Dwarf Iris Iris 'Purple Gem' (Reticulata)

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


Iris 'Purple Gem' is a strikingly beautiful flower known for its vibrant purple blossoms. The flowers have a classic iris shape, featuring three upright petals, often called standards, that elegantly rise above the three falling petals known as falls. These falls are adorned with a splash of gold or white near their bases, which are often decorated with a fine dotting or veining pattern. This splash of color is known as the beard and adds contrast to the deep purple backdrop. The petals have a satiny sheen and can sometimes display a slight ruffling along their edges. The foliage is slender, sword-like, and bright green, forming a graceful cluster at the base of the plant that complements the blooms' vivid hues. The overall presentation of Iris 'Purple Gem' is one of regal poise and eye-catching beauty that makes it a cherished addition to any garden where a pop of color is desired.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Dwarf Iris, Reticulata Iris, Netted Iris, Purple Gem Iris

    • Common names

      Iris reticulata 'Purple Gem'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Iris 'Purple Gem', commonly referred to as Dwarf Iris, is considered mildly toxic to humans if ingested. The plant contains compounds such as irisin, iridin, or irisine which can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Symptoms of poisoning may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In most cases, symptoms are typically mild, but it is important to seek medical advice if consumption occurs.

    • To pets

      The Dwarf Iris is also toxic to pets. If ingested, animals, such as cats and dogs, may experience symptoms similar to those in humans, including vomiting, drooling, lethargy, and diarrhea. In more severe cases, ingestion can lead to an allergic dermatitis. Pet owners should contact their veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital if they suspect their pet has consumed any part of the Dwarf Iris.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      4-6 inches (10-15 cm)

    • Spread

      3 inches (7.5 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Early Spring Bloom: Iris 'Purple Gem' flowers in early spring, providing one of the first splashes of color to the garden after winter.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, this iris is relatively drought-tolerant, requiring minimal watering under normal conditions.
    • Low Maintenance: It requires very little care once planted, making it suitable for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The vibrant flowers attract bees and other pollinators essential for the health of your garden.
    • Compact Size: Iris 'Purple Gem' is a smaller plant, making it ideal for rock gardens, border fronts, and small spaces.
    • Cold Hardy: It is tolerant of cold temperatures, making it suitable for planting in a variety of climates.
    • Multiplication: This type of iris can multiply over time, producing more plants that can be divided and spread throughout the garden.
    • Versatile Planting: Suitable for container planting, allowing those with limited space to enjoy its beauty.
    • Deer Resistant: Iris 'Purple Gem' is generally resistant to deer, preventing it from being eaten by wildlife in the garden.
    • Aesthetic Appeal: Its striking purple flowers add visual interest and enhance the aesthetic value of any garden setting.

  • 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 'Purple Gem' can be used in potpourri for its dried petals, contributing an eye-catching color and a light, delicate fragrance to the mix.
    • The blooms can serve as a natural dye for fabrics, imparting a soft mauve to purple hue when used in the dyeing process.
    • Pressed Iris 'Purple Gem' flowers can be used in botanical art, providing a unique and vivid color to the artwork.
    • They are also used in crafting, especially in making personalized greeting cards or bookmarks, by pressing or drying the flowers.
    • These flowers can be featured in photography projects that require natural, vibrant colors for a stunning visual impact.
    • Iris 'Purple Gem' can be incorporated into a sensory garden for educational purposes, to help students explore plant textures and colors.
    • The plant can be utilized as a natural indicator for the pH of the soil it's planted in, as certain iris varieties will change bloom color based on soil acidity or alkalinity.
    • Iris 'Purple Gem' petals can be used in eco-friendly confetti, which is biodegradable and has less environmental impact than traditional materials.
    • The plant is suitable for creating a themed garden, such as a 'purple garden', where all flowers and plants are selected for their purple coloring, emphasizing design and aesthetics.
    • Iris 'Purple Gem' can provide a color cue in a coordinated landscape design, helping gardeners to create visually appealing patterns and color contrasts.

