New Zealand Iris Libertia peregrinans

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
wandering Chilean iris


The plant known as New Zealand Iris features stiff, upright leaves that radiate gracefully from the base in a fan-like formation. What makes this plant particularly striking is its remarkable foliage color, which can range from a striking olive green to an intense orange or copper tone, often with a shimmering, iridescent quality that catches the light in a way that enhances its beauty. This coloration tends to deepen as the seasons change, adding to its decorative appeal. Throughout the blooming season, New Zealand Iris produces small, delicate flowers which are generally white and adorned with a hint of yellow and brown markings. These blossoms are perched atop slender yet sturdy stems that gracefully rise above the foliage, giving the plant an airy, elegant look. After flowering, this plant often develops round seed capsules that add further interest to its structure. The unique coloring of its leaves and the simple charm of its blooms make New Zealand Iris a favorite among gardeners looking for plants with a strong visual impact that do not rely solely on their flowers to capture interest. Its distinctive form and the way it plays with light make it a captivating addition to any planting scheme, contributing to its popularity in ornamental gardening.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      New Zealand Iris, Orange Libertia, Tukauki, Mikoikoi

    • Common names

      Libertia peregrinans var. peregrinans, Sisyrinchium anceps.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      New Zealand iris is not commonly known as a toxic plant to humans. There is no significant evidence pointing towards its toxicity upon ingestion or contact. However, like with many plants not traditionally used as food, it is generally recommended to avoid ingesting plant parts as they could potentially cause mild stomach upset due to compounds that can be irritating to the digestive system.

    • To pets

      New Zealand iris is not commonly known to be toxic to pets, either. There are no widely recognized symptoms of poisoning from the plant, as it is not generally listed among those that are harmful to domestic animals. As with humans, it's still advisable to prevent pets from consuming plants not intended for their diet to avoid any potential stomach discomfort or other digestive issues that could arise from ingesting non-food plant material.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2 feet [60 cm]

    • Spread

      2 feet [60 cm]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      New Zealand


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Libertia peregrinans, commonly known as New Zealand Iris, has striking foliage that changes from green to orange, offering visually appealing garden displays throughout different seasons.
    • Easy Maintenance: This plant is known for being low-maintenance, requiring minimal care once established, making it ideal for busy gardeners or those new to gardening.
    • Drought Tolerance: As a plant adapted to dry conditions, New Zealand Iris is capable of surviving periods of drought, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Attracts Wildlife: The flowers of New Zealand Iris attract bees and other pollinators, supporting local biodiversity and ecological health.
    • Soil Versatility: It can grow in a variety of soil types, from sandy to loamy, allowing for flexible gardening applications.
    • Container Gardening: New Zealand Iris can be grown in pots or containers, making it a versatile choice for those with limited garden space or wanting to decorate patios and balconies.
    • Borders and Edging: The plant can be used effectively as borders or for edging paths and driveways due to its tufted growth habit.

  • 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 peregrinans, commonly known as New Zealand Iris, can be used in creating natural dye as the plant may produce distinctive colors due to the unique pigments in its foliage.
    • In landscape design, New Zealand Iris can serve as an accent plant in modern gardens due to its striking orange, green, and yellow foliage.
    • The strong, fibrous roots of New Zealand Iris can help with soil stabilization on slopes or in areas prone to erosion.
    • New Zealand Iris can be used in waterwise gardens as it is drought-tolerant once established, thus playing a role in xeriscaping.
    • The long-lasting seed heads of New Zealand Iris provide visual interest in the garden even after the plant has finished flowering, offering an aesthetic use throughout the seasons.
    • New Zealand Iris can be utilized in mixed containers where its foliage contrasts with other plants, enhancing the overall appearance of container gardens.
    • Due to its rigid form and dense clumping habit, New Zealand Iris can be used to create natural garden borders or pathways.
    • In artistic arrangements, cut stems of New Zealand Iris can add an architectural element to floral designs.
    • New Zealand Iris is sometimes incorporated into wildlife gardens as it can serve as shelter for small animals and insects amongst its dense foliage.
    • The reflective quality of the leaves of New Zealand Iris can be exploited by photographers and artists to capture interesting light and shade patterns within naturalistic compositions.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The New Zealand Iris is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The New Zealand Iris is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Persistence: Named after one of its discoverers, the German-born naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster, Libertia peregrinans (commonly known as New Zealand Iris) often symbolizes resilience and persistence because it thrives in tough conditions and rocky soils where other plants might struggle.
    • Freedom: The species name 'peregrinans' translates to 'wandering' or 'travelling,' which can evoke a sense of freedom or the concept of a journey, both physically and spiritually.
    • Adaptability: New Zealand Iris is known for its adaptability, growing in a wide range of conditions from swamps to dry soil, symbolizing versatility and the ability to thrive in various environments.
    • Independence: Its ability to grow in isolation from other plants can symbolize independence and self-reliance.
    • Unique Beauty: With its distinctive orange, bronze, or gold foliage and delicate white flowers, it represents unique beauty and stands out in any garden, symbolizing distinctness and individuality.

