Caring For Your Siberian Iris

The Siberian iris is a flowering plant which belongs to the Iris genus. These plants are famous for the delicate beauty of their flowers, which are produced on tall, thin stems, usually in shades of blue or purple. The foliage of these plants remains eye-catching throughout the year. The ease of maintenance and the forgiving nature of these plants make them very popular as landscaping choices in many backyards.

Following some basic care guidelines and avoiding some of the unfavorable factors will ensure a healthy Siberian iris plant.

  • Siberian iris plants prefer acid to neutral pH soil. If your soil is alkaline, you can increase the acidity by adding some sulfur pellets to the soil.
  • The soil must be rich in organic content and humus. Add mature compost or manure to increase the richness of the soil.
  • Siberian irises do well in soils with good drainage. Soils that are sandy or clay-like must be amended with sufficient quantities of organic matter.
  • Choose a sunny spot to plant your Siberian iris. These plants do best in areas with full sun, but can also grow well with exposure to the sun for a better part of the day.
  • The Siberian iris plant develops from a rhizome. When you buy Siberian iris divisions, look for healthy rhizomes and roots, with 1 to 3 buds in each division.
  • When planting, ensure that the roots and rhizomes are not allowed to dry out. You can place them in water to avoid drying.

Planting Siberian Iris

  • Dig out about one foot of soil. Fill the hole with a mix of mature compost and soil, to about half the depth.
  • Place the plant, and add soil. The rhizome must be about an inch below the soil.
  • Water the plant thoroughly. If the weather is very hot, you can protect the plants for about a week by providing a temporary shade.
  • Mulch the plant to provide protection against temperature fluctuations and frost in the winter. Mulching also provides better moisture retention in dry weather, and prevents the growth of weeds. In winter, the mulch prevents frost heave, which may result in the plant being uprooted from the soil.
  • Fertilize the plant with about an inch of mature compost in the spring. Fertilization may be repeated after the plants have bloomed.

Caring for Your Siberian Iris

  • It is beneficial to water the Siberian iris every week, during the growing season. Young plants need a constant supply of adequate moisture for optimal growth. It is advisable to provide ample water in the first month after planting. However, ensure that no waterlogging occurs.
  • Siberian irises may become infested with iris borers, which are the pupae of a moth. These pests chew inside the leaf tissue, and destroy the leaves, and eventually the rhizome and the whole plant. You must regularly inspect the leaves of the Siberian iris plant for signs of damage. Discard iris borers into soapy water, or use an appropriate insecticide to get rid of them. After blooming season, discard all the affected leaves, and destroy them. Do not use these leaves as mulch or compost.