Alphabetical Plant Listing

Iris tenax (Toughleaf Iris)

Toughleaf Iris, Tough-leaf Iris, Oregon 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.
  • Rhizomes may be poisonous to animals & humans
  • Native to southwestern Washington, western Oregon, and northwestern California.

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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 Iris - Other
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 6" – 1' (15cm – 30cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 18" – 24" (45cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Oregon, Washington
Tolerance Deer, Drought, 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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By Robert Mutch, Flickr

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.


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 Iris - Other
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 6" – 1' (15cm – 30cm)
Spread 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spacing 18" – 24" (45cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Pacific Northwest, Oregon, Washington
Tolerance Deer, Drought, Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds and Borders, Edging
Garden Styles Gravel and Rock Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

Guides with Iris - Other

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