irises are herbaceous perennials, meaning they
produce fresh foliage every spring.
the wonderland of bloom by flowers in March and April,
we now approach late spring, which often seems too
green. With the trees in full leaf, the bulbs mostly
finished and the azaleas on their ebb, the landscape
looks distinctly different than just two weeks ago.
some treasures await in late spring, and one of them
ranks among my favorite perennials of the entire year.
It is an iris, but not just any iris ó itís the
a plant with Siberia in its name might seem an unlikely
winner for the Piedmont Carolinas with its bright sun
and heat, but it has proven to be a wonderful choice.
all irises, it bears beautiful flowers, typically for a
few weeks starting in early May. But unlike some irises,
it is trouble-free and the foliage looks good well into
autumn. Its major merit is as a great perennial to fill
the gap between the big burst of spring bloom in April
and the wonderful summer flowers that open in early
irises are herbaceous perennials, meaning they produce
fresh foliage every spring. These are tallish, narrow,
vertical leaves that rise about 3 feet and are
accompanied by tall stems bearing buds of the new
flowers. Because the foliage is good looking, this iris
deserves a prominent spot in a flower bed near the
center or as a background.
iris will tolerate moist soil but not a soggy place. It
is, however, less susceptible to borers and rot than
some other kinds of irises, which is why I think
Siberians rank among the top perennials.
plants about 2 feet apart to allow good development of
the clumps. They grow from rhizomes, which should be set
1 inch or so deep. Sun, or at least lightly dappled
shade, is important for growth. Avoid planting them in
the hottest areas of afternoon sun. You can expect to
dig and divide clumps every three to five years,
depending on the amount of growth.
mulch such as compost will help the plants in the heat
of summer by conserving moisture in the soil and keeping
the roots cooler in hot weather, which help growth. The
mulch also suppresses weeds.
off spent flowers and the stalks for the sake of
appearances, but leave the foliage alone through the
summer and early autumn. It will begin to turn brown and
wither in the autumn, and you can cut off the spent
foliage about an inch or so above the ground.
Siberian irises for your flowerbed is a delight because
the colors are so beautiful. Colors range from white,
pink and pale yellow through many shades of light to
dark blue and violet. Donít hesitate to buy and plant
now when you see them for sale.
I want to get started with my eggplant and peppers. But
the soil still seems cool after the weather earlier this
week. Is it time for them?
I suggest waiting another week or so. Those plants
demand warm soil for best growth and can easily wait
until a stretch of warm weather raises the gardenís
temperature, probably next week.