Japanese Iris Iris ensata 'The Great Mogul'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
Japanese water iris 'The Great Mogul'


The Great Mogul is a striking and ornamental plant that displays large, showy flowers. The blossoms are characterized by their rich purple color, which can sometimes appear almost velvety. These dramatic blooms often showcase a deeper, near-black, purple veining that radiates out from the center, adding to their intricacy and beauty. The flowers possess a classic shape common to their kind, with three upright petals (standards) and three downward curving petals (falls), the latter often adorned with a bright yellow or white signal area that contrasts with the deep purple petals. The foliage of The Great Mogul consists of long, slender leaves that emerge in a clump and fan out gracefully. These leaves are a vibrant green, providing a lovely backdrop to the luxurious blooms atop sturdy, upright stems. This lush foliage complements the ornamental flowers, enhancing the overall elegance of the plant. Due to its striking appearance, The Great Mogul is a popular choice for water gardens or boggy areas, where its roots stay moist, mimicking its natural environment. When in full bloom, the plant presents a regal and eye-catching display that can be a focal point in any garden setting. Overall, The Great Mogul's dramatic flowers and attractive foliage make it a much-desired plant for gardeners looking to add a splash of bold color and sophistication to their landscapes.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Japanese Iris, Japanese Water Iris, The Great Mogul

    • Common names

      Iris ensata 'The Great Mogul'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Japanese iris, which includes Iris ensata 'The Great Mogul', typically contains irritant substances within its rhizomes and leaves that can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested. The most common symptoms of ingestion include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Handling the plant may also cause skin irritation in some individuals due to the presence of these substances.

    • To pets

      Japanese iris, such as Iris ensata 'The Great Mogul', is known to contain irritant compounds, particularly in the rhizomes and leaves, that may be toxic to pets if ingested. The consumption of plant parts can lead to gastrointestinal distress characterized by symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In some cases, excessive ingestion could lead to more severe health issues. It is advisable to prevent pets from chewing or ingesting this plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Spread

      2 feet (60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Decorative Appearance: Japanese iris 'The Great Mogul' showcases striking purple flowers, adding an elegant and colorful touch to any garden or landscape.
    • Water Feature Companion: Well-suited for planting near ponds or streams, this plant thrives in moist conditions, enhancing water features with its beauty.
    • Pollinator Attraction: The flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which are essential for the pollination of many plants and crops.
    • Seasonal Interest: With its mid to late-summer bloom time, 'The Great Mogul' provides interest during a time when many other plants have finished flowering.
    • Architectural Structure: Its tall, upright form adds vertical interest to garden designs, creating a focal point or backdrop for other plants.
    • Versatility in Landscaping: Can be used in a variety of landscape settings, such as borders, beds, and around water features, offering designers flexible choices.
    • Cultural Significance: The Japanese iris holds significant cultural importance in Japan which could be reflected and appreciated in thematic gardens or collections.
    • Low Maintenance: Once established, 'The Great Mogul' requires minimal maintenance, making it a suitable choice for gardeners of all skill levels.

  • 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

    • The resilient fibers of Japanese iris can be used for making traditional Japanese paper, known as washi.
    • Dried iris petals provide a natural source of color for botanical dyes used in arts and crafts.
    • Japanese iris blooms are sometimes used in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, for their elegant form.
    • The stalks of the iris can be crafted into natural garden stakes to support other plants due to their sturdy structure.
    • Japanese iris can serve as a natural indicator plant for wet conditions since they thrive in high water areas.
    • These iris rhizomes are sometimes utilized in water filtration systems for ponds to promote cleaner and clearer water.
    • The plant's seed pods have an architectural shape and can be included in dried floral arrangements for decoration.
    • Juice extracted from the leaves can be used as a natural dye for fabrics, giving them a soft green hue.
    • During blooming season, Japanese iris can act as a natural way to draw in pollinators such as bees and butterflies to the garden.
    • When planted in a series, the tall and linear form of Japanese iris can be used to create natural, living fences or privacy screens.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Japanese Iris is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Japanese Iris is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Royalty: 'The Great Mogul' is a title that evokes a sense of regality, aligning with the iris's association with sovereignty and regal presence.
    • Wisdom: Irises are often linked with wisdom, suggesting that 'The Great Mogul' could symbolize knowledge and intelligence.
    • Courage: In heraldry, the iris represents courage and bravery, which could be reflected in the bold presentation of 'The Great Mogul'.
    • Faith: Historically, the iris is a symbol of faith, hope, and valor, which may be a part of 'The Great Mogul's' symbolic repertoire.
    • Purity: The iris, particularly in its pure, unblemished form like 'The Great Mogul', can represent purity and innocence.

