July 20, 2010

My First Japanese Iris Blooms

I first planted Japanese Iris (I. ensata) in my garden three years ago, and this week I finally saw some flowers! These are definitely the largest and most flamboyant blooms I've ever seen on an iris.

The top three pictures show 'August Emporer'. I don't like a lot of bi-colored flowers, but I'm making an exception for this one. The blooms are wide (7 or 8 inches across) and flat.

Unfortunately this flower didn't last long - it only looked fresh for about a day. I guess that's why it's a Japanese iris. Japanese gardens are known for their elegant restraint, so a flower this showy must have to make up for it by being very short-lived.

Behind the 'Fire and Ice' hosta you can see the leaves of the first unnamed Japanese iris clump I planted (thanks Kathy). It hasn't shown any purple flowers yet, so I guess I need to move it out into more sun. But the leaves are very pretty.

Here is 'Momogasumi', which was advertised as being pink. Hmmm. That's not what I'd call pink, but I guess what they meant to say is that it's pinkish lavender.

I also have a start of white 'Eden's Charm', but it didn't bloom this year. Neither AE nor M nor EC are very large clumps yet. They have just a few leaves each and look rather pitiful (hence the close up camera shots).

I can't wait to see the show when the clumps mature and put out a bunch of blooms at once. I'll have to look quickly to catch them before they're gone, but they will make some nice floral fireworks for the middle of summer.


  1. My wife wants to start doing iris. I am a hosta collector, so I took notice of your Fire and Ice - looking great. Mine is not doing so well, it is on a slow decline.

  2. What a beautiful flower! The fact you had to wait 3 years for the first flowers much make it so much more special for you :-)

  3. Have you tried louisiana copper iris? I prefer it simply because these japanese irises go nutso in my garden.

  4. Worth the wait....very stunning!

    I think the voles ate all my Japanese Iris. Oh well.

  5. Wow lovely photos! I am currently planting a garden in the UK with over 500 iris siberica. Your photos have inspired me.


  6. They are really pretty! I was given some divisions of Japanese Iris and wondered how long they took to bloom. Now I know I'll need to be patient. I agree the foliage looks very nice too.

  7. Well, VW, these are nice blossoms, if not a little shy about making an appearance. I've got a variegated Japanese iris I keep in my pond year round. I really should remove it during the winter but I always seem to forget. Anyway I'm lucky to get one or two blooms. This year I got three so I understand your joy when they do bloom.

    I hope you're staying cool. Hotter than Hades over here.

  8. This is the first time that I saw Japanese Iris ones. Now, I think I would love to have one on my garden. Although you mentioned that these blooms are short-lived I still want to experience such wonder. LOL. Thanks for sharing these photos. They look so wonderful!

  9. Are these japanese irises really short-lived? Like how many months will they last? Or are they sensitive? These are really cute. actually. If I have this one, I will be the only one in the neighborhood with it. Such a cute flower.

  10. Sweet!! Nice shots, I love the Japanese Iris. This is the first year that I have gotten flowers!

    thanks for sharing,
    My Japanese Iris Pictures


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