Unusual Iris Bulbs: 5 Unusual And Rare Iris Plants You Should Try Growing

Siberian iris
(Image credit: Photography by Alison Dunn / Getty Images)

As with many ornamental plants found in the flower garden, novice growers and collectors alike are always on the look-out for rare and hard to find cultivars of plants. Various types of iris flowers are certainly no exception, and many growers have amassed impressive colorful green spaces filled with these plants. Learning more about the need to preserve rare iris plants will be imperative to the plants' survival.

Growing Heirlooms

In recent years, the need to save various heirloom varieties of fruits, vegetables, and flowers has come to the forefront of garden related news. These cultivars are especially important in the introduction of new hybrids; as they offer a wider range of genetic diversity which breeders can use to promote plant vigor, resistance to disease, and even adaptability to specific climates. 

Learning to grow irises that replenish rare plant stock in gardens can be difficult and time consuming. However, thanks to the restoration efforts of dedicated volunteers, many once scarce and unusual iris bulbs/rhizomes have been reintroduced to the public for growth in our own gardens. 

Rare Breeds

  • Indian Chief Iris - Dating back to 1929, these rare iris plants are among one of the most colorful and visually appealing cultivars of heirloom iris. This flower is prized for its dark burgundy falls and unique shades, and its yellow and pink standard regions.
  • Loreley Iris - Yet another showy heirloom for those wishing to grow irises in garden beds, Loreley irises are recognized for their elegant purple-plum falls, which are striped with intense veining. Standards of this variety range in color from light to vibrant shades of yellow. 
  • Swerti Iris - Dating back to 1612, this iris is certain to make an interesting visual statement in the garden. With a sweet grape fragrance, this heirloom white iris features appealing purple edging on both the falls and the standards of the flowers. The falls of the flower also curl slightly to create an interesting ruffled appearance. 
  • Crimson King Iris - Immensely fragrant, Crimson King iris flowers are mostly solid purple blooms. Flower signal regions vary, but most commonly range in color from white to whitish-yellow. This variety of iris is also unique in its ability to bloom in the fall, depending upon the garden growing zone. 
  • Demi-Deuil Iris - A truly beautiful rare iris plant, this Victorian flower consists of white petals with intense dark purple veining throughout both the falls and the standard. Flower signal regions glow a beautiful yellow-bronze color, which only emphasize its dramatic appearance.
Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has trasformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/@tonyawiththeflowers.