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Iris unguicularis - The Algerian Iris

Algerian Iris

The first time I ever noticed an Algerian Iris was in late winter just after we have moved house. Here was this pretty little flower growing in the driest, most neglected piece of soil you could imagine. Moving on 20 years it is still growing happily.

The early flowering Algerian Iris has been through a few name changes, now Iris unguicularis formerly I. Stylosa. Not matter what you call it it, the Algerian Iris is one of those delights that flowers in winter to early spring, depending a little on the climate.

It is a ‘no fuss’ plant and with attractive mauve to lilac flowers held down amongst the long strappy foliage it is one of those plants that will grow and flower year after year with little to no attention.


Best planted in early spring or autumn, and if you must divide it, then be prepared for a lack of flowers, this is another of those plants that puts up the ‘do not disturb’ sign. We prefer to dive them in autumn as they are in active growth at this time.

Container growing Algerian Iris.

Simply use a lean potting soil, water in with a liquid seaweed fertiliser and then leave them alone. You will need to watch moisture levels. Good drainage is essential, however in summer a little water may be required, no plants like a desiccated soil.


  • Height : 18 inches
  • Growth : Rate Slow from seed, moderate once established
  • Flower color : Blue buds opening to lavender blue
  • Foliage : Green and strappy to arching.
  • Flowering period : Winter to spring.
  • Seasonal interest : Early flowers
  • Landscaping uses : Garden borders, containers and general uses
  • Soil Requirements : Well drained, not nutrient rich
  • Position : Full sun to light afternoon shade

Where to buy

Iris unguicularis is 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