unseen and trust in the divine or universe.
    • Wisdom: The flower is emblematic of wisdom and cherished for its association with intelligence and knowledge.
    • Courage: Due to its robust nature and regal appearance, the iris conveys a sense of bravery and the ability to face challenges.
    • Royalty: In some cultures, the iris is tied to royalty and noble attributes due to its majestic posture and luxurious blooms.
    • Purity: The iris can also signify purity, especially in its whiter varieties, correlating to innocence and chasteness.

Every 7-10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Late Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Tall Bearded Iris, such as 'Fern Oakley', require moderate watering, especially during the growing season in spring and early summer. It is best to water these irises deeply every 7 to 10 days, providing about an inch of water each time, which equates to approximately half a gallon per square foot. The soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings to prevent rot. In the hotter summer months or in very dry climates, you may need to water more frequently to maintain soil moisture. It's important not to overwater, as Tall Bearded Iris prefer not to sit in wet soil.

  • sunLight

    Tall Bearded Iris, including 'Fern Oakley', thrive best in conditions where they can receive full sun for at least six hours a day. They perform well in a spot that is exposed to direct sunlight, as this assists in the growth of strong stems and vibrant blooms. These irises can tolerate partial shade, particularly in hotter climates, but too much shade can result in fewer flowers and weak growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Tall Bearded Iris like 'Fern Oakley' are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, but they grow best when daytime temperatures are between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can survive winter temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit, but they should be protected from extreme cold with mulch. During the summer, they can tolerate high temperatures well above 75 degrees Fahrenheit as long as they are well-watered and have good air circulation around the foliage.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Tall Bearded Iris, such as 'Fern Oakley', involves removing spent flower stems down to the base of the plant after blooming to promote healthy growth and prevent seed formation. Additionally, trim back any damaged or diseased leaves throughout the growing season to keep the plant tidy and prevent the spread of disease. The best time for a major cleaning is late summer or early fall, when you should cut back the foliage to about 6 inches to prepare the plant for winter.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Tall Bearded Iris, commonly known as Iris 'Fern Oakley', thrives in well-draining soil enriched with organic matter. The ideal pH for this iris is slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.5 to 7.0. A mix containing loam, compost, and coarse sand is beneficial for proper drainage and nourishment.

  • plantRepotting

    Tall Bearded Iris plants such as the Iris 'Fern Oakley' generally do not require frequent repotting. They should be divided and repotted every three to five years to avoid overcrowding and to rejuvenate their growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Iris 'Fern Oakley' prefer moderate humidity levels; however, they are adaptable plants that can tolerate the varying humidity conditions typically found outdoors in their growing range.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, cool temps, and good air circulation.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun, well-drained soil, divide every 3-5 years.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of Iris 'Fern Oakley', commonly known as the Tall Bearded Iris, begins with seed germination, usually after a period of stratification that helps break seed dormancy. Following germination, the seedling develops into a juvenile plant with a small rhizome and a few leaves. Over time, the rhizome enlarges and the plant enters a vegetative growth phase, producing more leaves and increasing in size. Once mature, the Tall Bearded Iris enters its reproductive phase, usually in late spring to early summer, when it flowers, displaying its tall and showy blooms. After pollination and fertilization, seed pods form, eventually drying and releasing seeds to complete the life cycle. Throughout the seasons, the rhizome of the plant can be divided and transplanted to propagate new plants, which is a common method of propagation for the Tall Bearded Iris.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late Summer

    • The Iris 'Fern Oakley', which falls under the Tall Bearded (TB) irises category, is commonly propagated through division, a straightforward method that helps maintain the genetic identity of the plant. The best time for propagation by division is late summer to early fall, after the bloom period has ended and at least six weeks before the first hard frost to allow the divisions to establish roots. To propagate by division, a gardener would carefully dig up an established Iris clump and use a sharp knife or spade to slice through the rhizomes, ensuring each division has at least one fan of leaves and a portion of the rhizome. The leaves should be trimmed to about one-third of their height to reduce water loss. The divisions should then be replanted with the rhizome just at or slightly below the soil surface, spaced about 12 to 24 inches apart (30 to 60 centimeters), allowing ample room for growth. The area should be well-watered to help establish the new divisions.