Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tall Bearded Iris
Iris 'Stairway to Heaven'

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Stairway to Heaven
Hybridized by Lauer; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1992

» View all varieties of Iris

One vendor has this plant for sale.

29 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:
Medium Blue
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Early midseason (EM)


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
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)
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

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 dabobo
Thumbnail #1 of Iris  by dabobo

Thumbnail #2 of Iris  by TBGDN

Thumbnail #3 of Iris  by TBGDN

By LynDC
Thumbnail #4 of Iris  by LynDC

By laurief
Thumbnail #5 of Iris  by laurief

By sjlfinne
Thumbnail #6 of Iris  by sjlfinne

By elladan6
Thumbnail #7 of Iris  by elladan6

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


3 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative MikenMyrtle On Sep 19, 2010, MikenMyrtle from Myrtle Beach, SC wrote:

I would hope not to be excommunicated from irisdom for posting something negative about this flower, but as well as the plant has grown for me, it is a huge "bust" as a bloomer. I don't know why, but it has been in three different spots in the six years I've had it, and it's never put up more than one stalk (and they're always really short at that). Very pretty iris, but here in my Zone 8 garden I finally decided to part with it to make room for something that would perform (all of its non-Dykes winning neighbors flourish, so don't know what's wrong).

Positive tscarff On May 29, 2009, tscarff from Jackson, MS wrote:

Beautiful, frilly iris that is easy to care for.

Neutral doss On Mar 22, 2005, doss from Stanford, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

"Stairway to Heaven won the American Iris Society Honorable Mention '95; Award of Merit '97; Wister Medal '99; Dykes Medal'00."

The Dykes medal is the highest recognition that the American Iris Society gives to any Iris. An Iris must win all of the first three awards to be eligible for the Dykes Medal.

Positive aecrowell On Jun 4, 2004, aecrowell from Reno, NV wrote:

This has been a very prolific iris for me, multiplying very well and with numerous blooms on each stalk. It's very pretty and frilly, and seems happy crammed-in in a less than sunny spot.

Positive laurief On Oct 20, 2003, laurief from Deer River, MN (Zone 3b) wrote:

Very few tall beardeds (TBs) can survive my growing conditions. This northern MN zone 3b climate inflicts severe, extended cold during the winter months, often with little snow cover for insulation. Summer temps can exceed 90 degrees F. My soil is very heavy, compacted clay with a slightly acid pH. A large local deer population frequently tramples and sometimes grazes on my irises in early spring and late fall. Iris borers are present but managed successfully with a granular systemic grub control product. Weeds are abundant and only occasionally beaten back by an admittedly lazy gardener (yours truly). Fertilization is inconsistent, when provided at all. Most TBs here are growing with less than 6 hrs of sun per day, so growth and bloom are not what they could be under full sun conditions. I have lost hundreds of weaker TB cultivars over the years, so the few that have managed to survive are worthy of high praise.

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN is an incredible iris in every way. In my worst bed, it increased like crazy, never showed the slightest susceptibility to soft rot, survived two winters that killed off several hundred other TBs, and provided me with beautiful blooms this spring. This is what all Dykes Medals winners *should* be! I highly recommend this cultivar.



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

Houston, Alabama
Tempe, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona (2 reports)
Blairsville, Georgia
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Macy, Indiana
Nichols, Iowa
Manhattan, Kansas (2 reports)
Wichita, Kansas
Ventress, Louisiana
Durham, Maine
Belleville, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Deer River, Minnesota
Jackson, Mississippi
Tupelo, Mississippi
Robertsville, Missouri
Cut Bank, Montana
Harlowton, Montana
Reno, Nevada
Coshocton, Ohio
Enid, Oklahoma
Lawton, Oklahoma
Columbia, South Carolina
Greeneville, Tennessee
Readyville, Tennessee
Portsmouth, Virginia
Stuarts Draft, Virginia
Madison, Wisconsin
Tomah, Wisconsin

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