Tall Bearded Iris 'Dusky Challenger'


Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Dusky Challenger
Hybridized by Schreiner
Registered or introduced: 1986
» View all varieties of Iris


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Enid, Oklahoma

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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Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.


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

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


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.


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.


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.