The iris family is very large with over 300 species, but only a few like the Dutch Iris or Bearded Iris (Iris germanica) are used as cut flowers. In this page we will deal with the popular Dutch iris as this is by far the most commonly sold iris cut flower. Flowers are blue, white or yellow with one flower per stem, each made of 3 sepals that unfurl and droop as the flower opens. The deep blue colour of this iris is very rare in the world of cut flowers, which explains to a large degree its consistent popularity.
Iris are grown from bulbs, mostly in glasshouses. They flower normally in winter, and are grown as field crops at this time of the year. In the warmer months bulbs are forced into flower in coolrooms and grown in cooled or shaded glasshouses. Because of its requirement for cool temperatures, most iris are grown in the hills close to Melbourne or in Tasmania.
Language: Your friendship means so much to me, faith, hope, wisdom & valor, my compliments
Birth Flower: February
What to look for
● Flowers that are pencil-shaped and colour is clearly visible beneath the sheath;
● The first sepal should be just starting to unfurl;
● In winter buy bunches with more open flowers, particularly in blue varieties;
● Avoid bunches with yellow or dried tips on the leaves.
- Keep cool at all times.
- Strip leaves from the lower half of each stem and wash the stem ends.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each stem with sharp secateurs and place in water immediately.
- Never bash or split stems.
- Preservative is not needed; use a little chlorine only.
- Replace water every day.
- Iris is mildly sensitive to ethylene. Keep them away from fruit, car exhausts and cigarette smoke.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
In Greek mythology, Iris was the messenger of the gods who communicated messages with rainbows, the bridge between heaven and earth. The iris is the symbol of communication and the name itself means “rainbow”.
In some languages, irises are called flags or sword flags, relating them to symbols of heraldry and royalty, hence the original “Fleur de lys” of heraldry. King Chlodwig I allegedly received this ‘fleur de lys’, as it is called in heraldic language, from an angel. But in actual fact his flower wasn’t a lily, as the name implies, but an iris. The motif made its way to the coat of arms of the Medici family, and from there on to the arms of Florence and Tuscany.
In the Language of Flowers, blue iris means ‘you mean so much to me’, while yellow iris means ‘passion’.
Botanical Name: Iris hybrida
Common Names: Dutch Iris
Stem Length: 30 to 70 cm
Country of Origin: Europe
Available Colours: Blue, White, Yellow