Siberian Iris in a Pot

Asked October 23, 2018, 12:03 PM EDT

Will Siberian Iris survive in a pot above ground all winter? The roots are not on the surface of the soil (unlike most Iris) and the leaves are cut down to about 7” for the winter. I like the idea of perennials in a pot year-round :) I read “on-line” that this will work for Siberian Iris so I dug-up the Iris’ and moved them to a big pot. What does your research show?

Ramsey County Minnesota

1 Response

Trying to over winter your Siberian Iris outside in a pot will be challenging. See the following:

The problem that will be present is that there will be no insulation surrounding your iris and the soil in the pot will freeze. More often than not, this will cause severe root damage. Also the frozen soil will greatly impede drainage from the pot. As a rule of thumb, it is advised that for potted plants to survive during the winter in a pot, the growing zone of the plant should be about two zones below the growing zone of the surrounding region. Ramsey County is in growing zone 4. This means that to survive, your Siberian Iris should be a variety that could grow in zone 2. While there are some Siberian Irises that are rated for zone 2 or higher, most are rated for zone 4 or higher. Should your iris be in the latter category, the prospects of it making it through the winter would be slim.

I agree with you that a potted iris is very attractive. So here is one solution. Bury your potted iris in the soil and then dig up the pot next spring. Putting the pot in the soil should provide enough surrounding insulation to maximize its survival. Once in the ground, water the plant well and put some mulch around it. In so doing, the survival of your iris will be much greater than if it is in a pot sitting out on your deck fully exposed to the winter blasts.

Good Luck!!