Every 2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Japanese Iris 'The Great Mogul' prefers consistent moisture, especially during the growing season. It should be watered thoroughly once a week, ensuring that the soil remains evenly moist but not waterlogged. In hot and dry conditions, it may require additional watering. Depending on the climate, provide about 1 to 1.5 gallons of water per plant each week, adjusting as necessary for rainfall. During dormancy in winter, reduce watering significantly to prevent root rot.

  • sunLight

    Japanese Iris 'The Great Mogul' thrives in full sun to partial shade. The ideal location would offer morning sun and afternoon shade, particularly in hotter climates to prevent the flowers from fading. It's crucial to provide at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day to ensure vigorous growth and abundant blooms.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Japanese Iris 'The Great Mogul' can tolerate a temperature range from approximately 25°F to 85°F. However, the ideal growing temperature is between 50°F and 70°F. This plant is hardy and can survive cold winters with adequate mulch but prefers not to be exposed to prolonged periods of heat above 85°F.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Japanese Iris 'The Great Mogul' after the blooms have faded, removing any spent flower stems to tidy up the plant and encourage healthy growth for the next season. Additionally, trim away damaged or diseased foliage throughout the growing season. The best time for a thorough clean-up prune is in late fall or early winter after the first frost when the plant has entered dormancy.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Japanese Iris prefers well-drained, acidic to neutral soil with pH ranging from 5.5 to 7.0. The best soil mix is one part loam, one part peat moss, and one part sand to ensure proper drainage and aeration.

  • plantRepotting

    Japanese Irises typically do not need to be repotted often; they can be divided and repotted every 3 to 4 years to maintain vigor and flower production.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Japanese Iris thrives in conditions with high humidity, ideally above 60%, which simulates its natural boggy habitat.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, keep soil moist, and maintain high humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in a watered garden spot; partial to full sun.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Iris ensata 'The Great Mogul', commonly known as Japanese iris, begins its life as a seed that, when sown, will germinate and sprout into a small seedling, given proper moisture and temperature conditions. The seedling grows into a vegetative plant, developing a strong root system and long, slender leaves characteristic of irises. After a period of growth, the plant experiences vegetative maturity and produces large, showy flowers, typically during late spring to early summer. Once pollinated, possibly by insects or other pollinators, the flowers will produce seeds and sometimes capsules, completing the reproductive phase of the life cycle. The plant then enters a period of dormancy, especially in regions with cold winters, where the foliage dies back and the rhizomes rest underground. Upon the return of favorable conditions, the rhizomes will send up new shoots and the life cycle repeats annually.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • The Japanese iris or 'The Great Mogul' is typically propagated in late summer to early fall after flowering has finished and the plant has had time to gather energy reserves for next season's growth. The most popular method of propagation for this plant is division, where the rhizomes of the plant are split into smaller sections. To divide, carefully dig up the clumps of iris after the foliage has started to die back, and use a sharp, clean knife to cut the rhizomes into pieces, ensuring that each division has at least one fan of leaves and a portion of the roots attached. Replant the divisions about 1 to 2 feet (approximately 30 to 60 centimeters) apart to give them enough space to grow, and at a depth where the tops of the rhizomes are just barely covered with soil. Water the new plantings well to help establish them. Division not only helps to propagate new plants but also rejuvenates older clumps that might have stopped flowering as vigorously, ensuring a healthy and blooming garden of Japanese irises.