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 due to its colorful and bright appearance, signifying the expectation of positive outcomes.
    • Wisdom: Due to its regal stature and association with mythological figures like the Greek messenger goddess Iris, the plant is often symbolized as a bearer of wisdom.
    • Royalty: With its rich purple hues, the iris stands for royalty and regal bearing, reminiscent of the color's traditional ties to nobility.
    • Faith: The iris can represent faith, symbolizing belief and trust in oneself or a higher power.
    • Courage: The bold color and upright posture of the iris signify courage and admiration for bravery and valor.
    • Purity: The clear and distinct lines of the iris convey a sense of purity and innocence.

When soil dries out
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Late summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Dwarf iris, or Iris 'Purple Gem', should be watered deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. This typically means watering approximately once a week, but be prepared to adjust depending on weather conditions and soil drainage. During the growing season, the plant may need up to 1 gallon of water per square foot every week, but ensure that the soil is well-draining to prevent waterlogging. In dormant periods, such as late fall to winter, reduce watering frequency to prevent root rot. Always water at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry and prevent disease.

  • sunLight

    Dwarf iris prefers full sun to partial shade conditions. It thrives best when receiving at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. An ideal spot would be one that gets morning sun and dappled shade in the afternoon or a location with bright but indirect light.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The dwarf iris can tolerate winter lows to about 5°F but performs best in areas where the temperature ranges between 35°F and 70°F during their growth and bloom cycles. It's important to protect it from extremely hot temperatures above 90°F. The ideal growing conditions for this iris would be a cool to moderate climate with consistent temperatures throughout its growing season.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning dwarf iris involves removing any spent flower stems after blooming to keep the plant looking tidy and divert energy to the rhizomes for next year's growth. Additionally, trim away any dead or damaged foliage as needed. The best time for pruning is post bloom and before the fall to allow the plant to prepare for dormancy.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Dwarf Iris 'Purple Gem' thrives in well-draining, gritty soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH, around 6.0 to 7.0. A mix of loamy garden soil, sand, and peat moss is ideal to facilitate drainage and mimic their native, rocky habitats.

  • plantRepotting

    Dwarf Iris 'Purple Gem' bulbs should be lifted and divided every 3 to 5 years to maintain vigor and prevent overcrowding. Replant immediately in suitable soil.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Dwarf Iris 'Purple Gem' tolerates the average humidity found in outdoor garden settings but does not require any special humidity considerations.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Dwarf Iris 'Purple Gem' in bright light and cool temps.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Dwarf Iris 'Purple Gem' in well-drained soil and full sun.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of an Iris 'Purple Gem', commonly known as the Dwarf Iris, begins with a dormant period when the bulb is underground, typically during the summer months when the plant is not actively growing. In autumn, the bulb starts to develop roots and may produce small shoots in preparation for spring. As temperatures rise in late winter or early spring, the Dwarf Iris enters its growth phase, producing slender, grass-like leaves and characteristic purple or violet flowers that bloom for a short period. After flowering, the plant enters the post-bloom stage where the foliage continues to photosynthesize and store energy in the bulb for the next season. Eventually, the leaves yellow and wither as the plant enters a new period of dormancy, during which the bulb may divide, giving rise to new offsets that can be separated and planted to propagate the plant. Throughout its life, the Dwarf Iris may also be propagated by seed, but bulb division is typically the preferred method due to faster and more reliable results.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Iris 'Purple Gem', also known as the Dwarf Iris, is through bulb division. This is best done in late summer after the leaves have died back, allowing the bulbs to store energy for the next growing season. Carefully dig up the clumps of bulbs and gently separate them by hand, making sure each division has at least one healthy bulb. Replant the divided bulbs about 3 to 4 inches deep (7.5 to 10 cm) and approximately 3 inches apart (about 7.5 cm), in well-drained soil. Water the newly planted bulbs well to encourage root development before the onset of winter.