Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tall Bearded Iris
Iris 'Dusky Challenger'

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Dusky Challenger
Hybridized by Schreiner; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1986

» View all varieties of Iris

18 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tall Bearded (TB)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

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)

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:
Late Midseason (MLa)


Other details:
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:
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

Click thumbnail
to view:

By 11ducks
Thumbnail #1 of Iris  by 11ducks

By jfrizzell
Thumbnail #2 of Iris  by jfrizzell

By Nancymo
Thumbnail #3 of Iris  by Nancymo

By gmason
Thumbnail #4 of Iris  by gmason

By loic
Thumbnail #5 of Iris  by loic

By mgh
Thumbnail #6 of Iris  by mgh

By Joan
Thumbnail #7 of Iris  by Joan

There are a total of 26 photos.
Click here to view them all!


6 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive sjlfinne On Nov 7, 2011, sjlfinne from Lawton, OK wrote:

This was my Queen of show last year, also Best purple. It had 3 perfectly opened blooms, and great stalks. One of my favorites.

Positive krisinmi On Nov 13, 2009, krisinmi from Flint
United States wrote:

This is my favorite iris in my garden - is it supposed to rebloom? Mine has been blooming for the last month. Nine blooms per stem.

Positive pajaritomt On Feb 9, 2008, pajaritomt from Los Alamos, NM (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is one of the most beautiful irises I have ever seen. It has huge dark bluish-purple flowers in profusion and is very tall. It grows and multiplies well and is a real attention getter in the garden. I would not want to have a garden without it.

Neutral Joan On May 24, 2007, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Awards: Honorable Mention 1988; Award of Merit 1990; Dyke's Medal 1992

Positive angelap On Apr 10, 2005, angelap from Weatherford, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

I agree about the weather affecting the color! Some years my Dusky Challenger is deep, deep blue, almost black, and some years it is lighter, more of a royal blue color.

Positive doss On Mar 14, 2005, doss from Stanford, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This 39" mid to late bloomer was awarded the HM '88; AM '90 and Dykes Medal '92. This Iris has huge blooms, a great substance and a lovely fragrance. It is one that I will always have in my garden. Blooms on the late side here which extends the season.

Positive NellPercy On Apr 30, 2004, NellPercy from Ponca City, OK wrote:

I have about decided that temprature affects the color on this one. Mine is usually the color in gmason's picture. This year it has been cold all of April and it opened almost black.


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

Dothan, Alabama
Gaylesville, Alabama
Newbury Park, California
Pasadena, California
Stanford, California
Yosemite Lakes, California
Macy, Indiana
Clear Lake, Iowa
Derby, Kansas
Hebron, Kentucky
Anacoco, Louisiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Durham, Maine
Hagerstown, Maryland
Preston, Maryland
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Flint, Michigan
Gladwin, Michigan
Robertsville, Missouri
Shepherd, Montana
Aurora, Nebraska
Beatrice, Nebraska
Burwell, Nebraska
Doniphan, Nebraska
Kearney, Nebraska
Wood River, Nebraska
Corrales, New Mexico
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Lawton, Oklahoma
Ponca City, Oklahoma
Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania
Columbia, South Carolina
Corryton, Tennessee
Greeneville, Tennessee
Lubbock, Texas
Weatherford, Texas
Portsmouth, Virginia
Selah, Washington
Washougal, Washington
Madison, Wisconsin

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