Rainbow Blooms Meanings and Symbolisms of Iris Flowers

Rainbow Blooms: Meanings and Symbolisms of Iris Flowers

The iris has enchanted cultures around the world for centuries and carries significant symbolism. In this article, we’ll explore this symbolic significance. 

We’ll also talk about where they came from, what each hue means, how they’re used in different cultures, their meanings in tattoos, and when it’s appropriate to gift them.

Whether you are an avid gardener or just curious about the deeper meanings behind irises, this article will help you better understand these fascinating flowers.

How did the iris flower get its name?

How did the iris flower get its name

The iris flower derives its name from the Greek word “iris,” which literally translates to “rainbow.” Because the irises come in such diverse colors, the flower was given its name.

The vivid colors, including blue, purple, white, yellow, pink, and even brown, found in iris flowers are reminiscent of the brilliant arc of a rainbow, leading to the flower’s association with the Greek word “iris” and the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris.

What is the botanical origin of the iris flower?

What is the botanical origin of the iris flower

Iris is a genus that belongs to the Iridaceae family. The genus comprises about 310 species and was first discovered in Europe.

The flower was soon brought to other parts of the world. Today, it’s mainly cultivated and grown in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Among these 310 species, the most popular are the Iris germanica (Bearded Iris), the Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris), the Iris hollandica (Dutch Iris), the Iris ensata (Japanese Iris), the Iris versicolor (Northern Blue Flag Iris), and the Iris cristata (Crested Iris).

Where do iris flowers grow?

Iris flowers grow mostly in the Northern Hemisphere. Many of them are native to Europe, Asia, and North America.

Though adaptable, they’re most commonly found in dry, semi-arid climates. Some iris flowers can also be found in some wet areas like meadows, bogs, and riverbanks.

What kind of soil do iris flowers prefer? 

Iris flowers generally prefer loamy, well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter and has a pH level ranging from 6 to 7.5, depending on the species you’re planting.

Consider adding compost, well-rotted manure, or leaf mold to the soil to boost soil structure, moisture retention, and nutrient availability.

Additionally, lime and wood ash may be used to bring down the pH, while sulfur and organic matter can be used to bring it up if you’re having trouble finding a spot with the right pH level.

Do iris flowers require maintenance?

Iris flowers don’t require a lot of maintenance, especially bearded iris.

When do iris flowers bloom?

Iris flowers typically bloom in late spring to early summer, depending on the specific iris variety and the climate in which they are grown. The blooming period can vary between different iris species and cultivars.

Bearded iris flowers usually bloom in late spring to early summer, while Siberian irises bloom in mid to late spring, extending into early summer.

Japanese irises also bloom in summer, just in the latter part of the season. Bulbous irises like Dutch iris flowers, though, bloom in late spring.

Some iris varieties also have a second blooming period during fall.

When is the best time to plant iris flowers?

The best time to plant iris flowers is in late summer to early fall. Planting during this time allows the iris flowers to establish their root systems before the frost comes.

However, gardeners from areas that experience harsh summers recommend planting iris flowers during early spring. This is to allow the irises to settle before the hot summer weather comes.

Where do iris flowers bloom?

Iris flowers bloom best in areas that receive full sun exposure. Unless the climate is extremely hot, full sun is better for the irises.

If you live in an area that experiences harsh summer, consider adding some shade to your irises.

What do iris flowers mean?

What do iris flowers mean

Iris flowers generally symbolize royalty, bravery, hope, faith, and wisdom. However, some colors of the flower may carry a more specific and deeper meaning.

You can find them in many coats of arms of monarchs and armors of many armies, displaying their courage to fight for their country and people.

Irises also symbolize the hope and promise of springtime, even in the depths of winter. Their bright petals fade when winter sets in, but they come back to life each spring, like how we can always stand again after any setback life throws at us.

What do the colors of iris flowers mean?

