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Tall Bearded Iris 'Stairway to Heaven'


Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Iris (EYE-ris) (Info)
Cultivar: Stairway to Heaven
Hybridized by Lauer
Registered or introduced: 1992
» 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 Blue

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Early midseason (EM)



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)

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)

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

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:

Houston, Alabama

Tempe, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona(2 reports)

Denver, Colorado

Blairsville, Georgia

Hawkinsville, Georgia

Macy, Indiana

Nichols, Iowa

Manhattan, Kansas(2 reports)

Wichita, Kansas

Ventress, Louisiana

Durham, Maine

Belleville, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Deer River, Minnesota

Jackson, Mississippi

Tupelo, Mississippi

Robertsville, Missouri

Cut Bank, Montana

Harlowton, Montana

Reno, Nevada

Coshocton, Ohio

Enid, Oklahoma

Lawton, Oklahoma

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Columbia, South Carolina

Greeneville, Tennessee

Readyville, Tennessee

Portsmouth, Virginia

Stuarts Draft, Virginia

Madison, Wisconsin

Tomah, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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).


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

Beautiful, frilly iris that is easy to care for.


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.


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.


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 condi... read more