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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - February 09, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Dietes bicolor(Bicolor Iris) winter-hardiness in Austin
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe

QUESTION:

I have many bi-color irises (dietes bicolor), the freeze in Austin turned them brown. Can I trim them back without harming the plants? If trimming is acceptable, can you give me tips?

ANSWER:

Dietes bicolor(Bicolor Iris) , an African native which is rated to zone 8B (15 to 20F), isn't wintering so well this year in Austin and yours are among many that have frozen to the ground.  This answer was recently given to a similar query. In my central-Austin neighborhood they are sprouting new greenery already, but I would either wait to cut them back, or mulch after doing so to protect the tender new growth until we are past danger of another hard freeze.

 

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