Iris


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 - Will do well from zone 3 through 10 and survive temperatures to -30 degrees F.

3. Planting Distance - As indicated below.

  • Miniatures and Dwarfs - 6 to 12 inches apart.
  • Border and Bearded - 1 to 2 feet apart.
  • Intermediates - 2 feet apart.
  • Standard German - 2 to 3 feet apart.

4. Mature Height/Spread - As indicated below.

  • Miniatures and Dwarfs - 9 to 12 inches tall.
  • Border and Bearded - 16 to 28 inches tall.
  • Intermediates - 18 to 24 inches tall.
  • Standard German - 2 to 3 feet tall.

5. Bloom Time - Dwarfs, Border and Bearded and Miniature Iris are the first varieties to bloom in the spring; followed by the Intermediates and then the Standard German varieties. They all bloom the first spring/summer after planting. If any varieties in these categories are offered as rebloomers, they will repeat bloom in August/ September and sometimes into October/ November depending upon weather conditions and your planting zone.

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. Please note that many of our pots are biodegradable. If your plant is not in a traditional plastic pot then you may place the entire biodegradable pot in the ground; otherwise, 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. 

 GET THE MOST ENJOYMENT

Few plants provide so much beauty with so little effort as today's Iris hybrids. Those that you have ordered are America's most popular, whether it is the low growing Dwarf Iris, the taller growing Border & Bearded, the Intermediates or the Tall German Bearded, the stateliest of all Iris. Whatever their class, they are all spectacular in the garden. Iris are easy to plant, require minimum care and multiply annually for more beauty year after year. They are fast growing and will brighten your garden with an impressive array of blooms that increase with each succeeding year. When not in bloom, the sword like foliage is attractive all season long. Excellent in the garden, border, or rock garden a versatile plant for many locations. The taller varieties are excellent as cut flowers and the Dwarf varieties are excellent for container planting.

SOIL PREPARATION

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.

CONTINUING CARE

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 all 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.