Dwarf Iris Iris 'Peter James' (SDB)

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


Iris 'Peter James' is a stunning variety of dwarf bearded iris, showcasing a beautiful array of colors and a distinctive form. The blooms of this plant exhibit a captivating mix of colors, often with petals that have a base color of soft violet-blue, adorned with contrasting beards. The beards are typically a bright yellow or orange, adding a striking highlight to each flower. The leaves of the plant are long and slim, with a sword-like shape that gracefully fans out from the base of the plant. The foliage is a deep, rich green, which contrasts nicely against the colorful blooms and provides a lush background for the flowers. The flowers themselves are characterized by their unique structure, consisting of upright petals known as "standards" and downward-curving petals called "falls." The 'Peter James' variety often has ruffled edges along the petals, adding a textural depth to its overall appearance. The interplay between the upright standards and the cascading falls creates a dynamic and elegant silhouette that is characteristic of bearded irises. Overall, Iris 'Peter James' is prized for its ornamental beauty, showcasing a harmonious blend of form, color, and texture that makes it a cherished addition to any garden display.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris, SDB Iris

    • Common names

      Iris 'Peter James'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Iris 'Peter James' is a cultivar belonging to the group of dwarf bearded irises. As with most irises, the toxicity to humans is primarily associated with the rhizomes, which can cause gastrointestinal distress if ingested. Eating parts of the dwarf bearded iris may lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Handling the plant may occasionally cause skin irritation due to its light toxicity. Care should be taken to prevent ingestion by children or adults.

    • To pets

      Dwarf bearded iris, like the Iris 'Peter James', is known to be toxic to pets, including dogs and cats, if they consume the plant. The rhizomes contain compounds that can cause symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and in severe cases, can lead to gastrointestinal irritation or even central nervous system issues. It's important to keep pets away from these plants to prevent accidental ingestion and potential poisoning.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Spread

      1 foot (30 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Appeal: Iris 'Peter James' (SDB) has colorful blooms that enhance the aesthetic of gardens and landscapes.
    • Compact Size: As a standard dwarf bearded iris, it is ideal for small gardens or borders without overwhelming the space.
    • Low Maintenance: It generally requires minimal care beyond basic watering and occasional fertilization.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it can tolerate periods of low water, making it suitable for xeriscaping.
    • Cold Hardy: The plant is capable of withstanding cold temperatures, thus suitable for planting in a variety of climates.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The flowers attract bees and butterflies, which are beneficial for pollinating gardens.
    • Deer Resistant: Iris 'Peter James' is typically resistant to deer, making it a good option for gardens in areas with deer populations.
    • Easy Propagation: It can be easily propagated through division, allowing gardeners to spread its beauty across their landscape.
    • Seasonal Interest: Provides early to mid-season blooms, adding a splash of color in spring when many other plants are just starting to grow.

  • 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

    • Photography and Art Subjects: The Iris 'Peter James' can be used as a model for photography and painting, providing a striking subject with its distinct form and color that attracts artists and photographers alike.
    • Culinary Garnish: Petals of the Iris 'Peter James' can serve as a decorative garnish for salads and desserts, although they should not be consumed in large quantities.
    • Fragrance Production: While not common for Iris 'Peter James', some irises are used in the production of perfumes, their essence contributing to delicate fragrances.
    • Dye Production: The blooms of the Iris 'Peter James' may be used to create natural dyes for fabrics or art projects, offering a range of colors from the petals and other plant parts.
    • Educational Tool: This plant can be implemented in educational gardens or programs to demonstrate plant breeding, hybridization techniques, and genetic diversity amongst flowering plants.
    • Craft Materials: Dry parts of the Iris 'Peter James' can be used in crafting, such as in papermaking or in the creation of eco-friendly jewelry, harnessing the plant's natural beauty in a new form.
    • Marker of Seasons: The Iris 'Peter James' can be used as a biological marker in gardens to indicate the change of seasons or as a natural timekeeper for certain gardening tasks when it blooms.
    • Theme Gardens: They can be incorporated into theme gardens, like Victorian or Monet-style gardens, to emulate the aesthetics of a specific era or artistic style.
    • Soil Erosion Control: When planted en masse, the root system of Iris 'Peter James' might assist in preventing soil erosion in garden landscapes, particularly on slopes or banks.
    • Floral Arrangements: The flowers of the Iris 'Peter James' can be used in dry floral arrangements, preserving their shape and color for extended periods when dried properly.

