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Pond Iris

Last Updated: 2/21/14

View of pond facing North. Blue flag, yellow flag, and red copper iris in bloom, yellow (Chromatella) and orange (Comanche) lilies in bloom, 5/16/98.

Introduction to Water Iris
Water Iris Photos

For general information on iris, visit my pond marginals page. Iris are marginals.

For a list of some iris, see the iris list page.

To see 16 pond and iris photos and information about my repotting of three iris on 9/4/06, check out this page.

Introduction to Water Iris

Iris are hardy marginals. They are some of the easiest to keep pond plants. There are many different kinds of iris. For land iris, there are snow iris, dwarf iris, bearded iris, Siberian iris, and Japanese iris. The pond iris include flag iris and Louisiana iris. A few of the Japanese and Siberian iris and perhaps others can also survive in shallow water. Flag iris are the most aquatic and grow well in ponds. They should be planted in soil topped with pea gravel and set with shallow water over the top. They can also be planted bareroot into gravel if the gravel is exposed to the pond water (stream, holed pots, vegetative filter, bog, etc.). Some species like it just barely wet while the yellow flag iris can go up to a foot deep over the crown once it is established.

The yellow flag iris, Iris pseudacorus, grows so well that it often gets out of control. I repot my iris every two years. Even in a 4 gallon pot, a small bunch of yellow flag iris in two years normally has broken through the plastic pot in a few places and has also jumped the pot (sent runners over the top). I have planted extra yellow flag iris on land in areas that get wet when it rains (but are otherwise completely dry), and it grows there as well. You could almost say it is a weed. This is one plant that could possibly put a hole in a liner if planted over one. It is also one of the plants I have grown from seed. I let the seed pods dry naturally and split open. Then, I stored the dried seeds in a paper cup in a cool area inside over winter. The next spring, by just sprinkling some seeds around, I got a few to sprout. It turns out I did not really want them there. One in the overflow area has grown rather large. I fear it could puncture the liner as it is not potted. After it flowers each year, I cut all the vegetation down but it barely has an effect. The plant's roots are strong so it cannot be pulled. So, I leave it be.

Iris that grow well do not really need fertilizer. Often they jump the pot. Once roots are in the water, they can glean nutrition right from the water.

Blue flag iris, Iris versicolor, and purple iris, Iris tridentata are two other iris that I have. They grow well but not out of control like the yellow flag iris.

Other iris that tolerate being in water are less invasive and easy to control. Some may be rather slow growing and take time to establish themselves. The slower-growing iris are good plants to put in slow-moving streams and vegetative filters (bareroot or in gravel).

Iris should be repotted every two years in the fall. I do that in late September in Zone 6/7. Extra iris can be put back into the pond or planted on land.

See the pond plant overwintering page for information on overwintering pond iris.

Water Iris Photos

A colorific iris flower on 5/29/01.

To see some photos of terrestrial iris, go to my gardens page.

For more photos of iris (in bloom and not), see my pond pictures page. Here are a few photos from those pages.

Photos are listed from newest to oldest.

Flowering purple flag iris in the 50 gallon tub pond on 6/3/11.

Purple flag iris in bloom in the 153 gallon pond on 5/25/11.

Here are some iris in bloom on 5/21/11:
Blue flag iris in the 50 gallon tub pond. You can also see duckweed on the water's surface.
Yellow flag iris in the 20 gallon tub pond

Yellow flag iris pulled out of the 20 gallon tub pond on 3/13/11.

Purple iris blooming in the 153 gallon pond on 5/23/10. There is a lot of duckweed on the surface too.
Big pond on 5/10/10, shallow area, facing south. The yellow flag iris were in bloom.

These photos of iris are from 6/8/09:
Purple Iris Flower
Purple Iris Flowers
White Iris Flower
White Iris Flowers

More photos of the water iris from 6/5/08:
Purple and Red Iris
Close-up of Purple Iris
Purple and Red Iris

Here are some photos of the water iris taken 6/1/08:
Red (Iris fulva, right) and Yellow (left) Flag Iris - the purple iris bud can also be seen
Close- up of the Red Iris

These photos are all from 5/19/08 when the yellow flag iris were in bloom:
Pond - facing southwest, iris in bloom
Hill next to waterfall and biofilter showing terrestrial iris
Pond - facing southwest, iris in bloom
Yellow flag iris flower

These three photos from 6/2/07 are not from iris in the 1800 gallon pond. They are of iris that I transplanted from my 1800 gallon pond pots over to a low lying area in the front of the property. When I repotted the iris, I had a lot to get rid of and used to dig them into the ground out there. When it rains, that area floods but otherwise, it is dry. This last month, there has been a drought and yet the iris flowered well. The yellow flag iris in the back of the third photo have just finished flowering. I was surprised to discover a red fulva iris flower here on 6/2/07. The original plant in the pond died a few years ago so this was a nice surprise. I actually bought a new one this year but now it looks like I could dig some of this one up if I wanted to (probably will not).
Red fulva iris flower - close-up
Red fulva iris flower - close-up
Iris bed from further away

White iris in bloom on 5/27/06. This one I bought as a black gamecock iris which it obviously is not.
Colorific iris in bloom on 5/27/06.
Yellow flag iris in bloom on 5/25/06, close-up.
Yellow flag iris in bloom on 5/25/06.

Purple iris in the 153 gallon pond in bloom on 6/7/05.
Purple iris in bloom in the 153 gallon on 6/7/05.
Yellow flag iris in bloom as well as some forget-me-nots in the overflow on 5/27/05.
Blue flag iris in bloom in my 153 gallon pond on 5/27/05.
Blue flag iris in bloom, close-up, in my 153 gallon pond on 5/27/05.


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