What do the colors of iris flowers mean
BlueBlue irises symbolize trust, faith, and hope. Its cool and serene color is a great reminder that there’s light and calm after the storm.

Recommended use: You can show your support to a friend who’s going through a hard time by giving them these flowers.

They also make excellent gifts for your lover who’s been with you for a long time.

PurpleOne of the most common iris colors, purple irises symbolize royalty, wisdom, courage, and strength.

Recommended use: Purple irises would be great Mother’s Day gifts, as they’re great reminders of a mother’s grace, wisdom, and strength.

They’re also the official flowers for 25th wedding anniversaries. If you’re celebrating 25 years of love with your spouse or know someone who is celebrating their anniversary, these flowers would be great gifts.

YellowYellow flowers are usually used to symbolize friendship and joy, but yellow irises have a more intense symbolism. They represent passion and devotion.

Recommended use: Avoid giving them to friends because they might take it differently. Instead, give them to your partner as a birthday or Valentine’s gift.

WhiteWhite flowers are typically used to symbolize purity, sympathy, and innocence. The same is true with white irises.

Their delicate appearance reminds us of purity, cleanliness, and peace.

Recommended use: They’d make great congratulatory gifts to someone who just welcomed a baby. They can also make wedding ceremonies look extra special.

Pink IrisPink irises symbolize love, whether romantic or not.

Recommended use: They’re a great way to express your love to someone special or family members.

They also mean deep friendship and understanding, so you can also give them to your best friends.

OrangeOrange irises represent courage and bravery. Their strong and vibrant colors can also symbolize excitement.

Recommended use: Consider giving them to someone who just moved to a new home or someone who recently started a job or business to express your excitement for their new ventures.

RedRed irises are often associated with romantic love, like most red flowers.

Recommended use: They can be a great anniversary or just gifts to your partner if you’re tired of the typical red roses.

BrownBrown irises are quite uncommon, but they do exist. Their natural and earthy color symbolizes warmth, stability, and security.

Recommended use: Consider giving them to your parents or lover to let them know you appreciate the warmth they give you.

BlackBlack irises are rare beauties that hold a lot of symbolism.

Recommended use: They can mean elegance and mystery, so they can be used to decorate homes or formal parties.

They can also mean rebellion and betrayal, so be careful when giving them to someone.

What are the cultural associations of the iris flower?

What are the cultural associations of the iris flower

Iris flowers are more than just a bundle of colorful petals. They hold significance in different cultures and have been part of the traditions of many.

Below are some of the cultural significance these beautiful flowers hold.

Victorian EnglandDuring the Victorian era, floriography was very popular. Flowers carried specific meanings and were used to send secret and silent messages.

Among these flowers were irises. The iris was used to symbolize faith, admiration, hope, and courage.

Since the irises come in different colors, each color was given a specific meaning. These representations are still used today.

Ancient GreekIn Greek Mythology, there’s a goddess called Iris who is known to be the messenger of the Olympian gods.

The goddess Iris is known to escort the dead to their destination. Hence, the Ancient Greeks used irises for funerals and graves.

They planted irises on gravesites as a call for the goddess. They believed that doing so would help their loved ones to safely arrive in the afterlife.

To this day, many Greeks still plant iris flowers in the family members’ grave as a tradition.

FranceMany believe that the fleur-de-lis often seen in France’s heraldry is designed after an iris flower, despite it being named after lily flowers.

This is because the French used to live around a yellow iris-bordered river in Flanders named Lys. Historians believe that the kings chose iris flowers as a symbol for their coat of arms since it was a familiar flower to them.

The design also looks very similar to an iris, with two drooping petal-like spikes on the side and an upright spike in the middle.

Ancient EgyptIris and lily were used to symbolize thunder, the destructive power of Horus, the god of heaven and light. Ancient Egyptians believed that this power of Horus is used for protection.

As such, irises became a symbol of power and protection to the Ancient Egyptians. They decorated their pharaohs’ graves with these flowers to protect them and preserve their power for their next life.