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 is often associated with hope, representing an expectation for positive outcomes and future happiness.
    • Wisdom: In some cultures, the iris is symbolic of wisdom and valued for its association with knowledge and learning.
    • Valor: Historically, the iris has been a symbol of bravery and courage, particularly in a European context where it has been used as a heraldic emblem.
    • Faith: The iris can be a symbol of faith, denoting a trust in something greater and a spiritual belief.
    • Royalty: The flower's regal appearance and historical use in royal emblems have made the iris a symbol of royalty and noble bearing.

Every 7-10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris, specifically 'Peter James', requires moderate watering. It should be watered deeply to encourage root growth, especially during the growing season. In general, watering once a week with about 1 to 2 gallons is sufficient for established plants, but this may vary depending on climate and soil drainage. During hot, dry periods, increase watering to twice a week. Make sure not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. After bloom season, you can reduce watering to help the plant harden off for winter.

  • sunLight

    Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris like 'Peter James' thrive best in full sun conditions. They should be planted in a spot where they receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Enough sun is crucial for the irises to bloom prolifically. However, in extremely hot climates, providing some afternoon shade can help protect the flowers from the intensity of the late-day sun.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris 'Peter James' can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but performs best in conditions where temperatures range between 35°F and 75°F. They are cold-hardy and can survive winter temperatures down to -20°F. It is vital to avoid extreme heat above 90°F during the flowering period as high temperatures can affect blooms.

  • scissorsPruning

    The Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris 'Peter James' benefits from pruning to promote health and reblooming. After the blooms fade, cut back the flower stalks to the plant's base to prevent energy from going to seed production. In late summer or early fall, trim away dead or damaged leaves. A more thorough cleanup can be done after the first frost to prepare for winter, which also helps to prevent disease.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris 'Peter James' thrives best in well-draining, loamy soil enriched with compost or humus. The ideal pH range for this iris is neutral to slightly acidic, between 6.8 and 7.0. Amending the soil with bone meal can also encourage strong root development and enhance blooming.

  • plantRepotting

    Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris 'Peter James' typically does not need frequent repotting. It is recommended to divide and replant these irises every 3 to 4 years to maintain vigour and to prevent overcrowding, which can inhibit blooming.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris 'Peter James' is tolerant of a wide range of humidity conditions and does not require high humidity to thrive. Average ambient humidity is typically sufficient for these irises, avoiding overly wet or swampy conditions that can promote root rot.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure full sun, well-draining soil, and infrequent watering for Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris 'Peter James'.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun, well-drained soil, and avoid waterlogged conditions for Dwarf Bearded Iris 'Peter James'.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Iris 'Peter James', a type of Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris (SDB), begins its life cycle with germination from seed, influenced by soil temperature and moisture levels. Following germination, the seedling emerges and develops into a young plant with characteristic grass-like leaves. Over time, the plant forms a rhizome, which serves as an underground stem for nutrient storage and new growth. The iris reaches maturity and starts the blooming phase in late spring to early summer, producing distinctive flowers in shades of blue, purple, or bi-colors that attract pollinators. After flowering, the plant sets seeds while the foliage continues to photosynthesize and store energy in the rhizome for the next season. Finally, in the dormant stage during late fall and winter, the plant's above-ground growth dies back, but the rhizome survives underground to sprout again in the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • Iris 'Peter James', a variety of Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris (SDB), can be propagated by division, which is the most popular and effective method for this plant. The best time to divide and replant irises is late summer, typically about 4 to 6 weeks after flowering has ended, when the weather has cooled but there is still time before the frost. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the clumps of iris rhizomes after the foliage has begun to die back. Using a sharp knife, divide the rhizomes so that each section has at least one healthy fan of leaves and a portion of the roots. Trim the leaves to about one-third of their height, which is usually about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters), to help prevent water loss and make the plant easier to manage. Replant the divided rhizomes promptly, setting them so the top of the rhizome is just below the surface of the soil while ensuring the roots are well spread out in the planting hole. Water them in well to help establish contact between the roots and the surrounding soil.