Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tall Bearded Iris
Iris 'Before the Storm'

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Before the Storm
Hybridized by Innerst; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1988

» View all varieties of Iris

23 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tall Bearded (TB)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Time:
Midseason (M)


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Awards (if applicable):
Honorable Mention
Award of Merit
Dykes Memorial Medal
John C. Wister Memorial Medal (TB)

Click thumbnail
to view:

By daylily970
Thumbnail #1 of Iris  by daylily970

Thumbnail #2 of Iris  by EROCTUSE2

By jfrizzell
Thumbnail #3 of Iris  by jfrizzell

By marnow
Thumbnail #4 of Iris  by marnow

By poppysue
Thumbnail #5 of Iris  by poppysue

By poppysue
Thumbnail #6 of Iris  by poppysue

By Melissa_Ohio
Thumbnail #7 of Iris  by Melissa_Ohio

There are a total of 24 photos.
Click here to view them all!


5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive eolivas103 On May 3, 2014, eolivas103 from Las Cruces, NM (Zone 8a) wrote:

Planted in Fall 2012 and I just received the first blooms this Spring of 2014. Agree with others - Worth the wait!!! Flowers are very dark purple to black, and from even a foot and a half away appear completely black. The beards are also deep charcoal grey to black. After not flowering at all last year, this year it produced approx. 25 blooms. What is amazing about this flower is it's silky finish, like the suit of a well dressed man at a black tie affair - Flowers are formal and dressed to perfection. They are not big blooms but who cares - because they are about as fine as they come!

Positive TBGDN On Feb 18, 2006, TBGDN from (Zone 5a) wrote:

The only problem I have is the beards do not appear 'black' to me; instead they look more like a dark violet. I got this one from one of the best suppliers (Schreiners) in the U. S. so I don't doubt the authenticity. With that aside, it is indeed a very strong black iris with relatively good growth, increase and bloom. It forms clumps fairly fast and never fails to bloom. Nice!

Neutral Joan On Dec 26, 2005, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Awards: American Iris Society Honorable Mention 1991, Award of Merit 1993, John C. Wister Medal 1995, Dykes Medal 1996

Positive MikenMyrtle On May 28, 2005, MikenMyrtle from Myrtle Beach, SC wrote:

The neighbors came from all around to see the black flowers of Before the Storm. This flower is really beautiful--appears solid jet black from a distance -- up close you can tell it's deepest, darkest purple (virtually black). Falls were flared. Bloomed the first year for me. Very strong stalks. Sweet fragrance. I highly recommend it!

Positive Melissa_Ohio On May 23, 2004, Melissa_Ohio from Southwestern, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

Beautiful rich color, and multiplies rapidly.

Positive wldflwr13 On May 21, 2004, wldflwr13 from Aurora, IL wrote:

Beautiful deep purple, shading to an inky velvet black petals. Did not bloom the first year, but don't give up!! The second year's blooms were astounding! Easy to care for, and divide nicely.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tucson, Arizona
Bay, Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Denver, Colorado
Montrose, Colorado
Severance, Colorado
Eastport, Idaho
Des Plaines, Illinois
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Macy, Indiana
Clear Lake, Iowa
Storm Lake, Iowa
Olathe, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
South Paris, Maine
Hagerstown, Maryland
West Springfield, Massachusetts
Belleville, Michigan
Richland, Michigan
Kansas City, Missouri
Robertsville, Missouri
Cut Bank, Montana
Beatrice, Nebraska
Salem, New Jersey
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Albany, New York
Coram, New York
Concord, North Carolina
Coshocton, Ohio
Felicity, Ohio
Lawton, Oklahoma
Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Greeneville, Tennessee
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paine Field-lake Stickney, Washington

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