Snowy Owl Iris Iris 'Snowy Owl' (TB)

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


Iris 'Snowy Owl' is a captivating variety of the well-known iris plant, distinguished by its stunning flowers. The blooms of 'Snowy Owl' are characterized by their creamy white color, giving the impression of a pristine, snow-like floral display. Each flower is composed of several petals, typically three upright petals known as standards and three downward-curving petals referred to as falls. The standards are usually of the same soft white shades as the falls, which may also feature delicate patterns or color embossing in pale hues, adding to the flower’s elegance. Accompanying the breathtaking flowers, the foliage of the Iris 'Snowy Owl' consists of long, slender leaves that are a rich green in color. These leaves often have a sword-like shape, growing upright and creating an attractive, structured backdrop for the stunning blooms. The leaves are arranged in dense clumps that further complement the overall beauty of the iris when it's in full bloom. Together, the stark white flowers and the vibrant green foliage of the Iris 'Snowy Owl' present a striking contrast, which can make this particular plant a highlight in any garden space where color and form are appreciated. The visual appeal of 'Snowy Owl' makes it a popular choice for gardeners looking to create a point of interest or a serene, calming white color theme in their planting schemes.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Tall Bearded Iris, Snowy Owl Iris

    • Common names

      Iris 'Snowy Owl' (TB)

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Tall Bearded Iris, commonly known as 'Snowy Owl', is not considered highly toxic to humans. However, all parts of the iris plant have the potential to cause stomach upset if ingested. The rhizomes are particularly known for their irritant properties. If someone eats parts of an iris, the person might experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. It is advisable to handle the plant with care to avoid skin irritation from contact with the sap. In any case of ingestion, especially involving children, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.

    • To pets

      The Tall Bearded Iris, commonly known as 'Snowy Owl', carries a level of toxicity to pets, particularly dogs and cats. Ingesting the rhizomes or other parts of the plant may result in symptoms such as salivation, vomiting, drooling, lethargy, and diarrhea in pets. More serious reactions could involve abdominal pain and signs of gastrointestinal irritation. If you suspect your pet has ingested iris, it is essential to contact a veterinarian to get the appropriate care.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3 feet (91 cm)

    • Spread

      18 inches (45 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Appeal: Add beauty and elegance to gardens with their striking white flowers and stately appearance.
    • Drought Resistance: Once established, they are relatively drought-tolerant, requiring minimal watering.
    • Low Maintenance: Need little care beyond basic watering and occasional dividing every few years.
    • Rabbit and Deer Resistance: Typically not preferred by rabbits or deer, which helps prevent damage to the plant.
    • Seasonal Interest: Provide spring to early summer blooms, adding seasonal interest to the landscape.
    • Attracts Pollinators: Flowers attract butterflies and other beneficial insects, which can help pollinate other plants.
    • Versatile Landscaping: Suitable for a range of landscaping uses, including mixed borders, cutting gardens, and as specimen plants.
    • Soil Adaptability: Can thrive in a variety of soil conditions, though they prefer well-drained soils.

  • 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 subject: The Iris 'Snowy Owl' provides a dramatic and contrasting subject for photographers, especially keen on capturing the intricate details of flowers and the interplay of light and shadow on petals.
    • Aromatics for perfumes: The delicate scent of the iris can be used in the making of perfumes, capturing its unique fragrance for personal scents.
    • Natural dye: The petals and roots of the iris plant can be used to produce natural dyes for fabrics and textiles, offering a spectrum of colors from yellows to purples depending on the mordant used.
    • Artistic inspiration: Artists often use the striking appearance of the Iris 'Snowy Owl' as inspiration for paintings, drawings, and other forms of visual art.
    • Educational tool: Botany and horticulture educators may use the iris plant to teach about hybridization, plant anatomy, and the process of flower development in higher plants.
    • Culinary garnish: Although primarily decorative, the petals of some Iris species (not all are edible) can be used to add a flourish to culinary presentations.
    • Motif in design: The form and pattern of the iris flower are used as motifs in textile patterns, wallpaper designs, and home décor.
    • Literary symbolism: Irises often symbolize wisdom and hope in literature and can inspire writers looking for symbolic plants to include in their work.
    • Floral arrangements: The Iris 'Snowy Owl' is used in fresh and dried floral arrangements for its structural interest and long-lasting qualities.
    • Water garden feature: Irises can be planted around water features for their tolerance to moist soils and to add vertical interest to water garden designs.

