Butterfly Iris


Butterfly iris looks great as a structural accent in sun and shade or planted in masses to define a walkway.

In the genus Dietes, and like its relatives in the genus Iris, butterfly iris has a linear, upright growth habit and underground stems.

Butterfly iris may be planted in wet areas of the garden, but will also do just fine when watered sparingly, making them a very versatile landscape choice. Plant in light shade, or in full sun for better blooms in late spring.

Growing to about 3 feet tall, plus another foot when in flower, and up to four feet wide, butterfly iris should be given plenty of space for the long-term. But that may take a few years, so consider planting annuals or other, smaller, perennials in close proximity until that time.

Hardy to Zone 8, butterfly iris will survive to temperatures to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. In areas with mild winters, it will remain evergreen, but when temperatures fall below freezing, the leaves will die back and the plant will be perennial, emerging from the ground the following spring.

If that’s the case in your area, you’ll have to shear off those dead leaves in order to reinvigorate the plant. At some point, you’ll also need to dig up and divide butterfly iris, which, if planted in a large mass, may be an overwhelming task.