Cross-Pollinated Bearded Iris (Black and Purple)

'Purple' Iris 'Black' Iris
Purple Iris Bkack Iris

In 2011, I decided to cross-pollinate the two bearded irises in my yard to see what the flowers would look like. Many of them germinated and grew during 2012. Spring of 2013, several of them flowered and here are the results below. I apologize for not having their official names. I'm using what was told to me. Purple Iris and Black Iris (because the flower buds look black when they're pushing out before they become this red-wine color).

Purple Mom/Black Dad (12)
04/24/13 - 1st
04/28/13 - 2nd
04/30/13 - 3rd
05/01/13 - 4th
05/02/13 - 5th
05/04/13 - 6th
05/05/13 - 7th
05/05/13 - 8th
05/07/13 - 9th
05/08/13 - 10th
05/09/13 - 11th
05/10/13 - 12th
05/20/13 - 13th

Black Mom/Purple Dad (4)

04/24/13 - 1st
04/28/13 - 2nd
04/30/13 - 3rd
05/08/13 - 4th


  1. I came across your wonderful pics while looking up photos of the iris bulbs I just purchased (Box store Dutch Iris, Miss Saigon, but who can resist a sale?).

    I've read about hand pollinating and seed harvesting, but it's one thing I've never given a try.

    Looking at your results and your pics definitely makes me want to give it a try! I'm not sure I could keep my notes straight if I tried though hahaa.

    Lovely irises! Thanks for sharing your pics.

  2. Most beautiful offsprings! I found this post while researching cross pollinating, as I wish to give it a try. Could you elaborate more on the process and also about the germinating process that yielded such a high rate of babies?
    Were the flowers similar as the plants matured (as well as their general health)?
    Thank you ( :

    1. Thank you! :D

      This picture shows the anther and the stigmatic lip:

      You'll need tweezers to reach in there and carefully pluck out the anther. And the second picture on this thread best demonstrates how to put the pollen on the stigmatic lip: It gets a little tricky because you're trying to apply the pollen to the back of the stigmatic lip.

      Out of many, many cross-pollination attempts, a lot of the pods never take so don't be discouraged.

      The germination process I chose was winter stratification. I know a lot of people like to soak the seeds in water for weeks (some keep the seeds in a pantyhose in the back of the toilet tank so that it constantly has fresh water!), but I decided that it was easier on me and the seeds if I just threw them in pots of dirt and let winter do its thing.

      I don't think any of these returned, really. I was told not to get attached to any of the flowers that bloomed in 2013 because it meant they spent the first year of their life putting energy into making a flower instead of growing more rhizomes to carry on the legacy. It was too bad because I was attached to Purple Mom/Black Dad #7 and it didn't return for 2014.

  3. Winterberry iris (has website) recommends crossing the siblings. Good inf. for beginners.

    1. Thanks! I haven't had any luck yet when it comes to crossing siblings but still trying at it. I'd love to see what their offspring would be like.