MARCH: SIBERIAN IRIS
Iris siberica is a beautiful and useful plant in any Boulder Colorado landscape. Originating in Europe and central Asia, Siberian Iris has been cultivated since the 1970’s and even earlier. There are several hundred cultivars registered with the American Iris Society. It has grass like long leaves, and comes in a range of colors, but purple is the most common and standard of the species. It likes well drained and sandy loam soils, but can tolerate a little bit of clay as well. It will take excess water once established so it is often incorporated at the end of gutter downspouts to soak up excess water, or planted along “dry riverbeds” to take advantage of excess water present there.
Most parts of the plants are toxic, but not deadly. Stomach irritation and vomiting would be the result of ingestion, though it is unlikely to ingest enough to make one ill. Animals would find the taste unpleasant and likely not ingest enough to get sick. Parts of the plants have been used to extract an edible starch, as well as other parts used to make a type of insecticide.
Siberian Iris is tolerant of very cold temperatures and is hardy in zones 2-8 (temperatures down to -25F). With its grass like stems, and tall showy flowers, it is an added attraction to perennial garden designs for its unique stature. Though it only blooms for a few short weeks in late spring, the colors are vibrant. Find a spot for 3 or 5 in your perennial garden design this year. Once established, they are easy to divide a few years down the road to give to friends or to populate other areas of your landscape. Even set alone, they can add to the texture and color of any landscape. Enjoy!