Border Bearded Iris Iris 'Ouija' (BB)

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


Iris 'Ouija' (BB) is a type of bearded iris known for its unique and attractive flowers. This plant features a distinct flower structure with three large, downward-curling petals known as falls, each showcasing soft ruffles or flounces at the edges. The falls often display deep, rich colors that could range from dark purples to velvety blacks, with a striking contrast provided by lighter or vibrant hues in the center, also called the signal area. Complementing the falls are the upward-arching petals known as standards, which are usually lighter in color, creating a beautiful contrast with the falls. The bearded irises, including 'Ouija', get their name from the fuzzy, beard-like hairs that line the middle of the falls. These "beards" may have a color that is either harmonizing or contrasting with the petals, adding further visual interest. These hairs serve to guide pollinators into the flower to ensure pollination. The overall flower is known for its elegant form and can be quite showy. The blooms are carried on sturdy, upright flower stalks which emerge from clumps of long, slender, sword-shaped foliage. These leaves are bright green and can have a slightly arching habit, creating a fan-like appearance at the base of the plant. The foliage often remains attractive throughout the growing season, adding structure and interest even when the plant is not in flower. As a bearded iris of the BB group, which stands for "Border Bearded," Iris 'Ouija' is particularly valued for its ornamental flowers which make it a popular choice for garden borders and floral arrangements. Overall, the appearance of Iris 'Ouija' is striking and can add a dramatic flair to any garden setting with its contrasting colors and distinguished flowers.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Border Bearded Iris, BB Iris

    • Common names

      Iris 'Ouija' (BB).

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The common name for Iris 'Ouija' is simply iris. Irises are generally considered to have a low level of toxicity to humans. However, if ingested, the rhizomes (rootstocks) of irises can cause digestive upset, evidenced by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Handling the plant can also cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals due to the presence of irisin, irisine, or iridin in the rhizomes.

    • To pets

      for pets, irises, including the Iris 'Ouija', can be toxic. The most toxic part of the plant is the rhizome, ingestion of which can lead to symptoms such as salivation, vomiting, drooling, lethargy, and diarrhea in animals like cats and dogs. If a pet consumes a large quantity of the rhizome, it could potentially lead to more severe consequences such as gastrointestinal irritation or even pancreatitis, necessitating a consultation with a veterinarian.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2 feet (61 cm)

    • Spread

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Decorative Appeal: Adds vibrant color and visual interest to gardens or landscapes with its beautiful flowers.
    • Drought Tolerant: Once established, it requires minimal watering, adapting well to drier conditions.
    • Low Maintenance: Generally requires little care beyond initial planting and occasional upkeep.
    • Attracts Wildlife: Flowers can attract butterflies and other beneficial pollinators, enhancing biodiversity.
    • Seasonal Interest: Provides aesthetic interest throughout its blooming season, often in late spring to early summer.
    • Erosion Control: The root system can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion in certain settings.
    • Versatility: Suitable for a variety of garden designs, including borders, containers, and as accent plants.
    • Cold Hardy: Resistant to cold temperatures, making it suitable for cooler climates.

  • 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 'Ouija' can be used as a natural dye, with the flowers creating unique hues on fabrics such as silk or wool.
    • The long, sturdy stems of the iris can be woven into baskets or used as natural plant supports in gardens.
    • The plant's seed pods can be collected and dried to create interesting decorations for floral arrangements or crafts.
    • Iris 'Ouija' can be incorporated into perfumery, as the flowers can sometimes offer a light, delicate fragrance.
    • As a teaching tool in botany or horticulture classes to illustrate plant breeding and hybridizing techniques.
    • The petals of iris 'Ouija' can be used in art, for pressing or as a natural source for creating botanical prints.
    • The plant can be used in photography as a subject for practicing macro photography techniques due to its intricate flower structure.
    • The rhizomes, while not edible, can be carved into stamps for craft projects or for stamping patterns onto surfaces.
    • Ripe seed capsules may be used in jewelry-making or as a component in homemade musical instruments for their rattling sound when dried.
    • Iris 'Ouija' can serve as a natural way to mark seasonal changes in a garden, as they have distinct blooming periods.

