Dalmatian Iris Iris pallida subsp. pallida

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care


Iris pallida subsp. pallida, commonly known as 'Dalmatian Iris,' is a perennial plant notable for its beautiful and fragrant flowers. The appearance of this plant is characterized by its striking sword-shaped leaves that are a glaucous blue-green color, providing a contrasting backdrop to its blooms. The leaves emerge from a rhizome that sits at the soil surface. The flowers of the Dalmatian Iris are its most captivating feature, typically exhibiting a pale lavender or light blue hue, though they can also be found in white or yellow variations. Each bloom has six petal-like segments; the three upright segments are called standards, and the three downward curving segments are known as falls. The falls may display intricate veining or a splash of color that contrasts with the lighter background. The flowering stems, called scapes, are sturdy and branched, bearing multiple blooms that are elegantly spaced. Each flower emits a pleasant fragrance, often described as a combination of grape and floral scents, inviting passersby and beneficial insects alike. The overall appearance of Dalmatian Iris is one of stately beauty, with a blend of architectural foliage and delicately patterned blooms that can add an element of texture and color to any garden setting without reference to specific dimensions or measurements.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Dalmatian Iris, Pale Iris, Sweet Iris

    • Common names

      Iris illyrica, Iris pallida var. cengialti, Iris pallida var. illyrica, Iris pallida subsp. illyrica, Iris pallida f. illyrica.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Dalmatian Iris is generally considered to have a low level of toxicity for humans. However, if ingested, it can cause some gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Handling the plant may also cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals due to the presence of certain compounds like irisin, iridin, or irisine in the rhizomes and roots. It's important to avoid ingesting any part of the Dalmatian Iris plant to prevent these potential outcomes.

    • To pets

      Dalmatian Iris can be toxic to pets if they consume parts of the plant, especially the rhizomes (roots). Symptoms of poisoning may include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. In some cases, if a large amount of the plant is ingested, more severe symptoms such as lethargy and difficulty breathing might occur. It's advisable to keep pets away from the Dalmatian Iris and to seek veterinary attention if a pet ingests any portion of the plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet [60-90 cm]

    • Spread

      1-2 feet [30-60 cm]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Iris pallida subsp. pallida, commonly known as Dalmatian Iris, is admired for its decorative foliage and delicate flowers, making it a popular choice for gardens and landscape designs.
    • Fragrance: The flowers and rhizomes of the Dalmatian Iris emit a characteristic fragrance that is often used in perfumes and scented products.
    • Dye Production: The rhizomes, known as orris root, can be processed to produce a violet-scented substance used as a natural dye.
    • Culinary Uses: Some cultures use the rhizomes of Dalmatian Iris in flavoring certain spirits and food items, though it's not commonly consumed.
    • Wildlife Attraction: The flowers provide nectar and attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, supporting biodiversity.
    • Erosion Control: The extensive root system can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion in certain settings.