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

    New Zealand Iris should be watered regularly, especially during its growth season in spring and summer. It is best to water deeply, ensuring that the water reaches the roots rather than just wetting the surface. On average, watering once a week with about one to two gallons per plant should suffice, but this may vary with climate conditions and soil type. During hot spells or drought, you may need to water more frequently. It's important to allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent root rot.

  • sunLight

    New Zealand Iris thrives best in full sun to partial shade. To ensure healthy growth, position it in a spot where it will receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. However, in very hot climates, providing some afternoon shade will help to protect the plant from the intensity of the midday sun.

  • thermometerTemperature

    New Zealand Iris can survive across a range of temperatures, but ideally, it prefers a mild climate. It can tolerate temperatures down to about 15 degrees Fahrenheit but may suffer damage if the temperatures drop lower. On the upper end, it can handle high summer heat well, but continuous exposure to temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit could stress the plant. The optimal growing range is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning New Zealand Iris is mainly for aesthetic purposes and to remove dead or damaged leaves. Trim the plant in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Pruning can be done annually to maintain a tidy appearance and promote healthy growth. Use clean, sharp tools to make precise cuts and avoid tearing the leaves.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    New Zealand Iris requires well-draining soil with a slight acidic to neutral pH of around 5.5 to 7. A good mix would be composed of loamy soil, peat, and sand to ensure adequate drainage and aeration.

  • plantRepotting

    New Zealand Iris, generally, should be repotted every 2 to 3 years. If you notice that the plant is becoming root-bound or the soil is degrading, it's time to repot.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    New Zealand Iris tolerates a range of humidity conditions but prefers moderate humidity levels. There is no need for high humidity; average room humidity should suffice.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place New Zealand Iris in bright, indirect light indoors.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun to partial shade with well-draining soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      8-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Libertia peregrinans, commonly known as New Zealand Iris, begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in moist, well-draining soil during the warm seasons. Seedlings develop into clumps of narrow, upright, sword-like leaves and establish a strong root system. As the plant matures, typically in the second or third year, it produces distinctive orange-to-yellow foliage and tall stems bearing white, iris-like flowers in the spring and summer months. Following pollination, which often involves insects, the flowers develop into small capsules containing numerous seeds. These seeds disperse, usually with the help of wind or water, to start a new cycle. New Zealand Iris is a perennial plant and after flowering, it will enter a dormant phase in colder months, with growth resuming in the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to summer

    • Libertia peregrinans, commonly known as New Zealand Iris, is frequently propagated through division. This process is ideally done in late winter or early spring, as the plant is emerging from dormancy and ready to commence a new cycle of growth. To propagate New Zealand Iris by division, carefully lift the plant from the ground, ensuring a sizable amount of root comes with each clump. Using a sharp spade or knife, divide the clump into smaller sections, each with several shoots and a portion of the root system. These divisions should be replanted at the same depth they were originally growing at, spaced approximately 18 inches (around 45 centimeters) apart to allow for future growth. Water the new divisions thoroughly to help establish them. This method is straightforward and helps to rejuvenate older clumps that may have become woody or less vigorous over time.