Dwarf Iris Iris 'Royal Contrast' (SDB)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
iris 'Royal Contrast'


The Iris 'Royal Contrast' is a striking plant known for its distinctive and attractive flowers. It showcases a magnificent color palette with blooms characterized by deep, rich shades that live up to its name. The flowers typically have a regal appearance, exhibiting both dark and contrasting lighter tones that blend seamlessly. The petals are often bold and velvety, arranged elegantly around the center of the flower. The blooms generally feature what is known as the 'falls' and 'standards' - terms that describe the different parts of an iris flower. The 'falls' are the petals that droop downwards, creating a graceful effect, while the 'standards' are the petals that stand upright in the center of the flower, contributing to its classic iris silhouette. In addition to its ornamental blooms, the Iris 'Royal Contrast' has slender, sword-like foliage, which stands upright and frames the flowers nicely. The leaves are typically a bright green color, adding to the overall aesthetic of the plant and providing a lush backdrop for the vibrant blooms. The color combination, the shape of the petals, and the symmetrical arrangement of foliage make this plant a popular choice for gardeners looking to add a touch of elegance and contrast to their landscape. The Iris 'Royal Contrast' can be appreciated for its beautiful flowers that display a dramatic interplay of colors and its overall sophisticated appearance.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris, SDB Iris

    • Common names

      Iris 'Royal Contrast' (SDB).

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Irises, including the variety 'Royal Contrast', contain compounds that can be toxic if ingested, such as isoflavones and potentially irritating oils. The rhizomes (underground stems) are especially concentrated with these substances. If parts of the plant, particularly the rhizomes, are eaten, it can lead to symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, there could be a risk of dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea. Contact with the sap can also cause skin irritation in some individuals.

    • To pets

      Irises, including the 'Royal Contrast' variety, are considered toxic to pets if ingested. The primary toxic component is the rhizome, which contains irisin, irisine, and isophthalic acid. Dogs or cats eating parts of an iris may experience symptoms like drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and abdominal pain. In more severe cases, ingestion can lead to symptoms such as increased heart rate and respiratory distress. It is important to prevent pets from accessing and ingesting any part of the plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 foot [30 cm]

    • Spread

      1 foot [30 cm]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: The Iris 'Royal Contrast' adds vibrant color and unique beauty to gardens with its striking purple and gold flowers.
    • Easy to Grow: This plant is known for being hardy and easy to care for, making it a suitable option for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it can tolerate periods of drought, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Seasonal Interest: The Iris 'Royal Contrast' blooms in spring, providing an early season burst of color after the winter months.
    • Pollinator-Friendly: The flowers attract bees and other pollinators, which are beneficial for the health of your garden and the environment.
    • Compact Size: As a standard dwarf bearded iris, it is well-suited for smaller spaces or for container gardening.
    • Versatile Landscaping: This plant can be used in a variety of garden settings, from borders to rock gardens.
    • Low Maintenance: It requires minimal upkeep beyond occasional watering and dividing every few years to maintain vigor.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Iris 'Royal Contrast' can be used in natural fabric dyeing, as the petals may produce varying shades of yellow, green, and blue, depending on the mordants used.
    • These Irises can serve as educational tools in botany and horticulture programs, teaching students about plant hybridization and genetics due to their distinct coloring.
    • The flowers can be pressed and included in personalized stationery or bookmarks for a decorative touch, often used in crafts and scrapbooking.
    • Iris petals can be used in the art of flower pounding, where the pigment from the petals is transferred onto fabric to create interesting patterns and designs.
    • The strong, fibrous leaves of the Iris 'Royal Contrast' can be woven into small baskets or mats as a demonstration of traditional crafting techniques.
    • Blossoms of the Iris can be used in perfumery, especially if aiming to capture a springtime, floral essence in custom fragrances.
    • Petals of the plant can be incorporated into potpourri mixes, adding color and a light scent to the blend of dried flowers and spices.
    • The visual appeal of Iris 'Royal Contrast' makes it suitable for use in photography projects or botanical illustrations that require vibrant colors and stunning contrasts.
    • Dried Iris flowers can serve as natural confetti for celebrations, providing an eco-friendly and biodegradable option opposed to synthetic confetti.
    • The rhizomes, once thoroughly cleaned and dried, can be carved into small stamps or decorative pieces for jewelry, tapping into the plant's cultural symbolism in various crafting communities.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Iris is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Iris is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Heraldry: The iris, often associated with the French fleur-de-lis, symbolizes royalty and nobility, reflecting the name 'Royal Contrast'.
    • Wisdom: In some cultures, the iris represents wisdom, a fitting tribute to the bold and contrasting colors of this variety that can symbolize a sharp mind.
    • Hope: As a blooming flower, this iris can signify hope and faith in a better future, instilling a sense of optimism.
    • Purity: The iris is often seen as a symbol of purity and innocence, perhaps suggestive of the clear, defined lines of 'Royal Contrast'.
    • Courage: Due to its striking appearance, this iris variety can represent courage and admiration for standing out with distinction.
    • Messages: Irises have been used to convey messages, and the 'Royal Contrast', with its unique colors, could be seen as embodying a strong and clear message.

