Plant Guide

Dietes iridioides


Pronunciation: dy-AY-teez ir-id-ee-OY-deez
Family: Iridaceae (iris Family)
Synonym: Dietes vegeta, Moraea iridioides
Common Name: African iris, fortnight lily, morea iris
Plant Type:
  • perennial

Height to: 2'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10

Bloom Description: The 2-4 ft (0.6-1.2 m) flowering stalks, which are perennial, are branched and stiffly wiry, bearing a succession of short-lived irislike flowers throughout spring and summer. The flowers, rather flattened and nearly 3 in (7.6 cm) across, are milky white with yellow markings on the three larger tepals. (The three petals and three similar sepals of iris flowers are collectively called tepals.) Fortnight lily fruits are 1-2 in (2.5-5.1 cm) football shaped, three-sided capsules.
Bloom Season:
  • late spring
  • early summer
  • mid summer

Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
  • part sun

Soil Type: Although tolerant of poor soils, fortnight lilies are not tolerant of salty conditions.
Propagation: Propagate fortnight lilies by dividing the rhizomatous clumps after the plants have flowered. The new divisions may take several weeks to get established, so be patient and pamper them for a while. They also can be grown from seed, and under ideal growing conditions, may even seed themselves.
Native to: Kenya and eastern Africa ranging south to South Africa at the tip of the continent.
Notes:

Source: Floridata

Care: The flowering stems of fortnight lily are perennial, so don't cut them back after flowering as you might for most other iris like plants. Once established, fortnight lilies tolerate poor, dry soils, but do best in a well drained soil with regular watering during the growing season. Reduce water and fertilizer after flowering.

The fortnight lilies are often grown in borders because the narrow leaves are evergreen, and provide a strong vertical element. They're good along foundations, too. Fortnight lilies eventually form dense fan shaped clumps of leaves, and make a dramatic ground cover under large, tall trees. The flowers are beautiful, and although each lasts only a day, they are produced in profusion over an extended period from spring until late summer. They usually come in bursts, with a fortnight (two weeks) of rest between flowering events. Fortnight lilies seem to perform best in the light dappled shade of tall, open trees.


Submitted by: Deano2u2
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