Spacing: 12-15 in. (30-38 cm) 15-18 in. (38-45 cm) 18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
Hardiness: 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
Danger: 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: Non-patented
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)
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.
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!
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.
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".
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.
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 Grant, Pennsylvania Greeneville, Tennessee Portsmouth, Virginia Seattle, Washington