How to Identify a Bearded Iris

Written by kathryn hatter
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How to Identify a Bearded Iris
Look closely to identify a bearded iris. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The regal elegance of bearded irises in a sunny growing area appeals to many gardeners. Available in a variety of different colours, bearded irises provide beautiful blooms in late spring to decorate a flower bed. Examine iris blooms carefully to identify a bearded iris. The bearded iris variety earned its name, setting it apart from other iris varieties in a special way.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Examine the iris blooms. Iris blooms all have six petals with the same basic standards and falls. The standards are the three petals that rise upright on the blossom. The falls are the three petals that hang around the edges of the blossom.

  2. 2

    Look for the key characteristic that identifies and sets bearded irises apart from other iris varieties. Bearded irises have a fuzzy little "beard" protruding from the centre of the blossoms, lying at the top centre of each fall. They resemble pipe cleaners or chenille stems. The colour of the beards often contrasts with the petal colour.

  3. 3

    Note the height of bearded irises. Bearded irises may fall into several different categories, including miniature dwarf (less than 8 inches tall), standard dwarf (between 8 and 15 inches tall), intermediate, border or miniature tall (between 16 and 27 inches tall), and tall (between 28 and 38 inches tall). The shorter varieties generally have smaller blooms than the taller varieties do.

  4. 4

    Watch for bearded iris plants to bloom during the spring with one blossom at the top of each long stem. Bearded iris foliage is long and slender with medium green colour.

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