Planting and Growing Siberian Irises

Your New Plants Arrive

When you receive Siberian irises from a good source, the roots will be wrapped in some way to keep them moist. Remove the wrappings as soon as you can, and soak the division in a bucket of water deep enough to cover the roots. Plants may stay in the bucket of water (Change the water daily if possible.) for up to a week.

It is critical for there to be adequate moisture during the establishment period. Make sure the newly arrived plants have soaked at least a few hours. Plant directly in the new location if you and your weather will be able to keep the soil wet continuously until new growth appears. Another technique is available too, and is highly recommended:

Planting Time

Most irises will grow and bloom better if planted in a sunny location. Siberian irises prefer a rich soil with ample organic matter. If the soil is clay, the addition of organic matter will help to loosen it. If the soil is more sandy, the organic matter will help in water and nutrient retention. Depending on what is available, till in an ample amount of manure, hay, straw, peat moss, compost, etc. If using hay, straw, or wood products, you may need to add high-nitrogen fertilizer to compensate for the nitrogen tied up in the decomposition process. In a small garden, it works well to add some peat humus (Michigan peat). The soil should be slightly acid (pH 5.5 to 6.5 is good). If your soil pH is too high, it can be lowered by the addition of granular ferrous sulphate or agricultural sulphur. Avoid planting Siberians when the soil temperature is too high; mid or late autumn may be better than early autumn in the warmer zones. Plant these irises in a naturally moist area, or in an area where you can water the new plants until they become established. Planting in a small depression (1 to 3 inches below the average soil level) will help the plant receive extra water during rains or when watered. The roots should at no time be allowed to dry out during transplanting. Do the planting in the cool of the evening if possible. If the weather is very hot, it might help to shade new transplants in some way, maybe with a webbed lawn chair.

Plants should be fertilized only lightly when planted, if at all. (The later you plant in the fall, the less fertilizer should be used.)

Regular Maintenance

Follow this advice to keep your new Siberian growing smoothly: