Chilean iris Libertia chilensis

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
New Zealand satin flower


The plant commonly known as Chilean Iris or Libertia chilensis is a perennial with a distinctive and decorative appearance. This evergreen plant typically forms clumps of narrow, upright foliage that resembles stiff blades of grass. The leaves are a bright green, often with a yellowish to creamy white midrib, giving them a striking variegated look. During the blooming season, which generally occurs in late spring to early summer, the Chilean Iris presents a display of delicate flowers. These blossoms are star-shaped, usually pure white or sometimes with a hint of pale blue or ivory. The flowers are borne on slender stalks, which emerge from amongst the foliage, and give the impression of floating above the leafy tufts. Following the flowering period, the plant produces seed capsules that add an additional point of interest. These capsules are green at first, turning brown as they mature and open up to release the seeds. The Chilean Iris exudes a simple yet elegant charm that can bring a touch of wild splendor to gardens. Its vertical form and the striking contrast of its foliage against the white flowers make it a favorite for creating focal points in plantings or for adding vertical accents to mixed borders.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Chilean Iris, White Satin Flower

    • Common names

      Libertia formosa, Libertia ixioides var. lata, Sisyrinchium chilense, Tecophilaea ixioides.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Chilean iris is not widely recognized for any significant toxicity to humans. There is limited information on the toxicity of this plant, and it does not typically appear on lists of toxic plants. As with any plant material, if a large enough quantity is ingested, it could cause digestive discomfort such as nausea or vomiting. It's always advisable to handle unknown plants with care and prevent children from ingesting any plant matter when the toxicity is not clearly established.

    • To pets

      Chilean iris is not known to be toxic to pets. There is a lack of information suggesting that ingestion of this plant causes adverse health effects in animals. However, as with all plants, it is recommended to monitor pets around the plant and discourage them from eating it, as individual animals may have different sensitivities and eating non-food plants can result in gastrointestinal upset.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2 feet [0.6 meters]

    • Spread

      2 feet [0.6 meters]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Drought tolerance: Libertia chilensis is known for its ability to withstand periods of low water availability, making it suitable for xeriscaping and drought-prone areas.
    • Ornamental appeal: With its attractive, sword-shaped foliage and white, iris-like flowers, it provides visual interest in garden settings.
    • Low maintenance: This plant is relatively easy to care for, requiring minimal upkeep once established, making it a practical choice for busy gardeners.
    • Soil adaptability: It can thrive in a variety of soil types, although it prefers well-drained conditions.
    • Tolerates coastal conditions: It is salt-tolerant and can be used in coastal gardens, where other plants might struggle.
    • Year-round interest: The evergreen nature of Libertia chilensis ensures that it provides color and structure throughout the year.
    • Wildlife attraction: Its flowers attract pollinators like bees, while the seed pods can provide food for birds.
    • Erosion control: The fibrous root system helps to stabilize soil, making it useful for planting on slopes or areas prone to erosion.
    • Architectural: The striking form can be used to create architectural interest in modern garden designs.

  • 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

    • Libertia chilensis, commonly known as Chilean iris, can be used as a natural dye source, with the potential to impart a range of subtle colorations to fabrics.
    • In landscape design, the Chilean iris's rigid, upright foliage provides striking vertical accents in rock gardens or gravel compositions.
    • The plant's seed pods can be used in dried floral arrangements, adding an exotic and textural component that persists beyond the growing season.
    • Chilean iris is sometimes used in eco-friendly garden designs due to its adaptability to various soil types and resistance to pests and diseases.
    • The plant's attractive white flowers are used in contemporary garden designs to create a sense of flow when planted en masse along pathways or borders.
    • Libertia chilensis serves as a living mulch, effectively suppressing weeds while maintaining soil moisture and temperature balance.
    • The grass-like leaves of the Chilean iris contribute to erosion control on slopes and banks owing to its robust root system that holds soil in place.
    • Its tolerance for wet conditions allows it to be planted in rain gardens, where it aids in managing excess stormwater runoff in urban landscapes.
    • Chilean iris is often used as a companion plant in agricultural settings, attracting beneficial insects that support pollination and pest control.
    • Crafters may use the fibrous leaves of Libertia chilensis to weave small, rustic items such as mats or baskets.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant_name is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant_name is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Endurance: Libertia chilensis, also known as the Chilean Iris, is a hardy plant that can withstand various conditions, symbolizing the ability to endure and thrive amidst adversity.
    • Purity: The Chilean Iris, with its white flowers, is often associated with purity and innocence.
    • Freedom: Its name, Libertia, is derived from the Latin word 'liber,' meaning free, indicating the plant's representing of freedom.
    • New Beginnings: The frequent flowering of the Chilean Iris can represent new starts or a rebirth.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Libertia chilensis, also known as Chilean iris, prefers a well-draining soil and should be watered regularly but not excessively. During the growing season, water the Chilean iris every week with about 1-2 gallons, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. In the winter, reduce the watering to once every two to three weeks, depending on the humidity and temperature of your environment. Always avoid waterlogging as it can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    Chilean iris thrives in full sun to partial shade. Place it in a location where it receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily, but it can tolerate some light dappled shade during the hottest part of the day. Avoid deep shade as it can inhibit the plant's growth and flowering potential.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Chilean iris is hardy and can withstand a range of temperatures, though it flourishes in conditions between 50°F and 75°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to about 10°F. Protect it from extreme cold by providing mulch or bringing it indoors if potted when very low temperatures are expected.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Chilean iris is generally done for aesthetic reasons to remove dead or damaged foliage and to maintain its shape. Trim away any spent flower stalks and dead leaves in the fall or early spring. This also helps to encourage new growth. Pruning is not regularly necessary but can be performed annually.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The best soil mix for Chilean Iris should be well-draining with a mixture of regular potting soil, sand or perlite, and peat or compost to retain some moisture. A slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is ideal for Chilean Iris.

  • plantRepotting

    Chilean Iris, also known as Chilean Iris, should be repotted every 2-3 years to refresh the soil and accommodate root growth. It is best done after flowering or in early spring.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Chilean Iris prefers moderate humidity conditions but is quite adaptable and can tolerate the varying humidity levels typical of most home environments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Chilean Iris in bright, indirect light with well-draining soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Chilean Iris in sunny to partly shaded area with good drainage.

    • Hardiness zone

      8-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Libertia chilensis, commonly known as Chilean Iris, begins its life as a seed that germinates in spring, ideally in moist, well-drained soil with plenty of sunlight. Upon germination, the seedling develops into a clump-forming perennial with grass-like foliage, a stage which can take several years before it reaches maturity. Once mature, the Chilean Iris produces distinctive white, three-petaled flowers in late spring to early summer, which are pollinated by insects. Following pollination, the flowers develop into seed capsules that mature and release seeds, ensuring the continuation of the species. Throughout its lifecycle, the plant may also propagate vegetatively through rhizome division, leading to the spread of the plant within its habitat. The clumps of Libertia chilensis can be divided every few years during the plant's dormant season to manage growth and invigorate older plants.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • The Chilean iris, commonly known as Libertia chilensis, can be propagated by division, which is the most popular method for this ornamental plant. The best time for dividing is in the spring or early summer when the plant has just finished flowering and the weather is conducive to new growth. One should gently dig up the clump and separate the rhizomes carefully, ensuring each division has a good amount of roots and at least one growing point. It's important to plant the divisions at the same soil depth they were originally growing and water them in well. New divisions should be spaced about 12 to 18 inches (approximately 30 to 45 centimeters) apart to allow ample room for growth. This straightforward method of propagation helps to rejuvenate older clumps and increase the stock of plants quickly and effectively.