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

    • Faith: The iris generally represents faith, reflecting its role in various mythologies and its presence in religious artwork.
    • Hope: As a spring flower often blooming after a long winter, the iris can symbolize hope and the belief in better times ahead.
    • Purity: The 'Snowy Owl' variety, with its white coloration, emphasizes purity and innocence, often used in bridal bouquets and religious ceremonies.
    • Wisdom: Associated with the Greek goddess Iris, this flower can also represent wisdom and valued knowledge.
    • Courage: The bold colors and patterns of irises can symbolize courage and admiration, especially in situations requiring bravery.

Every 7-10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Late summer to early fall
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Tall Bearded Irises, including 'Snowy Owl', require well-draining soil and should be watered deeply but infrequently to mimic their natural dry habitat conditions. It is best to water them once a week with approximately one inch of water, ensuring the water penetrates deeply into the soil. During particularly hot or dry spells, you might need to water them twice a week, but always check the soil moisture level first; it should dry out between waterings. Over-watering can lead to root rot, so it's crucial to avoid soggy soil. In terms of gallons, providing around half a gallon per plant during each watering session should suffice.

  • sunLight

    The 'Snowy Owl' Iris, also known simply as the Tall Bearded Iris, thrives in full sunlight. It needs at least six hours of direct sun per day to perform well and produce its characteristic large, showy blooms. The ideal spot for planting these irises is an area that receives unfiltered sunlight throughout the day; a south-facing garden is typically best.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Tall Bearded Irises like 'Snowy Owl' prefer temperate climates and tolerate a wide range of temperatures. They can survive winter lows down to about -40 degrees Fahrenheit, and summer highs can go well above 90 degrees Fahrenheit without adverse effects. The ideal growing temperatures for this iris are between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the growing season, providing the best conditions for flower development and plant vigor.

  • scissorsPruning

    Tall Bearded Iris 'Snowy Owl' requires pruning to remove spent flower stems after blooming and to trim away any damaged or diseased leaves. This helps encourage future blooms and maintain plant health. The best time to prune is late summer or early fall, as this allows the plants to gather energy for the next season. Regular pruning can also prevent disease spread and keeps the iris beds looking tidy.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Tall Bearded Irises like 'Snowy Owl' prefer well-draining soil with moderate fertility. Amend heavy clay or sandy soils with organic matter such as compost. A pH of slightly acidic to neutral (6.0 to 7.0) is best for their growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Tall Bearded Irises, including 'Snowy Owl', generally do not need to be repotted as they are not typically grown in containers. However, they should be divided every 3 to 5 years to maintain vigor and prevent overcrowding.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Tall Bearded Irises like 'Snowy Owl' are tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels and do not require high humidity. They thrive in the humidity levels typically found in temperate garden environments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, good airflow, and use well-draining soil for indoor growth.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sun, well-drained soil, and provide space for rhizome exposure.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Iris 'Snowy Owl' (TB), commonly known as Tall Bearded Iris, begins its life cycle as a seed which upon germination, produces a small rhizome. The rhizome grows and develops into a mature plant, during spring to early summer, producing sword-like leaves and tall stems which bear the distinctive large, ruffled white flowers the cultivar is known for. After blooming, which typically occurs for a short period between late spring and early summer, the flowers wither, and the plant focuses on storing energy in the rhizome for the next season. Through summer and fall, the foliage continues photosynthesis to nourish the rhizome until the plant goes dormant with the onset of winter. Throughout dormancy, the rhizome survives underground until the conditions are favorable again in the following spring, when new growth emerges. Over time, the rhizome will multiply, forming clumps that can be divided and transplanted to propagate new plants.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late summer to early fall

    • Propogation: The Tall Bearded Iris 'Snowy Owl' is typically propagated through division. This method is best undertaken in late summer after the blooming season has passed, generally from July to September, when the plant is dormant. To propagate by division, a gardener should carefully dig up the iris clumps and gently separate the rhizomes, the thick, rootlike structures, making sure each division has at least one fan of leaves and a section of the rhizome. Trim the leaves to a third of their height, which is about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters), to reduce water loss and make the plant easier to handle. The divisions can then be replanted into well-drained soil with the rhizome slightly exposed to the air, as burying it too deeply can lead to rot. This approach encourages rejuvenation of the plants and can help in maintaining vigorous growth and bloom in the following seasons.