Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tall Bearded Iris
Iris 'Hello Darkness'

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Hello Darkness
Hybridized by Schreiner; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1992

» View all varieties of Iris

One vendor has this plant for sale.

14 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:
Early midseason (EM)


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
John C. Wister Memorial Medal (TB)

Click thumbnail
to view:

By jfrizzell
Thumbnail #1 of Iris  by jfrizzell

By Margiempv
Thumbnail #2 of Iris  by Margiempv

By mountaineer
Thumbnail #3 of Iris  by mountaineer

By loic
Thumbnail #4 of Iris  by loic

By kdjoergensen
Thumbnail #5 of Iris  by kdjoergensen

By kdjoergensen
Thumbnail #6 of Iris  by kdjoergensen

By kdjoergensen
Thumbnail #7 of Iris  by kdjoergensen

There are a total of 17 photos.
Click here to view them all!


3 positives
6 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral hannah82 On Apr 23, 2012, hannah82 from Brea, CA wrote:

This plant has been growing for almost a year in our side yard and has bloomed for the first time with less than a half day of sun. The blooms are dark purple and have a noticeable black licorice/anise scent. The new foliage growth is still sparse and less than robust but the blooms are almost worth it. I'm looking for more vigor and healthier foliage next spring before giving this a positive rating.

Neutral Conquered_MS On May 23, 2010, Conquered_MS from Preston, MD wrote:

I planted this 2 years ago, and while it has had robust growth each year, it has yet to bloom! It has one of, if not THE, biggest clumps of all the irises I planted that year - big fat rhizomes and fans - certainly should have bloomed last year, let alone this year! It is in the same patch with other irises that were planted at the same time and have bloomed the last two years, so it's not the soil. The clump is so big, it really should be divided this year, but I'm afraid if I start all over again, I may never get a bloom. I guess I'll give it one more year to save it's neck.

I will say, I assume it is Hello Darkness, but since I've had quite a few mis-labeled irises from the grower, I'll have to wait until it blooms to be sure it is what it's supposed to be.

JUNE 27th UPDATE - My iris is sending up a bloom stalk! Should bloom in about a week! My other irises finished blooming in May; this must be a rebloomer and therefore is probably not Hello Darkness after all. The tip of the bud is showing color - black - so I'll just have to wait about a week to see what it really is. I'll keep ya'all posted.

JULY 4th UPDATE - O.K., my iris bloomed on July 1, and it is NOT Hello Darkness, as I suspected. It is very pretty, though, and I don't know what it is yet, but I like having an iris that blooms in July!

JULY 12th - It's sending up another bloom stalk!

Neutral Mainer On Jan 28, 2009, Mainer from Durham, ME (Zone 3a) wrote:

Died of bloom out so will try again.

Neutral Margiempv On Nov 18, 2006, Margiempv from Oro Valley, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

I've tried this iris twice................both times it only survived for 2-3 years for me. Slow grower, then dies. Must not like the southwest desert climate.

Negative RobertWM On Oct 8, 2006, RobertWM from Clawson, MI wrote:

Ordered from Schreiner's so should have been the correct plant. But mine wasn't close to black, just a dark purple and definately purple. And the plant apparently doesn't do well here in zone 6a Michigan. I tried it for three years and there was something wrong with it every year. Malformed flowers, rotted stems, or rotted blossums. And for me, and many other members of the local iris club, it was quite slow. All of us have given our garden space to a different and more worthy variety.

Positive toise On May 23, 2006, toise from Grand Junction, CO wrote:

I'm growing "Hello Darkness" in Grand Junction, CO, and it looks like the photo submitted by mountaineer-charcoal black. You have to be closer than 12 " and/or looking at it when it's backlit to see the dusky purple sheen. Beautiful, and anyone glancing at it would definitely call it "black".

Neutral Joan On Dec 27, 2005, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Awards: American Iris Society Honorable Mention 1994, Award of Merit 1996, Wister Medal 1998, Dykes Medal 1999

Positive Baldwin On May 29, 2005, Baldwin from Newtown, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

My plant is really dark. I'm a little color blind so I asked some keener sighted people what they think and they all think it's "Black with a purplish tint". It's a spectacular specimen. The size of the flower is impressive. I stuck this in with my Siberian Irises which was a mistake. I think it needs to be alone or farther removed from other irises because it is such a show stopper. It's unique and it is a conversation piece but I'm not really sure where it would best be featured in the garden. I paid 9.95 for it at a local nursery about a month ago. It has had 4 blooms and a 5th on its way. The first bloom was the largest. I think I got my money's worth.

Neutral kdjoergensen On May 21, 2005, kdjoergensen from Waxhaw (Charlotte), NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

A lot more purple than black in this one. The pictures schreiners gardens posted had it shown as almost back. The upper half is completely purple. Very nice, but not dark at all.

It has a very nice bud count, and the individual blooms are good.

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

This 37" early to mid season bloomer was awarded The American Iris Society Honorable Mention '94; Award of Merit '96; and the Wister Award '98. The Wister is the highest award in the tall bearded class.

Hello Darkness is difficult to photograph because it is so close to black. It does have the velvet finish that you can see here and has a lovely fragrance.


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

Brea, California
San Leandro, California
Stanford, California
Yosemite Lakes, California
Chicago, Illinois
Macy, Indiana
Oskaloosa, Kansas
Hebron, Kentucky
Robertsville, Missouri
Harlowton, Montana
South Plainfield, New Jersey
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Lake Placid, New York
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Lawton, Oklahoma
Salem, Oregon
Newtown, Pennsylvania
Greeneville, Tennessee
Portsmouth, Virginia
Seattle, Washington
Dallas, Wisconsin

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