Iris versicolor

Northern Blue Flag Iris, Iris versicolor is a showy, moisture loving, wetland species. Use it in a rain garden as a natural way to soak up water in low lying areas or to add interest along a pond or other water feature. Most animals, such as deer, tend to avoid eating this plant, yet its showy flowers will bring pollinators to your property. It is specifically known to attract hummingbirds.

Wildlife Value: Blue flag irises are a host plant for 13 species of Lepidoptera larvae, including the gorgeous Virginia ctenucha moth. The Blue Flag Iris’s roots protect shorelines of rivers and lakes. Many bugs such as bumblebees, skipper butterflies, moths, etc are attracted to the flower, though do not always transfer pollen.

Medicinal, Edible, and Other Uses: The poisonous rhizome was used by colonists, with guidance from Native Americans, for various healing purposes. The roots have been used for medicines that treat skin infections, syphillis, dropsy, and stomach problems. Today, it’s used to purge the liver.


SPECS: Genus: Iris ; Species: Versicolor; Plant Type: Wildflower; Life Cycle: Perennial; Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade; Soil Moisture: Wet, Medium Wet; Height: 2′ — 3′; Spread: 3′; Plant Spacing: 1′ — 2′; Bloom Time: May — July; Bloom Color: Blue, Purple; Advantages: Birds, Erosion control, Grassland restoration, Medicinal uses, Perfect for rain garden, Pollinator conservation, Pollinators, Showy; USDA Zone: 3 — 9; Attracts: Bumblebees, Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Long-tongued bees, Skippers, Small black bees, Songbirds; Tolerant: Wet soils; Plant Community: Here;s what goes well with Iris versicolor: New York aster (Aster novi-belgii), Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), Bristly sedge, Longhair sedge (Carex comosa), Fringed sedge (Carex crinita), Lurid sedge (Carex lurida), Palm sedge (Carex muskingumensis), Tussock sedge (Carex stricta) & Turtlehead (Chelone glabra);