Botanical Name: Iris pallida 'Variegata'
Common Name: Variegated Iris  
Plant photo of: Iris pallida 'Variegata'
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Water Saving Tip:

Change spray sprinklers to low-flow bubbler or drip systems. Shrubs and trees are ideal candidates for this type of irrigation because the water is applied directly to the root zones.

  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type



Height Range



Flower Color



Flower Season

Spring, Summer


Leaf Color

Green, White, Variegated


Bark Color



Fruit Color



Fruit Season



Full, Half





Growth Rate

Moderate, Slow


Soil Type

Sandy, Clay, Loam


Soil Condition

Average, Rich, Poor, Well-drained, Dry


Soil pH

Neutral, Basic


Adverse Factors


Design Styles

English Cottage, Formal, Japanese, Meadow, Mediterranean, Ranch, Seascape, Spanish, Woodland


Accenting Features

Fragrance, Showy Flowers, Specimen, Unusual Foliage


Seasonal Interest

Spring, Summer, Fall


Location Uses

Entry, Perennial Border, Shrub Border, Foundation, Parking Strip, Patio, Parking Lot, Raised Planter, Walkways


Special Uses

Cut Flowers, Mass Planting, Naturalizing, Small Spaces


Attracts Wildlife

Hummingbirds, Butterflies, Wildlife

Information by: Stephanie Duer
Photographer: Greenwood Garden
  • Description

  • Notes

If I had to pick my top five must-have perennials, this would be on the list. A species of bearded iris, yellow variegated iris has long, sword like foliage that emerges in early spring and is colored pale, grey-green and lemony yellow. Flowers bloom late spring to early summer, are a pale blue to violet-blue, and are very fragrant (like a cross between grape and apple juice). Absolutely fills the yard. And after flowering, the foliage holds out all summer, unlike other bearded iris; the variegated leaves a striking presence, even without the flowers. The foliage is about 18 to 24 inches tall, and the flowers rise to about 30 to 40 inches. I have never had a garden that didn't include this iris. There is also a variety with white variegation, usually listed as Iris p. 'Argenta.' Fabulous anywhere, and plant enough so you can cut them and bring them indoors.
Grow in well drained soil in full sun to a bit of shade. They grow best in a loamy soil, so amend if you have sand or clay. They need the most water when blooming, but are remarkably drought tolerant; variegated iris seem to be more drought tolerant than other bearded iris. Regular irrigation will ensure more prolific blooms, but by that we mean weekly or maybe less. For more Iris info, see Guides. Planted as either container stock or in the fall as rhizomes.