The DIS is devoted to promoting
interest in and development of dwarf irises.
The Dwarf Iris Society of
America, Inc. (DIS) is a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization
incorporated April 4, 1988. The DIS is
a Section of the American Iris Society (AIS), which is a non-profit
organization incorporated February 2, 1927, in the county of
Philadelphia, State of Pennsylvania.
Miniature Dwarf Bearded (MDB) irises are classified as those that do not exceed 8 " (20 cm) in height when blooming under normal conditions. They are the first of the bearded irises to bloom in the spring. They often bloom through light frosts and moderate snow cover. They produce low mounds of tiny leaves smothered by an abundance of flowers with crisp substance, and clear colors. Their color range includes shades and tints of nearly every color in the visible spectrum along with browns, tans, buffs, wines, purples, lavenders, orchids, creams and white. They can be all one color, bicolor, spotted, speckled and veined flowers, the beards may be any shade from white, tangerine, to almost black. Because one may select MDBs for gardens from Maine and the lower Canadian provinces to California and Texas, they are among the most versatile and desirable of bearded irises.
The most important dwarf ancestor of all our modern MDB varieties is the diminutive species iris pumila still found growing in sunny exposures from central Europe east to the Ural Mountains. Many clones were collected and hybridized to produced the "pumila" and "pumila-type" MDBs. These are the smallest and most cold tolerant of the group, but do not always bloom well in warm climates. Another hybrid-type of MDB was created by crossing I. pumila with tetraploid tall bearded irises, followed by repeated intercrossing of such hybrids selected in each generation for small size. These are the 40-chromosome "MDBs" which are generally more reliable than the pumila in warm regions. Crossing the two types produced other showy MDBs with characteristics intermediate between the two parent types. A number of other short bearded iris species have been used to produce MDBs, but they are not often used for primary crosses today. MDBs require only a warm, sunny exposure and a well-drained neutral soil of average fertility. They are excellent rock garden plants, make colorful edgings to garden borders and paths, and are striking subjects in patio planters and troughs. Some miniature dwarf irises bloom again in the fall. These are called reblooming irises.