Algerian Iris Info: Learn How To Grow An Algerian Iris Flower

Purple Ombre Algerian Iris Flower in Long Green Grass
algerian iris
(Image credit: igaguri_1)

If you think that iris plants are alike, the Algerian iris plant (Iris unguicularis) will definitely prove you wrong. Instead of blooming in summer, Algerian iris bulbs produce flowers in winter, when few other flowers are open. This lovely little flower is native to the hot regions of Tunisia, Turkey, and Greece. Read on for more Algerian iris information, including tips on how to grow an Algerian iris.

What is an Algerian Iris?

An Algerian iris is unlike any other iris plant in your garden in that it is winter blooming. The Algerian iris plant starts out slowly as it produces an evergreen mound of narrow, arching, grass-like foliage.

Then, starting in late fall, you will delight in its lovely flowers. Algerian iris bulbs produce small, lovely lilac blue flowers with a yellow throat. The flower stalks are not tall. Sometimes, they clear the foliage mound but sometimes blossoms appear beneath the foliage swords.

If you want to enjoy their lovely fragrance indoors, you can cut the stalk when the flower buds and watch it open up in a vase.

How to Grow an Algerian Iris

So, where can you grow Algerian iris bulbs? This type of iris is best suited to areas with mild winters. The Algerian iris grows well on the West Coast as well as in the Gulf states.

Generally, an Algerian iris does best in a hot garden area. Select a site that gets full sun. You might plant them near a wall to help maintain the soil’s heat and protect them from unexpected frosts. That said, these make great plants for a woodland garden in partial shade too.

Ideally, you should plant them in a location where you can appreciate the flowers in winter and early spring then ignore the plants the remainder of the year.

Bulbs of this plant grow happily in neutral or alkaline soil. They prefer dry soil and are drought tolerant, however, don’t neglect to give these iris plants an occasional drink. Once the blossoms are spent, cut the iris plants back.

Algerian iris plants do not like being disturbed so only divide them if it is absolutely necessary. Late summer is the best time to undertake this task.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.