Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tall Bearded Iris
Iris 'Stepping Out'

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Stepping Out
Hybridized by Schreiner; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1964

» View all varieties of Iris

38 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
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Dark Purple/Black
White/Near White

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 Calif_Sue
Thumbnail #1 of Iris  by Calif_Sue

By mgh
Thumbnail #2 of Iris  by mgh

By Wandasflowers
Thumbnail #3 of Iris  by Wandasflowers

By laurief
Thumbnail #4 of Iris  by laurief

By mountaineer
Thumbnail #5 of Iris  by mountaineer

By Margiempv
Thumbnail #6 of Iris  by Margiempv

By Heidi
Thumbnail #7 of Iris  by Heidi

There are a total of 18 photos.
Click here to view them all!


6 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive nwh On May 29, 2010, nwh from Chicago, IL wrote:

Just gorgeous. Vigorous, easy to grow, eye catching. I got these at a clearance sale at a garden center and they were not cared for too well but were still bursting out of the pots. I figured they might be tough. The first year or two it was slow, but after the third year -- wow. I have some in semi-shade and even those turned into a huge clump well over 3 feet tall with multiple bloom spikes on each plant. Some are next to my red landscape roses --blooming at the same time-- and I get a lot of comments on this combination. I highly recommend this plant.

Positive Kestris On May 12, 2010, Kestris from Roanoke, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Lovely, well blooming flower. Grows rapidly and strongly with large fans for me. Multiple blooms repeatedly on multiple stalks.

Neutral slcochran On Aug 11, 2009, slcochran from Akron, OH wrote:

I thought I had this iris. I got it from a friend, who called it "Step Toes." Must not be, though, because besides the attributes listed above, it has a strong grapey scent. That's the problem with trades, you usually can't be sure about varietal names and maybe not even the correct species. Is this iris known to have a strong grape-like scent?

Positive MemphisLizzy On Apr 21, 2006, MemphisLizzy from Memphis, TN wrote:

This is one I wouldn't ordinarily purchase from a catalogue, however, I did receive it as a trade from my friend. I traded for the much-overused-in-memphis azalea and I think I get the better trade. These iris are huge in full sun > 3 ft and only slightly shorter in part sun. They divide well and are always a cause for comment from neighbors and friends. Even when they're done blooming, they make a statement and go well with my other flowers.

Neutral Joan On Dec 16, 2005, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Awards: American Iris Society Honorable Mention '65, Award of Merit '67, Dykes Medal '68

Positive doss On May 18, 2005, doss from Stanford, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

'Stepping Out' is an Iris that has never needed staking in my garden. I generally don't like purple plicatas on white backgrounds but I love this one. The flower has great ruffles and substance and the very white backgound shines against the wide dark purple rim and dark purple stands. The flower is on the large side. Quite a presence in the garden. Seeing this Iris you would never guess that it was introduced 40 years ago.

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.

STEPPING OUT is extraordinarily tough and stunningly beautiful. Its bold contrast of light and dark colors makes an undeniably striking statement in the garden. I highly recommend this cultivar.


Positive NellPercy On Jun 20, 2003, NellPercy from Ponca City, OK wrote:

38" HISTORIC Large white areas sharply patterned edges of blue-black-violet. DM 1968 Schreiner 1964
The contrast between white and the very dark edge is great. Grows and blooms well. zone 6


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

, (2 reports)
Tucson, Arizona (2 reports)
Bentonville, Arkansas
Bakersfield, California
Stanford, California
Chicago, Illinois
Machesney Park, Illinois
Pekin, Illinois
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Manhattan, Kansas (2 reports)
Gardiner, Maine
Hallowell, Maine
Adamstown, Maryland
Gladwin, Michigan
Deer River, Minnesota
Alton, Missouri
Brunswick, Missouri
Robertsville, Missouri
Toston, Montana (2 reports)
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Boone, North Carolina
Concord, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Glouster, Ohio
Enid, Oklahoma
Kingston, Oklahoma
Ponca City, Oklahoma
Salem, Oregon
Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Easley, South Carolina
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Celina, Tennessee
Greeneville, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Irving, Texas
Weatherford, Texas
Roanoke, Virginia
Edison, Washington
Pullman, Washington

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