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

    • Royalty: The Iris is often associated with royalty due to its regal appearance and its historical connection to the French monarchy, where it was used as a symbol of power and position.
    • Wisdom: The ancient Greeks revered the iris and linked it to the goddess Iris, who was a messenger of the gods and a symbol of communication and new beginnings; hence, it can symbolize wisdom.
    • Hope and Trust: With its vibrant blooms signaling the start of spring, the Iris often represents hope, trust, and belief in the future.
    • Faith: In religious contexts, the Iris has been seen as a symbol of faith, embodying the hope and courage to believe.
    • Valor: Due to its sword-like leaves, the Iris may symbolize valor and bravery, indicating a willingness to face challenges.
    • Purity: Traditionally, the Iris is associated with purity and innocence, especially the white Iris varieties.
    • Transition: The Iris can symbolize transition, change, and the discovery of new adventures, considering its symbolic tie to the Greek goddess Iris and her role as a guide for souls to their afterlife.

Every 7-10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Border Bearded Iris 'Ouija' should be watered deeply and infrequently to encourage strong root growth; typically, this means watering to a depth of 8 to 10 inches every 7 to 10 days during the active growing season. However, reduce watering after blooming has finished and during winter to prevent root rot. The soil should be allowed to dry out slightly between waterings. Depending on weather conditions, plants may require up to 1 gallon of water per square foot each month during peak growth.

  • sunLight

    The Border Bearded Iris 'Ouija' thrives best in full sun, which means at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. An ideal spot would be unobstructed by trees or buildings where it can receive uninterrupted sunlight, ensuring vibrant blooms and healthy growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Border Bearded Iris 'Ouija' prefers temperate conditions and can typically withstand temperatures between 14°F and 90°F. The ideal temperature range for optimal growth is between 55°F and 75°F where they can bloom successfully and maintain healthy foliage.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Border Bearded Iris 'Ouija' by removing spent flower stems down to the base after blooming to promote healthy growth for the following season. Cut away any damaged or diseased leaves whenever they appear. The best time for general pruning is in late summer, after blooming has finished or just before the fall for cleanup purposes.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mix for an Iris 'Ouija' (commonly known as Border Bearded Iris) should be well-draining, fertile, and slightly acidic to neutral, with an ideal pH range between 6.8 and 7.0. A mixture of loamy garden soil, compost, and a small amount of coarse sand or perlite to ensure proper drainage is recommended to promote healthy growth and blooming.

  • plantRepotting

    Border Bearded Irises, like Iris 'Ouija', typically do not require frequent repotting and should be divided and repotted every 3 to 4 years to prevent overcrowding and to rejuvenate growth. Best repotted in late summer after blooming.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Border Bearded Irises, such as Iris 'Ouija', are tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels and do not have specific humidity requirements. They thrive in outdoor conditions with natural atmospheric humidity, making them versatile for different climates.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure ample sunlight and good air circulation.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun, well-drained soil, divide every 3-4 years.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of Iris 'Ouija' (Bearded Iris) starts with seed germination, which occurs under suitable conditions of warmth and moisture, although many gardeners prefer to propagate irises by dividing rhizomes to ensure genetic consistency. The seedling grows into a juvenile plant, establishing roots and foliage primarily in the form of sword-like leaves. As the plant matures, it enters a vegetative stage where it develops the rhizomes, which are underground stems, and it stores energy for flowering. Flowering typically occurs in late spring to early summer, when it produces its distinctive showy flowers, which are the reproductive stage of the plant. After pollination, often by insects, seeds are produced in pods that, once matured, burst open to disperse the seeds for the next generation. The plant then enters a period of dormancy in the late fall and winter before the cycle begins anew in the spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method to propagate Iris 'Ouija' (BB), commonly known as a type of Bearded Iris, is by division, which is typically done in late summer after the blooms have faded. This is usually from July to September when the plant is dormant. To propagate by division, one should carefully dig up the clumps of irises and gently separate the rhizomes, which are the thick, root-like structures. Each section should have at least one fan of leaves and a portion of rhizome. The leaves can be trimmed to about a third of their height to reduce water loss. The rhizome divisions should then be replanted immediately, placing them so the top of the rhizome is just visible above the soil surface. Spacing them about 12 to 24 inches apart (30 to 61 centimeters) allows adequate room for growth.