There are several hundred different species of iris. While not all types of iris are suited for use in the ornamental landscape, many specialized heirlooms and hybrids are ideal additions to cut flower gardens and in decorative flower beds. Though most irises are known for their distinctive true blue color, white iris varieties have gained popularity. Learning more about the different types of white iris can help you to choose the best candidate for planting in your own garden.
Types of White Iris
- “African” Iris – This type of white iris is unique for many reasons. Hardy to USDA growing zones 8-11, African irises are known for their grassy evergreen foliage and ability to produce multiple flowers throughout the season. Flower blooms are a crisp white color, with yellow and light purple markings.
- “Alba” – Iris cristata types of white iris are commonly dwarf. Alba is just one example of such a cultivar. Lush, green foliage thrives in shady garden spaces and will quickly multiply and naturalize where conditions are ideal. Their small size make ‘Alba’ white iris ideal for use in short flower borders or even as a ground cover plant. These bulbs, which are planted in the fall, will produce bright white flowers with narrow petals.
- “Gull’s Wing” – Gull’s Wing is just one of many popular white Siberian irises. When in peak bloom, flower stems reach heights of 3 ft. (.9 m.) Gull’s Wing is also one of the more showy white iris varieties, as each petal is large and wide. Additionally, white Siberian irises seldom have issues with disease or damage caused by insects.
- “Immortality” Bearded – White bearded irises are quite common in ornamental gardens. The cultivar Immortality produces large, pure white flowers. In addition to its large ruffled petals, this variety is also highly fragrant. Immortality will often rebloom in late summer.
- “Starring” Bearded – Starring is yet another of the white bearded irises. Unlike other white irises, this variety is accented by dynamic deep purple lower petals, called “falls.” Like many bearded irises, this low-maintenance plant thrives in full sun and looks great when used in mass plantings.