How To Grow Reticulated Iris (Iris reticulata) In Your Garden

Iris reticulata, commonly known as the Nettled or Reticulated Iris, is a perennial bulbous plant.

Iris reticulata in bloom
Iris reticulata in bloom, picture by Alvin Kho.

This Iris Plant is native to parts of Russia, Iran, and the Caucasus.

It is a small vibrant Iris that brings life to many gardens towards the end of winter. It has early spring blooms and is easy to cultivate.

Reticulated Iris generally reaches a modest height of 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm). Plants spread to about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm).

Iris reticulata have narrow, grass-like leaves. These are a rich green color, and provide a lovely contrast to their striking flowers.

The Iris's flowers are usually purple or blue, and plants bloom in late winter to early spring.

Iris reticulata Harmony flower
Iris reticulata Harmony flower close up by Lark Ascending, Public domain.

Gardeners like to grow Iris reticulata for its hardiness and early blooms. These help to bring much-needed color to the garden at a time when most other plants are dormant.

It is suitable for USDA Zones 5 to 9. It does well in many garden locations, and makes a wonderful addition to rock gardens, borders, or grow them beneath deciduous trees.

How to Grow Iris reticulata in the Garden

To grow Iris reticulata in your garden, select a location with full sun to partial shade.

Plants prefer to grow in a well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil.

Iris reticulata Blue Note
Iris reticulata Blue Note growing in a rock garden setting. Picture by peganum; CC.

Iris reticulata is grown from bulbs. These can be planted in late summer or early fall. Plant the Iris bulbs 3 inches (7.5 cm) deep, and use a similar spacing.

Once the Reticulated Iris plants are established, they will require minimal care.

Water moderately during their growth and blooming periods. Allow the soil to dry out once the plant becomes dormant.

This plant does not typically require to be fertilized.

While Iris reticulata is generally pest-free, it may be susceptible to bulb rot if planted in waterlogged soil.

Parts of the Reticulated Iris may be toxic and harmful if consumed.

Title: Quick Iris reticulata Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Iris reticulata.

Common Names: Netted iris, Reticulate iris, Golden netted iris.

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 5-9. RHS Hardiness Rating: H6 (Hardy – Cold Winters).

Best Used For / Garden Location: Used primarily in borders, rock gardens, and containers. Prefers a sunny location.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial.

Plant Height: 4-6 inches (10-15 cm).

Plant Spread: 3-4 inches (7.5-10 cm).

Blooms: Late winter to early spring.

Flower Details: Deep blue or purple flowers, with a yellow or white crest. Flowers have a pleasant fragrance.

Leaf Foliage: Narrow, grass-like, green leaves.

Fruit: Not significant.

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Full sun to partial shade.

Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained, fertile, and slightly acidic soil.

Sowing/planting: Plant bulbs 3-4 inches deep in the autumn.

Germination time: Flowers typically appear 12-14 weeks after planting.

Propagation: Propagate by bulb division after flowering.

Plant Care: Requires minimal care, just remove spent blooms and allow leaves to die down naturally.

Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for containers. Ensure good drainage and avoid overwatering.

Growing as a House plant: Not typically grown as a houseplant.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Attracts pollinators such as bees. It is resistant to grazing by deer and rabbits. In some areas, it may naturalize and become invasive.

Pests and diseases: Generally disease-free, but watch for Iris borer, slugs, and snails.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: Iris reticulata 'Harmony' has dark blue flowers with a yellow crest. 'J.S. Dijt' has rich purple flowers and is excellent for forcing. Iris reticulata 'alida', is a dwarf Iris.

Family: Iridaceae, the Iris family.

Native: Native to Turkey, Iran, and the Caucasus mountains.

References and Further Reading: RHS Iris 'Katharine Hodgkin'; Gardener's World guide to Reticulated Irises.

Common Questions

Does Iris reticulata make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Iris reticulata can be a great addition to gardens or landscapes. Its vibrant, early-spring flowers help to provide a striking splash of color when other plants are still dormant.

Is Iris reticulata a fragrant plant?

Iris reticulata has a slight fragrance, this is sweet or honey-like, but not overly strong. Its visual appeal generally outweighs its scent.

What is the perfect location to grow Iris reticulata?

Iris reticulata thrives in a location that has full sun to partial shade. It requires a well-drained soil (to prevent bulb rot). It is perfect for rock gardens, borders, beneath trees, or even for naturalizing in grass.

Is Iris reticulata invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Iris reticulata is not usually thought of as being invasive in the USA. While it can spread and naturalize in optimal conditions, it does not tend to disrupt native plant communities.

How do I remove Iris reticulata from my garden?

To remove Iris reticulata from your garden, simply dig up the bulbs once the foliage has died back. Ensure that all bulbs are removed will prevent regrowth.


Iris reticulata, a plant native to the Russia and Caucasus region, thrives in full sun to partially shaded locations, with well-drained soil. It is a winter-hardy bulbous perennial that blossoms with vibrant, early spring flowers.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Iris reticulata. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Japanese Iris, Sisyrinchium bellum, and African Iris plants in the garden.