Siberian iris - Healthy Plants

Siberian iris – Healthy Plants

Siberian iris

Classically handsome Siberian iris is a must-have for every garden. Sporting stems of elegant, beardless flowers in late spring to early summer, Siberian iris cultivars come in shades of blue-violet, purple, wine, lavender, pink, white, and yellow.

Unlike the stiff foliage of some iris species, Siberian iris has narrow leaves that give the plant a graceful, grasslike effect. This combination of beautiful flowers and attractive foliage makes Siberian iris a standout in the perennial garden all summer long.

Common name: Siberian iris

Botanical name: Iris sibirica

Plant type: Herbaceous perennial

Zones: 4 to 9

Height: 20 to 40 inches

Family: Iridaceae, iris family

Growing Conditions

  • Sun: Full sun.
  • Soil: Prefers moist garden loam. Tolerates a range of soil pH.
  • Moisture: Soil should be evenly moist and well-drained. Water Siberian iris adequately during dry spells.

Care

  • Mulch: None, or a 1-inch layer of fine compost.
  • Pruning: Cut back foliage in late fall or early spring.
  • Fertiliser: Apply a balanced fertiliser once or twice during the growing season.

Propagation

  • Siberian iris tends to die out in the centre of crowded clumps. Divide the clumps every 3 to 5 years and reset the divisions to maintain healthy plants.
  • Seeds collected from cultivars will not grow into plants that look like their parents. If you want to collect seeds anyway, sow them in an outdoor seedbed in the fall.

Pests and diseases

  • Siberian iris is much less susceptible to iris borers than bearded iris, but these insects can occasionally be a problem. Check for borer damage when dividing clumps; discard infested rhizomes.

Garden notes

  • Siberian iris blooms at the same time as some peonies, and the two perennials make a stunning pair. Pink peonies and deep purple Siberian iris are a particularly dramatic duo.
  • Siberian iris foliage looks similar to ornamental grass and can be used in similar ways in the garden.
  • Most Siberian iris cultivars are not heavy seed producers. The dark brown seedpods are attractive and make a nice addition to dried bouquets.

Additional cultivars

  • There are dozens of Siberian iris cultivars. Here are just a few favourites:
  • ‘Butter and Sugar’-one of the first yellow and white bicolors.
  • ‘Caesar’s Brother’-tall, with velvety deep purple flowers.
  • ‘Ego’-ruffled light lavender-blue flowers.
  • ‘Halcyon Seas’-medium bluish purple flowers.
  • ‘Heliotrope Bouquet’-large mauve flowers.
  • ‘Lady Vanessa’-wine-red flowers.
  • ‘Pink Haze’-lavender-pink flowers.
  • ‘Ruffled Velvet’-ruffled reddish purple flowers.
  • ‘White Swirls’-large ruffled white flowers.

All in the family

  • There are several hundred species of iris with a wide range of sizes and flowering habits. They are native to Asia, Europe, and North America.
  • Siberian iris is part of the beardless iris group, which also includes Japanese, Louisiana, and spuria iris.
  • The iris has long been used in decorative arts, including the well-known fleur-de-lis design that originally served as the emblem for French royalty.
What herbs to include in a healthy herb garden?

What herbs to include in a healthy herb garden?

People grow herbs primarily for culinary purposes, but also for cosmetic, household, and medicinal uses. If you’d like to grow edible herbs for your health, think about which herbs you would use in cooking and baking. Maybe you’d like to brew mint tea, or you enjoy Mexican food with plenty of cilantro. How about parsley potatoes? Dilled cucumbers? Tomatoes sprinkled with fresh basil?      

As with any new garden, start small, then expand by adding new herbs each year. Some herbs are annuals and must be replaced each year, and others are perennial. A few perennials may become a nuisance if they’re not contained. (Mints are notorious for this.) Most herb gardens contain both types. Check to see which perennial herbs are appropriate for your hardiness zone. If your favourite herb isn’t hardy in your region, grow it as an annual and replace it each year. You could also dig it up at the end of the season, plant it in a container, keep it in a sunny window all winter, and plant it outdoors again the following spring.  Some popular annual herbs for gardens are basil, cilantro/coriander, dill, and parsley (technically a biennial). Favourite perennials include chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and French tarragon.

herbs pot

herbs pot

Basil bounty

I love basil for its fragrance and versatility. I cook with it and use it fresh as a garnish and in salads and drinks. Basil also makes a great tea for a tummy ache. Too bad it’s not a perennial.

Time for thyme

My favourite herb is thyme. It’s very useful in the kitchen, comes in several flavours, and makes a nice ground cover in a rock garden. I love to walk through the garden, brush through the thyme, and fill the air with its aroma.

Rosemary rave

I grow a large rosemary plant in a container on my patio. I use this herb often in cooking, especially on salmon. I also use rosemary water on my long hair to make it more shiny. I put a few sprigs in a cup of hot water and let it steep. When it cools, I put the water in a spray bottle and use it in the shower when I wash my hair.

Chive champion

I enjoy chives because they are easy to grow, the plants last for years, and I can use them in a variety of recipes.

Lovely lavender

I plant lavender everywhere because it’s very drought tolerant and it smells delicious when you brush against it.

Kitty’s choice

My favourite herb to grow is catnip. I like the way it smells, and I use it in tea. It’s a little taste of the garden for my three indoor cats‹they can’t resist it.

Mighty mint

I plant chocolate mint in its own garden bed so it can spread at will. I use it to brew coffee: I add 1 to 2 teaspoon of dried mint to my two scoops of coffee for a wonderfully flavoured and scented cup of coffee every morning. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t have any added calories!