Blackbeard Iris Iris 'Blackbeard' (BB)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
iris 'Blackbeard'


Iris 'Blackbeard' is a stunning perennial plant known for its exotic and dramatic flowers. The blossoms of this variety are notable for their deep, velvety purple tones, almost bordering on black. They feature prominent, ruffled petals that create an elegant and showy display. At the center of each flower, there is a striking bright gold or yellow beard, which contrasts vividly against the dark petals, thus getting its name from the resemblance to a pirate's dark beard. The foliage of Blackbeard is also attractive, forming a clump of sword-like leaves. These leaves are a beautiful green color that complements the bloom and adds to the plant's overall lush appearance. The leaves are upright and graceful, giving this Iris a neat and structured look even when not in bloom. Throughout its blooming season, Blackbeard provides a bold color accent to any garden, drawing the eye and often becoming a focal point due to its unique and rich coloring. This Iris is a popular choice for gardeners looking to add a touch of drama and elegance to their landscape.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Blackbeard Iris, Tall Bearded Iris, Bearded Iris

    • Common names

      Iris 'Blackbeard'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Iris 'Blackbeard', commonly known as the Bearded Iris, contains compounds that can be toxic to humans if ingested. These toxins, primarily irisin, irisine, and iridin, are found throughout the plant but are more concentrated in the rhizomes (bulb-like stem bases). If parts of the plant are ingested, it can lead to gastrointestinal upset, with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In severe cases, due to its irritant properties, ingestion may lead to more serious issues such as increased salivation, difficulty in swallowing, and a burning sensation in the throat and stomach, which can lead to dehydration.

    • To pets

      In pets, the Bearded Iris plant contains the same toxic compounds as those that affect humans. If a pet were to consume any part of a Bearded Iris, it could experience similar symptoms of toxicity, including vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and excessive drooling. These symptoms arise from the gastrointestinal irritation caused by the chemicals in the plant. In severe cases, pets may exhibit signs of central nervous system depression, such as weakness, and it could potentially result in more serious digestive tract issues. It's important for pet owners to keep their pets from ingesting any part of the Bearded Iris to avoid these adverse health effects.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3 feet (91 cm)

    • Spread

      18 inches (45 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: BB adds visual appeal to gardens with its deep purple, almost black, flowers and attractive foliage.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, BB can withstand periods of low water availability, making it suitable for xeriscaping or drought-prone areas.
    • Low Maintenance: BB is known for its ease of care, requiring minimal upkeep once it's well situated in the landscape.
    • Cold Hardiness: BB is tolerant of cold temperatures and can survive in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 9, making it a versatile plant for various climates.
    • Pest Resistance: BB is resistant to many common garden pests, reducing the need for chemical treatments.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The vibrant flowers of BB attract bees and butterflies, promoting pollination in the garden.
    • Deer Resistance: BB is not a preferred food source for deer, making it a good choice for areas where deer browsing is a problem.
    • Long Blooming Period: BB has a long flowering season, providing color in the garden from late spring to early summer.
    • Easy Propagation: BB can be easily divided to produce new plants, allowing gardeners to expand their plantings without additional cost.
    • Versatile Use: BB can be used in a variety of landscape designs, including borders, containers, and as a focal point in beds.
    • Cutting Garden Suitable: The striking blooms of BB make excellent cut flowers for arrangements and bouquets.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Crafting natural dyes - The rhizomes of the Iris 'Blackbeard' can be used to create natural dyes for textiles, yielding unique hues.
    • Garden design - With its striking deep purple color, it can be used as a 'thriller' plant in garden containers for visual impact.
    • Photography - Photographers can capture the Iris 'Blackbeard' for botanical and garden photography, highlighting its unique color and form.
    • Culinary garnish - The blossoms can be used as an edible garnish for salads and desserts, though they should be properly identified and ensured non-toxic.
    • Wedding decor - The flowers of the Iris 'Blackbeard' can be used in bouquets or as décor for their dramatic coloring and elegant appearance.
    • Educational tool - These irises can be used to teach about plant biology and hybridization in a school garden or during a biology class.
    • Environmental indicators - They may serve as indicators of the health of a garden ecosystem, as robust growth can signal good soil quality.
    • Ink production - Similar to natural dyes, the pigments from Iris 'Blackbeard' could potentially be used in the production of natural inks.
    • Artistic inspiration - The unique beauty of the plant can inspire artists and designers seeking natural forms and colors for their work.
    • Floristry training - The Iris 'Blackbeard' can be used in floristry and horticulture courses as an example of plant care and arrangement aesthetics.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Iris 'Blackbeard', commonly known as Beard Iris, is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Beard Iris is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Faith: The iris often symbolizes faith and hope, as it is considered a heavenly messenger in some cultures.
    • Wisdom: The iris is associated with wisdom, representing knowledge and valued learning in many societies.
    • Valor: In heraldry, the iris symbolizes valor and bravery, often used to denote a warrior's strength in battle.
    • Royalty: The flower's regal appearance has made it a symbol of royalty in various cultures, suggesting nobility and elegance.
    • Hope: Its resilience and early spring blooming make the iris a symbol of hope, a reminder that hardship can bring renewal.
    • Purity: The delicate form of the iris can also represent purity and chastity.
    • Messaging: Based on Greek mythology, the iris is named after the goddess Iris, who was the messenger of the gods and the personification of the rainbow.

