Japanese Iris

Iris ensata
Iris ensata

Iris ensata

Japanese iris (water iris) are a large flowered ‘ iris that generally have been bred from the species ‘Iris ensata’.

In Japan three strains are cultivated, Edo, Higo and Ise. In the US it is the Higo and Edo strains that are the parents of most of the cultivars we see today.

Iris ensata are not actually a ‘water iris’, although in warmer climates they will grow in water, they do however like a moist soil and full sun.

Japanese Iris Care

Japanese Iris will require a moist soil and regular feeding, we prefer a balanced slow release fertilizer applied before flowering. They will grow well in the perennial border and will thrive near a water source. They do not however cope with freeing winter conditions, especially in water.

Plants do not over winter well in boggy soils, many gardeners grow them in containers which are placed in the water in late winter to spring, and then over wintered out of the water.


These are an plant that should be divided and replanted every 2-3 years, this is best done in fall to early winter. A humus rich moist fertile soil is the best growing medium for Japanese iris


  • Height : 3 ft – 4ft
  • Growth : Moderate once established
  • Flower color : From close to pure white to blue and deep purple, all with a splash of yellow on the falls.
  • Foliage : Usually green sword shaped
  • Flowering period : Spring to summer, later in cooler areas
  • Seasonal interest : Spring to Summer
  • Landscaping uses : Garden borders, containers and general uses
  • Soil Requirements : Moist soil, neutral to slightly acidic ph
  • Position : Full sun to light afternoon shade


Huge number of cultivars some of the popular varieties include :

  • Iris ensata Lion King
  • Iris ensata Royal Banner
  • Iris ensata Crystal Halo
  • Iris ensata Royal robes
  • Iris ensata Temple Bells
  • Iris ensata Pink Lady
  • Iris ensata Eileen’s Dream

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Japanese Iris are available for sale from the following growers

WHITE FLOWER FARM phone 1-800-503-9624

STOUT GARDENS – 405-642-4190
432 NE 70th St
Oaklahoma City, OK 73105

SCHRIENER’S IRIS GARDENS phone 800-525-2367
3625 Quanaby Road N.E
Salem OR, 97303 USA

PINE KNOT FARMS phone 434-252-0768 681
Rockchurch Road, Clarksville
Virginia 23927 USA