Sweet Iris, Variegated Orris Root, Dalmation Iris, Variegated Sweet Iris, Zebra Iris 'Variegata'

Iris pallida

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Species: pallida (PAL-lid-duh) (Info)
Cultivar: Variegata
Additional cultivar information:(aka Dalmatica, Aurea Variegata, Aureo Variegata, Albo Variegata, Argentea Variegata)
» View all varieties of Iris
View this plant in a garden




24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Medium Blue

Bloom Time:

Late Midseason (MLa)




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Awards (if applicable):

Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Gaylesville, Alabama

Yarnell, Arizona

Palo Alto, California

Sacramento, California

San Rafael, California

Fowler, Colorado

Chicago, Illinois

Hinsdale, Illinois

Peoria, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Greenville, Indiana

Iowa City, Iowa

Wichita, Kansas

Salvisa, Kentucky

Buckfield, Maine

Hagerstown, Maryland

Oxon Hill, Maryland

Dracut, Massachusetts

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Farmington, Michigan

Houghton Lake, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Robertsville, Missouri

Carson City, Nevada

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Waynesville, North Carolina

Jay, Oklahoma

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Clarksville, Tennessee

Gainesboro, Tennessee

Greeneville, Tennessee

Belton, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Burlington, Vermont

Lexington, Virginia

Anacortes, Washington

Bellevue, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

Casper, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 3, 2008, valleyrimgirl from Brandon, MB (Zone 2b) wrote:

I grow this iris on the south side of my house, in a fairly sheltered location in my zone 2b garden here in Manitoba, Canada. It is not a fast multiplier by any means but will bloom each year. I am keeping it because of its variegated foliage, not its flowers.


On May 18, 2007, bmuller from Albuquerque, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant grew for several years in my garden without blooming. I liked the foliage, but I was almost ready to dig it up if it wasn't going to give me anything more (I wanted the space for other things). Then, three or four years ago, when we removed several trees, providing it with more sun, it bloomed beautifully. It is long-blooming, blooms prolifically, and--a bonus--has an intriguing grape soda (or grape Kool-Aid) fragrance, noticeable from several feet away. (I'm glad I didn't dig it up.)


On Jan 27, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love the variegated blades of this iris, even if it never bloomed. I was told that because of the variegation, it is slower growing, though mine is doing very well.

Blooms late May to early June in my garden.


On Jun 20, 2003, NellPercy from Ponca City, OK wrote:

This is the plant that provides orris root. It has been used as a perfume fixative for centuries and was considered medicinal in medieval times (liver disease and edema). See KillerPlants.com. My apologies for not being able to name specific sites but several say that it can be highly allerginic as a fixative and a couple say it can be toxic. In Magick, it is used as a pendulum, to draw love, and as protection. Irises in general grow happily in Zone 6 so I assume this will too.


On May 31, 2003, Crimson from Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

Sold as a shade of blue, it's not blue, it's a soft purple color. Does not grows as well as other Bearded Iris, needs staking against wind when in bloom.

Grew best in full sun, well watered (not sandy) soil. Full sun in North, part shade in South; divide every 3-4 years for best blooms.


On May 22, 2003, DeeSteveH from Gretna, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Hi All. I'm in zone 7, have some funky rock filled acidic soil and my verigated irises are positively thriving. Mine flowered a beautiful pale lavender. I'll be uploading a pic so everyone can see. Deanna of DeeSteveH