Iris japonica

Iris japonica

Iris japonica is a rhizomatous plant and a variety of iris, which is part of the Iridaceae family. It is a vigorous, perennial and evergreen plant that has a dense foliage of light and bright green color: it has an elegant and arched posture and in spring it produces large and beautiful flowers of various colors, yellow, white, lilac, and with petals. very large and decorative. Iris japonica prefers semi-shady locations and rich soils, which must be kept moist and fresh starting from spring. Until the end of the summer, it is also necessary to give it a specific fertilizer on a regular basis. The full bloom of this beautiful plant, which reaches a maximum of 55 centimeters in height, can be admired in May, when it is loaded with magnificent flowers. This variety goes well with Acanthus,

Iris japonica origins and varieties

Iris is a flowering plant that is widespread throughout the northern hemisphere, both in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. However, iris japonica, as its name suggests, is native to Japan, although it is now grown everywhere. There are more than two hundred species and the japonica is among the most widespread and loved for the particular beauty of its flowers. There are rhizomatous irises and bulbous irises, japonica belongs to the latter category. All irises produce erect stems on which these large flowers bloom, formed by three sepals which tend downwards, and three petals which instead face upwards. On the sepals many species have a particular down and for this they take the name of barbata, but the iris japonica is not among them. In each species the shape and direction of sepals and petals can vary, but all are brightly colored, often spotted or streaked to attract pollinating insects. Some species of iris produce flowers since winter, such as reticulated iris.

Iris japonica cultivation

In general, iris loves sunny locations. The japonica variety, however, also grows well in partial shade, indeed, it prefers it, in fact it can also be planted under larger plants that keep it away from direct sunlight. This species is a rhizomatous, crested iris with fringed petals that produces many flowers, over fifteen on a single stem. The plant reaches a maximum of thirty centimeters in height and stolons also grow there from which many new plants often originate. The stems are very branched; the flowers can be of various colors if they are hybrids, but pure japonica has three pinkish and crested sepals with purple dots and yellow or orange central lines. The central petals are always white or pink. This species remains green even in winter and blooms earlier than other irises. It can be grown in pot as long as the container is large enough; it must be watered regularly only in the summer months.


The iris and, among the various species, also the japonica, is a plant that has taken on different meanings and uses throughout history. In ancient Egypt, for example, the iris was associated with the god Horus and was therefore a symbol of divine power. It is no coincidence that it is often represented on the walls of Egyptian temples. In Greek mythology, however, the iris was associated with the rainbow, therefore with the link between gods and men. Iris was also called the daughter of a titan and a nymph who became the messenger of Zeus. In the Arab world it is an ancient custom to plant iris near the graves of warriors who died in battle. The iris was then used in many ways: the Egyptians extracted an aromatic oil used in religious rites; Dioscorides, in his treatise on medicine, prescribed iris to treat ulcers, coughs and fever; the Romans used iris to combat skin irritations and aging. Some species of iris, including japonica, are finally used to produce perfumes all over the world.

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