Siberian Iris -- Planting, Transplanting, and Care
At one end of my vegetable garden is a lush row of beautiful Siberian Iris. The leaves resemble long graceful tropical grass blades, and the flowers are a deep purple on long upright stalks. These iris are beardless, and the flowers average 3” in size with a delicate appearance. They make a border statement, which has generated a lot of positive comments from people. Siberian Iris come in a variety of colors too from various blues, pinks, reds, and purples, to whites and yellows.
Unlike a regular or what I term a traditional iris, Siberian Iris are bush-like. The plants become quite full with their greenery. The plants in my garden grow about 18” tall and roughly just as wide. Check the various varieties, though, since some grow taller than others.
In my area (New England), these perennials begin emerging late April to early May. They bloom throughout the summer and begin to die back in autumn.
Siberian Iris are forgiving plants. They will grow in a variety of soils and locations. While they prefer full sunlight, they will bloom in partial sun. Siberian Iris plants are advertised as drought resistant once the plants are established, and we have had dry weather which never bothered them.
They are easy to plant and grow. The roots are very different from traditional iris. They have fibrous roots that are not attacked by iris borers or root rot. Simply dig a hole big enough to accommodate the root clump. Since my iris plants are located at the end of the vegetable garden, I water them when I water the other plants. Twice during the growing season, I add general organic plant fertilizer to the iris.
Siberian Iris will become established and grow into lovely bush-like plants. However, they have one interesting feature. The plants migrate outward. The best way to describe it is that the plant starts out as a clump, but in about three years the shape changes so that it looks like a donut. When it is obvious that there is a hole in the center of the clump, take a shovel to separate the plant. I usually do this in late summer after the plants have stopped blooming. Simply rearrange the pieces into a row (or the shape you desire) and replant the sections. I find I need to separate the iris clumps and replant about every three years.
These plants pull through a New England winter like champs. In the autumn, the grassy leaves die back. I let them stay to give added insulation to the roots. I don’t give them special treatment. After the snows have gone, in April when I see signs of life, I gently pull the old leaves away from the plants to make way for the new growth.
My Siberian Iris plants are around ten years old and look great. They are flourishing. If you find that your iris are beginning to outgrow your garden, share them with friends. That’s how these plants came to my yard!
Copyright 2011 Dawn L. Stewart
Please read my other guides:
Planting a Garden to Attract Butterflies and Bees
How to Plant Daylilies … Or a Daylily Flower Bed
Daffodils -- Planting and Care
Crocus – Planting and Care
Herbs that Have Grown Well for Me
Where to Buy Seeds – My Favorite Online Stores
Joined:May 31, 2002
Dawn Lesley Stewart is the author of "Mist-Seer" and "Harriet's Horrible Hair Day". She is an avid writer, and enjoys sharing her experiences with others.
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