Iris pallida 'Variegata'
Common Name: iris 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Iridaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Pale lavender-blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


Best grown in moist, humusy, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Established plants tolerate some dry conditions. Best in sunny locations, but this species is more shade-tolerant than many other species of Iris. Divide in late summer as needed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Iris pallida is commonly known as Dalmatian iris because it is native to Dalmatia, a province of Croatia. It is also native to the southern Alps. It is a rhizomatous bearded iris that features sword-shaped, grey-green leaves (to 24” long) and sweetly fragrant, pale lavender-blue flowers with yellow beards. Flowers (3-5” across) appear in late spring to early summer atop sparsely-branched scapes rising to 40” tall. Spathes are white and papery. The species is sometimes cultivated as a source of orris (an essential oil extracted from the rhizomes), which is used as a preservative in perfumes, breath fresheners, and spirits. Also commonly known as sweet iris, orris or orris root.

Genus named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

Specific epithet means pale.

'Variegata' features gray-green leaves variegated with stripes of creamy yellow. It is synonymous with ‘Aurea Variegata'.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to iris borer. Will do poorly in heavy, wet soils or shady conditions.


Good iris for partial shade locations. Borders, open woodland gardens, shade gardens.