Beardless Iris Culture

Siberian Iris Culture

White Prelude siberian iris
 

Siberian Iris are one of the easiest iris to cultivate.  Tolerant of many soil types and climactic conditions, Siberian Iris are a gardener's low-maintenance plant.  The only drawback is that the colors are limited to shades of purple, pink, violet, blue and white.  Bloom season is about the time of the tall bearded iris.  Some newer cultivars can repeat bloom, adding full-season garden value.  Siberian Iris foliage itself adds to garden structure when not in bloom with it's tall, slightly arching green foliage.

As the name implies, Siberians will not grow in lowland southern states, nor in arid conditions of the desert.  They are ideal in New England, Mid-Atlantic states, Canada, Upper Midwest and the Pacific Northwest.

DO NOT ALLOW the roots to dry out during planting or transplanting.  Spring and Fall planting is the best time.  Siberians may not bloom the year after planting and will instead form a large clump that will be in spectacular bloom the following year.

More sun results in more blooms.  Some shade is acceptable.  Siberians are not water plants and although they appreciate evenly moist soil, it should be well-drained and have no standing water.  They can be planted near a pond's edge but not in the pond's water.

Siberians love acidic soil that can be created through the addition of barkmulch, leaf mold and other organic matter.  We fertilize with Holly-Tone for acidic plants.

Garden Planting

Dig a hole at least 10" deep and 18" wide.  Addition of humus and "acid-plant" fertilizer (i.e.: Holly-Tone) at the time of planting will help the plant meet it's acidic requirements.  Make a mound in the center of the hole and spread out the iris roots downward over the mound.  Cover with dirt so the roots are 1" below surface of the soil.  New plant should be at the center of a depression to allow water to pool at the plant.  Water thoroughly after planting and continue watering every few days for the next few weeks until established (plant begins to put out new leaves).

After planting, Siberians love a mulch covering.  This provides shade to the roots, moisture conservation and will degrade into beneficial nutrients for the iris.

The main pest we have encountered in our garden is voles.  During the winter of 2004 our Siberian and Japanese Iris were decimated by voles.  We lost whole clumps of numerous varieties to these underground pests.  Currently we are battling them with poisons and traps, we'll see how the battle goes.

Break-off seedpods once formed to conserve plant energy and to prevent self-seeding.  Cut off and remove dead foliage in late fall or early spring.  Dig and divide every three to five years.


Japanese Iris Culture

Gracieuse Japanese Iris

Japanese iris do extremely well in the mixed border (give some extra watering).  Typically about 30 inches tall with the flowers held several inches above the highest foliage.  Gorgeous sword-like foliage creates beauty even after the bloom season is over.  Flower stalks carry one to three branches and each branch has one or two flower buds.  They bloom after the tall bearded hybrids have completed their show and continue  into summer. 

About the only place Japanese iris do not thrive is in  desert conditions.  They are extremely cold-hardy.    Thrive in full sun, can do acceptably in 1/2 shade.  They enjoy water and can even be left in standing water or will do fine in good garden soil.   Addition of an "acid-plant" fertilizer (i.e.: Holly-Tone) in the spring will help the plant meet it's acidic requirements.  Mulching helps greatly.

The main pest we have encountered in our garden is voles.  During the winter of 2004 our Siberian and Japanese Iris were decimated by voles.  We lost whole clumps of numerous varieties to these underground pests.  Currently we are battling them with poisons and traps, we'll see how the battle goes.

Break-off seedpods once formed to conserve plant energy and to prevent self-seeding.  Remove from ponds in winter.  Cut off and remove dead foliage in late fall or early spring.  Dig and divide every three years.

Your new roots will arrive bare-root.  DO NOT LET THE ROOTS DRY OUT UPON ARRIVAL.  Soak newly-arrived roots in water for a few hours before planting. 

Garden Planting

Dig a hole at least 10" deep and 18" wide.  Addition of humus and "acid-plant" fertilizer (i.e.: Holly-Tone) at the time of planting will help the plant meet it's acidic requirements.  Make a mound in the center of the hole and spread out the iris roots downward over the mound.  Cover with dirt so the roots are 1-3" below surface of the soil.  New plant should be at the center of a depression to allow water to pool at the plant.  Water thoroughly after planting and continue watering every few days for the next few weeks until established (plant begins to put out new leaves).

Pond Planting

Set in no more than 3-4" of water during the spring and summer.  Alternatively, set the plants beside the water where the roots can reach saturated soil.  Limited fertilizer will be needed.  Your new roots will arrive bare-root.  DO NOT LET THE ROOTS DRY OUT UPON ARRIVAL.  Remove from ponds in winter (leave plants set on water's edge).

 


 


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