Perfect for a sunny garden, iris plants produce spectacular flowers from late spring into summer, depending on the type. Finding unique companion plants for iris is easy when pairing them with other plants requiring similar growing environments.
There are multiple companion plants for iris flowers. Similar growing requirements and extra color during and after your iris have flowered make the following seven plants some of the best companion plants for your iris: columbine, salvia, peonies, lupines, allium, daylilies, and oriental poppies.
7 Amazing Iris Companion Plants
Iris plants prefer full to partial sunlight, well-draining, moist soils, and USDA hardiness zones 3 – 9, depending on the variety of iris. Their flower colors range from blue, purple, white, pink, red, yellow, orange, and multiple bicolor options.
On average, the iris blooms for about two weeks, usually in late spring or early summer.
When planning companion plants for your iris, keep in mind how they’ll enhance your iris garden. Here are some quick ideas:
- complementing colors while in bloom
- adding color when they are not in bloom
- giving texture and contrast to your iris foliage
1. Columbine (Aquilegia spp.)
Columbine is a herbaceous perennial that likes full to partial sunlight and moist but well-drained soils and thrives in USDA hardiness zones 3 – 8. They grow 1 – 3 feet tall and 1 – 2 feet wide.
Most varieties produce long spur-like flowers with narrow strips streaming horizontally from each flower’s back. They flower from spring to summer for approximately four weeks, producing colors that include orange, red, pink, yellow, white, violet, purple, and blue.
Columbine plants have a much daintier appearance than the iris, which produces a lovely contrast when you plant the two plants alongside one another. Growing your columbines in front of your iris will allow your columbine flowers to be much more noticeable, giving your garden that extra edge.
2. Salvia (Salvia spp.)
Salvia is a large genus that includes over 1000 species. Most salvias are long flowering, have a pleasant scent, and are attractive to butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Salvia flowers produce purple, blue, red, pink, yellow, and white flowers.
When choosing the right salvia to plant as a companion for your iris, make sure they share similar growing conditions. Examples of these include:
- Scarlet sage: Can grow as an annual in USDA zones 3 – 9 and prefer full to partial sun. Here’s how to grow sage.
- Mealycup sage: Can grow as an annual in USDA zones 3 – 6 and as a perennial in 7 – 9. They prefer full to partial sunlight.
- Texas sage: They can be grown as an annual in USDA hardiness zones 3 – 9, and they prefer full to partial sunlight.
- Woodland sage: Prefers USDA hardiness zones 4 – 8 and full sunlight.
- Common sage: Prefers USDA hardiness zones 4 – 8 and full sunlight.
Salvia will add extra color to your iris garden with its long-lasting flowers. With similar growing requirements, iris and salvia are excellent companion plants. The salvia will bloom even after the iris has stopped, giving you a longer flowering time to appreciate it.
3. Peonies (Paeonia Officinalis)
Peonies are amazing spring bloomers that produce showy, large blooms with heady aromas. They have flowers that range in color from pink, white, red, rose, coral, and deep purple. These plants prefer full sun and well-draining soils and grow optimally in USDA hardiness zones 3 – 9, variety depending. Depending on your chosen variant, peonies bloom from late spring to late summer.
Depending on which variants you select, you can opt to have peonies and iris of a similar height once they mature. The peonies’ shrub-like appearance creates a beautiful contrast to the thick grassy leaves of the iris. These two plants will also bloom at approximately the same time, offering an extra wow factor for your garden.
4. Lupines (Lupinus x hybrida)
Lupines are celebrated spring bloomers that produce impressive spikes of color. Their foliage appears as palm leaves with approximately 7 – 10 leaflet segments.
These plants prefer full sunlight, and moist, rich, well-drained soils and grow optimally in USDA hardiness zones 4 – 8. They produce white, red, pink, blue, yellow, bicolor, and purple flowers.
Lupines and iris have similar growing requirements making caring for the two plants simultaneously an easy affair. The different flowers of these two plants allow for beautiful contrast and add extra beauty to your garden, making them excellent choices for companion plants.
5. Allium (Allium spp.)
Commonly referred to as ornamental onions, alliums are beautiful plants that produce round flower heads with dozens of little star-shaped flowers. Growing 1 – 4 feet tall and 3 – 10 inches wide, these plants prefer full sun and well-draining soils, and they grow optimally in USDA hardiness zones 4 – 10.
They bloom in spring, with some variants blooming in fall. The flowers they produce come in various colors, including purple, pink, white, yellow, and green.
With so many options available in each plant type, you can choose which color flowers you would like to pair with one another. The combination of iris and allium is lovely, especially when they flower together at the end of spring. With similar growing requirements, these two plants make beautiful companion plants.
6. Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.)
Daylilies are easy-to-grow perennials that are ideal for edging and borders. They produce beautiful spring to late summer flowers in colors that include orange, red, yellow, pink, and purple, just like the iris does. These plants prefer full sun but are tolerant of a bit of shade, any soil type, and grow optimally in USDA hardiness zones 3 – 10.
Daylilies bloom into late summer, long after iris have stopped for the season. This extra flowering will give your garden color for longer. These two plants share similar growing requirements and their different flowering times make them excellent choices for companion planting, as the daylilies will continue to give your garden color even once their companions are no longer flowering.
Here are 21 beautiful companion plants for daylilies.
7. Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale)
Oriental poppies produce brightly colored flowers in crepe paper-styled textures. These herbaceous perennials grow lovely foliage in spring and bloom in late spring and summer in whites, reds, pinks, oranges, and purples. They prefer full sunlight and well-drained, moist soils and grow optimally in USDA hardiness zones 3 – 9.
These two plants share similar growing requirements, which aids in their ability to be excellent companion plants. You can plant your oriental poppies in front of your taller iris, allowing you to showcase their different textures.
You can choose similar flower colors when selecting the variants you want or go for colors that differ to add extra color to your garden.
So, What Are The Best Companion Plants For Iris Flowers?
There are many varieties of iris, all of which produce beautiful flowers. When selecting which plants you will plant with your iris, ensure that you choose plants with similar growing requirements and those that will give your iris garden a bit more color and texture.
Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check your her books below: