QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE
1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full to partial sun (at least 5 hours of direct sun per day).
2. USDA Hardiness Zones - 3 to 10.
3. Planting Distance - 12 to 24 inches apart.
4. Mature Height/Spread - 18 to 48 inches tall with a spread of 24 inches.
5. Bloom Time - Early spring, with some re-bloomers flowering again in late summer to early fall depending upon environmental factors.
6. Planting Instructions - As indicated below.
Bare-root plants - Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the rhizome (see illustration above). Place in the hole keeping the top of the rhizome level with the soil surface. Gently pull in the soil around the rhizome and firm the soil with your fingers. Be careful not to plant too deep. Firm the soil around the plant with your fingers. Water thoroughly.
Potted Plants - Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the pot in which your plant was grown. Gently remove the rootball from the pot. Partially backfill the hole with soil and place the plant into the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the ground surrounding the hole. Refill the hole with soil, firming the soil around the plant with your fingers. Check to be sure that the plant is not planted too deeply. If it is, raise the plant carefully and refirm the soil. Water thoroughly.
Although these plants will perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office. These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance. See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:
1. Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.
2. To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.
3. After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.
Water - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground. Do not allow plants in containers to dry out. In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat. You may wish to temporarily move containerized plants to an area where they are shielded from the hot summer sun (i.e., in the shade of a tree, on a porch near an overhang).
Mulching - In-ground apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth. NOTE: Do not mulch over iris rhizomes during the growing season.
Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with other plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.
Grooming - Deadhead or remove flowers when blooms have faded, leaving as much foliage as possible. As long as the foliage remains green it will gather sunlight and transmit energy into the root system for the following growing season.
Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in the spring.
Dividing - Iris should be divided every three to four years. August is the best time to divide iris. Older rhizomes which have few white roots should be discarded. Be sure that each rhizome you plant has one or two fans and replant as you did your new iris.
Winterizing - After frost has blackened the foliage of your iris, trim them all back to 3 - 5 inches and clean up the area around the plants. Then apply a 2 - 4 inch layer of mulch. Gardeners in northern states should protect their iris every winter. If alternate freezing and thawing lifts your iris rhizomes, do not try to press them back into the soil. Instead, just bank soil around the rhizomes and the exposed roots.
For container planting, move plants next to your home's southern foundation for added warmth and protection. They may also be moved into an unheated protected area such as a garage or cellar. If moved to a protected area be sure to give them a good watering once every 7 to 10 days.
In spring, remove mulch from in-ground plantings and prune off any dead wood. Also, bring containerized plants back out into the garden sunlight where they will immediately begin to repeat their yearly garden performance.
CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.