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Iris tenax (Toughleaf Iris)

Toughleaf Iris, Tough-leaf Iris, Oregon Iris

Iris tenax, Toughleaf Iris, Tough-leaf Iris, Oregon Iris, Purple Iris
Iris tenax, Toughleaf Iris, Tough-leaf Iris, Oregon Iris, Purple Iris

Floriferous and resilient, Iris tenax (Toughleaf Iris) is a slowly spreading rhizomatous evergreen perennial forming large, attractive clumps of tough, grass-like, light green leaves. In mid-spring to early summer, a profusion of purple to lavender-blue flowers, 3-5 in. wide (7-12 cm), often with yellow and white marking on the falls, appear just above the foliage. The flowers of this species show considerable variation in color as white, cream, and yellow variants also occur. They usually occur singly but sometimes in pairs. Very handsome and undemanding, Toughleaf Iris is great for rockeries, along the edge of gravel paths, or the front of the perennial border. It also enjoys meadow settings and can be used to edge woodland borders. Once established it will tolerate drought and gently reseed.

  • Grows up to 6-12 in. tall (25-30 cm) and 24 in wide (60 cm). Does not spread quickly, but will form large clumps.
  • Performs best in full sun to light shade in moist to dry, well-drained soils. This iris is not fussy about soil types, as long as they are well-drained. Wet feet will kill this plant. Drought tolerant once established.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • Propagate by seed. This iris resents root disturbance during its dormant season in summer.
  • All parts may cause discomfort if ingested. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling.
  • Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to horses.
  • Native to southwestern Washington, western Oregon, and northwestern California.

Irises: How to Grow and Care with Success

Want to learn how to grow and care for irises like a pro? Follow these simple steps and enjoy the beauty of these striking plants


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Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 9
Heat Zones 5 - 9
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Iridaceae
Genus Iris other species
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 6" - 1'
(20cm - 30cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 18" - 24"
(50cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants California, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, United States, Washington
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Edging
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Iris virginica var. shrevei, Shreve's Iris, Virginia Iris, Southern Blue Flag, Blue Flag, Iris virginica 'Shrevii', Iris shrevei, Iris versicolor var. blandescens, Iris versicolor var. shrevei, Iris for Ponds, Perennial for wet soil, Perennial for poorly drained soils, Purple Flowers
Iris latifolia, English Iris, Iris anglica, Iris argentea, Iris cepifolia, Iris pyrenaica, Iris xiphioides, Purple Flowers, Purple Iris, Blue Iris
Iris lactea, White-flowered iris, Milky Iris, White-flowered Chinese Iris, Blue Flowers, Blue Iris, White Iris
Iris chrysographes, Gold-Marked Iris, Black Iris,  Water Iris, Iris for Ponds, Perennial for wet soil, Perennial for poorly drained soils, Black FlowersAGM Award
Iris macrosiphon, Long Tubed Iris, Bowltube Iris, Ground Iris, Iris amabilis, Iris californica, California Native Plants, California Native Perennials
Iris hexagona, Dixie Iris, Carolina Iris, Water Iris, Bog Iris, Iris for Ponds, Perennial for wet soil, Perennial for poorly drained soils, Blue Iris, Lavender Iris
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 9
Heat Zones 5 - 9
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Iridaceae
Genus Iris other species
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 6" - 1'
(20cm - 30cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 18" - 24"
(50cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants California, Oregon, Pacific Northwest, United States, Washington
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Edging
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Learn Now
Guides with
Iris other species
Not sure which Iris other species to pick?
Compare Now

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