The Douglas iris is one of the most appealing flowering perennials for use in the Western Sycamore Palette. It is a small clumping perennial with strap-like leaves, growing 12-18 in. high and spreading by rhizomes to form clumps 1-2 ft. across. Flowers are most commonly blue-purple, can reach 4 in. across and are showy in early spring. However, many cultivars are available from nurseries on a seasonal basis.
Douglas iris is a vigorous plant that naturally occurs in moist and shaded grassland slopes within the coastal ranges from Oregon to Southern California. It has proven to be highly adaptable to gardens in the Inland Empire particularly if planted in well-drained soils, with moderate amounts of supplemental water throughout summer.
Douglas iris and its cultivars are premium understory plants for borders, around rocks and in light sun and shade conditions. Established plants can tolerate some summer dryness, however, moderate moisture maintains good health and foliage character. Popular cultivars include: I. d. ‘Canyon Snow’ is a robust and popular selection that has white flowers with yellow markings; I. d. ‘Pacific Coast Hybrid’ include a variety of flower colors ranging from yellow, rose, burgundy and purple.