Every 7 to 10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 3 to 4 years
Late summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Bearded Iris, commonly known as the Iris 'Blackbeard,' should be watered deeply to encourage strong root development. Ensure that the soil is well-drained as they do not like to remain in standing water. During the active growth periods in spring and early summer, water them once a week with approximately half a gallon per plant. Decrease watering after bloom and during the dormant season, limiting it to when the top three inches of soil are dry, which can range from every two weeks to less if there is rainfall. Adjust the frequency of watering based on local weather conditions and soil type, always checking that the soil dries out between watering sessions.

  • sunLight

    Bearded Iris thrives best in full sun conditions. Select a spot in the garden that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Placing them in an area with too much shade can result in fewer blooms and an increased susceptibility to disease. Ensure no shadows from large trees or structures will cover the Iris 'Blackbeard' during the peak sun hours to receive adequate light.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Bearded Iris 'Blackbeard' prefers temperate climates and can typically survive in temperatures ranging from 14°F to 86°F. However, they thrive best in temperatures between 68°F and 75°F during the growing season. It's essential to protect the rhizomes from freezing during winter by applying a loose layer of mulch if temperatures fall below the survival threshold in your area.

  • scissorsPruning

    Bearded Iris should be pruned by removing spent flower stalks at their base to promote healthy growth and to maintain a tidy appearance. Additionally, in late summer or early fall, trim the foliage into a fan shape about 6 inches above ground to prepare the plant for winter and encourage good air circulation. Pruning should be done annually, with the best time for cutting back leaves being after blooming season or when they show signs of damage or disease.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    'Blackbeard' Irises thrive in a well-draining soil mixture with moderate fertility. A mix that includes loamy garden soil, compost, and coarse sand or perlite is ideal to ensure proper drainage and aeration. The pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.1 to 7.0, to support the best growth of this Tall Bearded Iris variety.

  • plantRepotting

    Tall Bearded Irises like the 'Blackbeard' generally do not need to be repotted frequently. They should be divided and replanted about every three to four years to rejuvenate the plant and prevent overcrowding. This helps maintain vigor and encourages optimal blooming.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    'Blackbeard' Irises are tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels and do not require specific humidity conditions to thrive. As long as the soil moisture is managed properly and the plant is not sitting in water, ambient outdoor humidity levels are generally sufficient for this hardy plant.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place 'Blackbeard' Iris near a sunny window and ensure good air circulation.

    • Outdoor

      Ensure full sun, well-draining soil, and space rhizomes apart.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life cycle of Iris 'Blackbeard' starts with seed germination, which occurs in moist soil and under adequate temperature conditions, usually in late spring or early summer. The germinated seeds develop into seedlings, which grow into juvenile plants; during this stage, the development of roots and foliage is prioritized. As the plant matures, it enters the vegetative growth phase, expanding its rhizomatous root system and producing long, sword-like leaves. Once mature, 'Blackbeard' irises typically bloom in late spring to early summer, showcasing their distinct deep purple, almost black flowers. After blooming, the plant sets seeds, completing its reproductive cycle, while the foliage continues to photosynthesize and store energy in the rhizomes for the next season. As perennial plants, Iris 'Blackbeard' dies back in the fall, with their rhizomes lying dormant through the winter until the next growth cycle begins in spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late summer

    • Propogation: Iris 'Blackbeard', commonly known simply as the Blackbeard Iris, is best propagated by division, typically done in late summer after the blooming period. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the rhizomes, which are the horizontal underground stems, and separate them with a sharp knife, ensuring that each section has at least one fan of leaves and a portion of the rhizome. Trimming the leaves to about a third of their height helps to reduce water loss and makes handling easier. The divided rhizomes should be replanted promptly, setting them so the top of the rhizome is slightly below the soil surface. Water the newly planted divisions well to help establish them. It's important to allow ample space between the plants for air circulation and growth, usually about 18 to 24 inches (approximately 45 to 60 centimeters).