Ancient ChinaIrises were believed to protect homes and keep negative energy away in Ancient China. This is still widely believed in China today.

Irises are also sometimes described as “the purple butterfly” in China because of their resemblance to butterflies.

JapanIris is revered as a sign of strength, kindness, and purity in Japan. It’s often associated with cleansing negative energy and providing security.

Many Japanese gift iris flowers to people who are going through a rough patch and need support and positive energy.

Irises are also commonly used in Japanese art and paintings. Many of their kimonos also have irises because of the flower’s positive symbolism.

Iris Tattoo Meaning

Iris Tattoo Meaning

An iris flower is a popular tattoo choice. Some get them simply for aesthetic purposes, while some use them as a representation of their beliefs and experiences.

An iris flower tattoo generally symbolizes passion, wisdom, greatness, hope, and faith. However, the meaning can change depending on how it’s tattooed and what it’s paired with.

Here are some of the popular iris flower tattoo choices and their meanings:

Iris and Butterfly Tattoo

Iris and Butterfly Tattoo

Iris flowers symbolize hope and faith. When this flower is paired with a butterfly, it can show your hope for freedom, new beginnings, and peace.

It can also be a tattoo with a religious meaning, as some get it to represent their faith in God.

Iris and Hummingbird Tattoo

Iris and Hummingbird Tattoo

An iris with a hummingbird tattoo symbolizes one’s determination to reach their dreams.

Permanently tattooing it on one’s skin can show your conviction that you will succeed in pursuing your passion.

Minimalist Iris Tattoo

Minimalist Iris Tattoo

This specific tattoo style symbolizes one’s desire for greatness. It also represents one’s faith in God.

Van Gogh Iris Tattoo

Van Gogh Iris Tattoo

A Van Gogh iris tattoo is a popular tattoo because of its symbolism and aesthetic. It symbolizes one’s pursuit of greatness and unbending faith in yourself.

Black and Grey Iris Tattoo

Black and Grey Iris Tattoo

A black and grey iris tattoo is often tattooed on a person who wants to gain wisdom. 

Moreover, a lot of people get this tattoo as a reminder of their goals.

Watercolor Iris Tattoo

Watercolor Iris Tattoo

A watercolor iris tattoo can be used to show the world your passion for art. Because of its aesthetic value, it’s regarded as a great symbol of one’s love for art and artistic talent.

It can also be a symbol of passionate and unmoving love. People usually pair this with their lover’s name when they want to confess their love.

Iris and Sunflower Tattoo

Iris and Sunflower Tattoo

Another tattoo that can show your determination and faith is an iris and sunflower tattoo. This represents your belief that God will help you succeed in life.

What are the uses of the iris flower?

Use of Iris Flowers in Medicine

Use of Iris Flowers in Medicine

Irises, like many other flowers and plants, were widely used to cure different illnesses in the past. 

Rather than the petals, the medicinal value of irises is believed to lie in their roots. These roots were used to aid migraines, joint pain, indigestion, toothaches, and some kidney issues.

Additionally, they were used as antiseptic and anti-inflammatory herbs. They were also believed to cure some skin diseases,

However, these claims don’t have much scientific backing, so take them with a grain of salt and always consult with your doctors first before taking any herb.

They can cause nausea and abdominal pain when consumed in large quantities, so be careful when consuming the plant. 

Use of Iris Flowers in the Beauty Industry

Use of Iris Flowers in the Beauty Industry

Iris flowers’ significance in the beauty industry dates back to the Renaissance period. Catherine de Medici, the then queen of France, had her people crush the roots of iris flowers into powder to produce a sweet scent.

They also mixed the crushed iris root with rice powder, which they used for their faces and their clothes.

In the 19th century, their roots became some of the biggest contributors to the production of perfume. They were dried for three to five years to create a perfume with a floral, woody, and violet-like scent.

Iris flowers were also used to create a lot of cosmetic products but were found to cause severe allergic reactions in a lot of people, so production stopped.