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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 Wish list #1 – Variegated Iris

As many of you know, I have quite a collection of irises.  I just love them and look forward to them every year.  This past summer I was lucky enough to attend a master gardeners sale and bought a mixed box of about a dozen irises and I cannot wait to see what colors they will be.

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Here is a few shots of some of the ones I have, they bloom here in Mid April.  The majority of mine are shades of blue and purple, which go great with the beds they are in.  I especially like the combination of mountain bluet and purple irises.


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I love this one for it’s size and almost flat bloom, very unusual.

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This mauve and purple one is very striking.

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And this is a new one to me I bought last spring….wow.   Glad I took a picture of it now.  It’s hard to remember!

But the one I am most looking forward to is the reblooming Immortality Iris.  I have 8 good sized starts of it that I found last spring, they did not bloom last fall, but I figured that.  I have seen these in my area and they are stunning.

But the iris I am looking for is the Variegated Iris.

They just bloom for a bit, but your have the foliage all summer.  I love my grasses too, and this reminds me of a clump of grass.  Very striking! 

So as the days are cold and dreary…I am looking for new things to plant!

All info below from this site.

Orris, Dalmation Iris or Iris pallida variegata

Extremely easy to grow and divide, their rainbow of papery petals and fuzzy "beards" that decorate the lower petals appeal to every flower lover. The large, elegant flowers come in every color except true red, and some have a grapelike fragrance. Heights range from dwarf to medium and tall, 9 inches to 4 feet. Some types bloom in spring and fall. Check specialty catalogs for hundreds of varieties. The fleshy divisions called rhizomes are available in the fall. Plant immediately, as they dry out quickly. Keep the rhizome's surface exposed, except in hot areas, where you should cover them lightly with soil. Cut back foliage on established plants only after it starts to die back naturally. Divide every 3 to 4 years after bloom to maintain vigor. Watch for rot in heavy soil and Iris borer.


A parent of the hybrid Bearded Iris, it has yellow or white-variegated foliage and fragrant lavender flowers. The roots are ground for the violet-scented fixative used in perfumes and potpourri.

Attributes - Iris pallida variegata

Plant Type: Bulb

Bloom Season: Late Spring through Early Summer

Flower Color: Lavender

Foliage: Deciduous

Height: 3 ft. to 4 ft.

Width: 2 ft.

Sunlight: Full Sun

Climate: Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Notes: Container Plants, Fragrant, Low Maintenance, Showy Flowers. Susceptible to Black Spot, Caterpillars, Root Rot, Rust.

Sweet Iris


This is the variety I am looking for, it is called Gold-variegated Sweet Iris, Zebra Iris, Aureo Iris,  Sweet Iris , Blue Flag Iris or Sweet Flag Iris depending on where you look for it. Dang…. why don’t they make this easier???

From Heritage Perennials…. I found this information.

(Iris pallida 'Aureo-Variegata').

Also known as the Zebra Iris, this is a very old garden plant, still as popular as ever. It forms a low clump of sword-like leaves, with golden-yellow and grey-green stripes running lengthwise, remaining nearly evergreen in mild winter regions. Fragrant lavender-blue flowers appear in early summer. Excellent for cutting. Plants must have excellent drainage, particularly in hot, humid summer regions or areas with wet winters. Clumps may be easily divided every 3 to 4 years in late summer, exactly as you would treat a Bearded Iris.

I am hoping to find it locally, but Gurneys has it as well here.

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A couple more things about irises that I have found….they need good “bed buddies.”

As you can see above, they look great with hostas.  Mine are broad leaf, if you have a choice I whole-heartedly suggest broad leaved varieties…but that is another post.

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I have had the best luck with every place I plant and iris, I plant a daylily  almost in the same hole.  As you can see in the picture above, they just blend tight together.  They don’t seem to bother each other, I usually have the iris a bit back of it, and they compliment one another.  They bloom at different times, but it seems I keep color in that spot most of the year, and it is a good spiky bunch of vertical interest.  Even if it is a new start, it looks fuller too.


One last thing about them is they really show up!  Some of my prettiest blooms need close attention, but irises rise up out of my beds and get notice!  You can see them very well from inside the house and from the road.  They just look happy and welcoming….and dang it…. I wish it was time for them now!

But I will have to wait….so much to look forward to.  I’ll keep you posted!

Happy Gardening…..Brooke



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