Every 7-10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-4 years
Late Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Dwarf bearded irises like Iris 'Royal Contrast' should be watered deeply and allowed to dry out slightly before watering again; typically, this could mean watering once every 7 to 10 days, depending on climate conditions. It's better to underwater than overwater, as they are drought-tolerant once established. During the growing season, ensure they receive approximately one inch of water per week. Adjustments should be made during particularly hot or dry spells when they may require a bit more. Always avoid overhead watering to prevent leaf spot diseases; instead, water at the base of the plant. Over the winter months, watering can be significantly reduced.

  • sunLight

    Dwarf bearded irises, including Iris 'Royal Contrast,' thrive best in full sun conditions, which means at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. The ideal spot is an area that receives morning sun and some afternoon shade, especially in hotter regions, to protect the blooms from being scorched. Avoid heavy shade, as this inhibits blooming and can promote fungal diseases.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Iris 'Royal Contrast' can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but performs best when the temperatures are between 55°F and 75°F. They can survive winter temperatures down to around 10°F and summer temperatures as high as 90°F. To avoid damage from extreme cold, ensure proper mulching if temperatures are expected to fall below the survival threshold.

  • scissorsPruning

    Iris 'Royal Contrast' should be pruned to remove any spent flower stems after blooming to promote overall plant health and prevent seed formation, which can reduce the next year's blooms. Additionally, prune away any damaged or diseased foliage as needed throughout the year. The best time for major pruning, which involves cutting back leaves, is in the fall to minimize the risk of borer infestation.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    For Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris (SDB), including 'Royal Contrast', a well-draining soil mix with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.8 to 7.0 is best. A mixture of loamy garden soil, compost, and sand or perlite will encourage good root development and drainage.

  • plantRepotting

    Standard Dwarf Bearded Irises like 'Royal Contrast' typically do not need to be repotted often; they should be divided and replanted every 3 to 4 years to prevent overcrowding and to maintain plant vigor.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Standard Dwarf Bearded Irises including 'Royal Contrast' prefer low to moderate humidity levels. They are well adapted to outdoor conditions where the humidity naturally fluctuates.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in a bright spot with good airflow.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sun, well-drained soil, divide every few years.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life cycle of the Iris 'Royal Contrast' (a type of Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris) begins with seed germination, assuming it was propagated from seeds, which occurs in a well-drained soil mix and under appropriate temperature and moisture conditions. Seedlings then develop into juvenile plants with characteristic narrow, sword-like leaves. As the plants mature, they form stronger root systems and clumps of leaves; this vegetative stage can last for several years as the plants become well-established. The Iris 'Royal Contrast' enters the flowering stage typically in the late spring, producing distinctive flowers with deep purple standards and velvety-falls contrasted with white or yellow markings. After pollination and flower fade, seed pods may form, containing seeds that can disperse to continue the reproductive cycle. In the perennial phase of their life, the irises go through cycles of dormancy during colder months and regrowth in the favorable seasons, living for several years and often requiring division every few years to maintain vigor.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating the Iris 'Royal Contrast', which is a type of Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris (SDB), is by division. This is usually done after the flowering period has ended and the plant has gone dormant, generally in late summer to fall. To propagate by division, the rhizomes of the iris should be carefully dug up, making sure to minimize damage to the roots. The rhizomes should then be cut apart using a clean, sharp knife, ensuring that each section has at least one fan of leaves and a portion of healthy roots. The cuts should be allowed to dry for a few hours to a day to form a callous over the wounds. After that, the individual divisions can be replanted at the same soil depth they were previously growing, spaced approximately 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) apart to allow for sufficient space for growth. It's essential to water the new divisions well to help establish them, but care should be taken not to overwater, as irises prefer well-drained conditions.