  • 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

    • The roots of Dalmatian iris, specifically the rhizomes, are traditionally used in perfumery as a source of orris butter, which imparts a delicate violet-like fragrance to perfumes, soaps, and cosmetics.
    • Dalmatian iris is also utilized as a flavoring agent for certain spirits and food products, taking advantage of its light and distinctive floral notes to enhance the taste profile.
    • The flowers of Dalmatian iris are sometimes incorporated in potpourri mixes due to their attractive appearance and subtle scent.
    • Dalmatian iris can be used in the art of botanical illustration and photography, where its striking blue flowers and elegant form make it a desirable subject.
    • The dried rhizomes may be added to linen sachets as a natural repellent against moths in wardrobes and drawers, keeping clothing free from holes.
    • In some cultures, Dalmatian iris is incorporated into bride’s bouquets or used as an elegant centerpiece for its stunning flowers and as a symbol of wisdom and valor.
    • During the Renaissance, the juice from the Dalmatian iris root was used for ink preparation, offering a natural tint for manuscripts and texts.
    • The rhizomes are sometimes used in herbal crafts, such as the creation of Terra Sigillata, an earthenware slip containing herbal ingredients.
    • Gardeners might use the Dalmatian iris plant as a natural fencing or border material in landscaping due to its robust and upright growth habit.
    • The rhizomes may be carved into artistic shapes or patterns and used as natural decorations or inclusions in craft projects.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Sweet Iris is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Sweet Iris is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Royalty: Historically, the iris has been associated with royalty and regal bearing, partly because of its commanding presence and the link to the French monarchy, notably the fleur-de-lis emblem.
    • Wisdom: In various cultures, the iris represents wisdom. Its name is derived from the Greek word for rainbow, and as such, can signify a bridge to the divine or enlightenment.
    • Faith: With its upright stature and regal appearance, the iris is often seen as a symbol of faith and being faithful in one's duties.
    • Hope: The iris, with its vibrant blooms, is commonly seen as a symbol of hope, embodying the expectation of good things to come.
    • Courage: Its bold appearance is also associated with courage, and thus, presenting someone with an iris may be a means to inspire bravery.
    • Purity: The purification attributes of the iris can be tied to its clean and elegant lines, which is why it is often used in religious ceremonies.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3-5 years
Spring to summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Dalmatian Iris prefers to be watered thoroughly but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Generally, a deep watering every two weeks is sufficient, but this may vary depending on climate conditions such as temperature and humidity. Provide the plant with about one gallon of water per watering session to ensure that the moisture reaches deep into the root system. During the hot summer months, you may need to water more frequently, whereas during the cooler seasons or in rainy climates, you can water less often. Always check the top few inches of soil for dryness before watering to avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    Dalmatian Iris thrives best in full sun exposure with at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. The ideal spot for this plant is in an area where it can bask in the sun's rays without being shaded by larger plants or structures. However, in extremely hot climates, some afternoon shade may be beneficial to prevent scorching of the leaves.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Dalmatian Iris requires temperatures between 30°F (-1°C) and 90°F (32°C) to thrive. It can survive minimum temperatures as low as 20°F (-6°C), although it will go dormant in the winter. The ideal growing temperature range for Dalmatian Iris is between 50°F (10°C) and 80°F (27°C), wherein the plant exhibits optimal growth and bloom production.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Dalmatian Iris involves removing spent blooms and dead foliage to encourage new growth and maintain a tidy appearance. This should be done after flowering, typically in late summer. Additionally, divide the rhizomes every 3 to 5 years to prevent overcrowding and to rejuvenate the plant. The best time to prune and divide is immediately after flowering when the plant's energy is focused on root development.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Dalmatian Iris requires well-draining soil, rich in organic material with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of around 6.5 to 7.0. A mix combining loam, peat, and sharp sand in equal parts works well for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Dalmatian Irises do not need frequent repotting and can be repotted every two to three years or once the clump becomes crowded in its current space.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Dalmatian Iris prefers moderate ambient humidity but is tolerant of a range of conditions as long as the soil drainage is good and not waterlogged.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, moderate humidity, and good air circulation for indoor Dalmatian Iris.

    • Outdoor

      In full sun to partial shade, plant in well-draining soil and space adequately.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA.

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of Iris pallida, commonly known as Dalmatian Iris or Sweet Iris, begins with seed germination, which typically occurs in moist, well-drained soil and under adequate sunlight. After sprouting, the plant enters the juvenile phase, where it develops its root system and foliage, primarily long, sword-shaped leaves. As it matures, it forms rhizomes which store energy and allow for vegetative spread and survival through winter months. The Dalmatian Iris then enters the flowering stage, usually in late spring to early summer, where it produces fragrant, pale lavender to blue flowers with characteristic falls and standards. After pollination, which is often aided by bees, it produces a capsule containing seeds, completing the reproductive cycle. With the onset of colder weather, the plant enters dormancy, and with the arrival of spring, the cycle begins anew with the growth of new shoots from the rhizomes.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for the Dalmatian Iris, which is another common name for Iris pallida subsp. pallida, is through division of the rhizomes. This is usually done in late summer, after the flowering has finished and the foliage has begun to die back. To propagate, the clumps should be carefully dug up and the rhizomes separated with a sharp knife, ensuring that each piece has at least one or two leaf fans attached. The cut surfaces need to dry for a day or two to prevent rot. The divisions can then be replanted at the same depth they were growing at originally, spaced about 12 to 24 inches (roughly 30 to 60 cm) apart to allow for growth. The soil around the rhizomes should be firmed gently and watered well to help establish the new divisions. This method is efficient and usually ensures a good rate of success, resulting in new plants that will typically bloom in their second year.