Plant This: Amethyst Flame iris, a springtime gem


‘Amethyst Flame’ bearded iris, which I purchased on a whim from Barton Springs Nursery several years ago, produces a profusion of lovely purple flowers in early spring as reliably as clockwork.


Bearded irises grow on practically every street corner in Austin, thriving in sun or part sun and shrugging off drought, though they do perform better with some summer irrigation. You’d think such a commonplace flower wouldn’t excite me.


And yet I look forward to seeing ‘Amethyst Flame’ unfurl its jewel-toned petals every year. It celebrates spring with me.


‘Amethyst Flame’ is so prolific that I’ve divided and given away pieces of it to many a friend over the years. It makes me happy to think about it blooming in other gardens all over town.

All material © 2006-2010 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

20 Responses

  1. Cyndy says:

    Lovely captures of its inky beauty!

  2. Darla says:

    Not commonplace at all to me…Beautiful!

  3. Eric says:

    Incredible! Mine are just sprouting, and haven’t yet bloomed. Probably because this is their first season in my yard (after getting the bulbs from a nearby neighbor)

  4. Caroline says:

    That’s a beautiful iris. I have many bulbs planted in my garden, but no iris. Isn’t that odd? I must remedy this.

    I’ll dig some up for you, Caroline, after they finish blooming. —Pam

  5. That is a stunning iris! Irises are my favorites–the first flowers that really got me interested in gardening. However, here at this house, I’ve yet to plant the bearded variety! My garden is still young and I just need to figure out where to use them.

  6. Iris are one of my favorites. My mother always grew iris, and the smell will always say Spring and Easter, to me.

    I need to get some here. The deer leave my neighbor’s alone. That Amethyst one is gorgeous.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Iris are not at the top of the menu for deer. If I had less shade out front, I’d have planted some in my new bed. The next time you come to Austin, Linda, let me know and I’ll dig some up for you. —Pam

  7. Sheila says:

    Iris always excite me, no matter how easy or common they may seem, they are probably my favorite flower!

  8. Floridagirl says:

    Bearded irises are certainly not commonplace here. On the contrary, it’s quite exotic to my eyes! Beautiful specimen. Any plant that clumps that prolifically would be a favorite of mine.

  9. Beautiful iris Pam! I’ve had to give up on growing them for now…haute cuisine for gophers it seems.

  10. You know every once and a while I find myself staring at an Iris, amazed at how beautiful it is. Glad to hear you feel the same.

  11. I love Iris time! The Austin house I grew up in had some brown-peach colored Iris growing. When I was a kid I was messing around out in the garden and decided to divide them. I’m sure I dug them up at the wrong time, buried them way to deep. Anyway they never came back. I still keep an eye out for that particular color.

    Though it may not have been an auspicious beginning, I still love that you were “messing around” in the garden as a kid. Much better than watching TV! —Pam

  12. It is absolutely beautiful. I love the rich, dark color of purple in the garden.

  13. There’s nothing commonplace about an Iris. It’s lovely.

  14. Jayne says:

    Your iris is beautiful! The color is so rich. I wonder how they’d do in Houston?

    Given good drainage, I expect they would do well, Jayne. They like to sit high and dry. —Pam

  15. Jenny says:

    It is a beauty Pam. Did you bring it from your old house? To flower so quickly after being dug up gives me hope for the ones we picked up at Lucinda’s. Maybe next year.

    Yes, I divided the ones in my former garden and brought them here. They are like Old Faithful and can be counted on for a good show every year. No sign of a bloom from Lucinda’s yet, but ‘Amethyst Flame’ blooms early. There’s still hope for Lucinda’s passalongs. —Pam

  16. Lisa Blair says:

    I inherited the most beautiful purple irises when I bought my home. I’ve been trying to identify them for the longest time, and I think you just helped me with that!

    Here are some photos of mine from last year. Do you think mine could be Amethyst Flame?

    http://showerfreshgarden.blogspot.com/2009/04/april-bloom-day-one-day-late.html

    Yours does look remarkably similar, Lisa. Aren’t they pretty? Enjoy! —Pam

  17. GardenJunkie says:

    Such a beautiful color. Somehow I don’t have any bearded iris in my garden – Siberian and Japanese, but nothing with a scrubby little beard poking out. Not quite sure how that happened – I’ve had them in all of my previous gardens. It’s the almost unkillable, never stop blooming, deeply colored ones like yours that I like best – so nice to see your photos to remind me that I really must find some for my own garden this year!

  18. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Pam, like Jayne, I wonder how those would do here in Houston. Given the fact that I’ve not seen any growing in the area, the answer is probably “not well”. I guess I’ll have to make do with the Louisianas.

  19. Town Mouse says:

    I find bearded Iris sooo tempting! And this one looks like a beauty, can’t believe that color.

  20. Layanee says:

    It is definitely a beauty. Also, love the light through the trees in the previous post. The light of spring always surprises me but here, it is usually the morning light. After over nine inches of rain I am looking forward to some sun today.

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