Plant DetailShow Menu

African Iris Dietes

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
dy-EE-teez
Description

Fortnight Lily is a rhizomatous evergreen perennial producing clumps of long, upright narrow leaves that reach 2 to 4 feet tall. The flowers rise above the foliage and look like small Japanese irises. Fortnight Lily produces many flowers from spring to late summer, with a fortnight (two weeks) of rest between each flowering period, thus the common name. It freely self-seeds, but you can prune the blossoms to reduce seed production.This plant looks amazing as a groundcover, in a potted container, or in a rock or woodland garden. It has grass-like features and dainty flowers that allow it to stand its own in any garden. Plus, it is low maintenance which can be a plus for any busy gardener. There are five species of Dietes, four from Africa and one species from Lord Howe Island east of Australia. The genus name comes from dis meaning double.

Best flowering occurs in full sun, but the plant does best with some part light afternoon shade. Fortnight Lily tolerates drought and some soil dryness, but you should provide regular moisture. The plant is winter hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11, but can be injured when temperatures drop below 50 degrees F. (10 degrees C). In cooler climates it can be grown as an annual or you can dig up the rhizomes and store them indoors for winter. Potted plants can be brought indoors. In the garden, the plants do best in moist, moderately fertile, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. When planting, place the woody rhizomes 12 inches apart, 1 per square foot, and bury to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm). 

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

Nematodes are the main pest problem. Scales can cover the foliage and cause a severe problem.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Lemon Drops'
  • 'Orange Drops'
'Lemon Drops', 'Orange Drops'
Tags:
#purple#evergreen#drought tolerant#violet#white flowers#purple flowers#yellow flowers#low maintenance#dainty#long bloom time#groundcover#bee friendly#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Lemon Drops'
  • 'Orange Drops'
'Lemon Drops', 'Orange Drops'
Tags:
#purple#evergreen#drought tolerant#violet#white flowers#purple flowers#yellow flowers#low maintenance#dainty#long bloom time#groundcover#bee friendly#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Dietes
    Family:
    Iridaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used in traditional medicine to treat cold, flu, headache, toothache, malaria, bruise and various infections.
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Ethiopia to South Africa
    Distribution:
    Hawaii, Australia, parts of the Caribbean and Mexico.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Drought tolerant
    Bulb Storage:
    Store rhizomes in peat or vermiculite at 41 to 50 degrees F (5-10 degrees C). Place container plants indoors at 50 to 65 degrees F (10-18 degrees C).
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Ground Cover
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Half to 1 inch obovoid capsule with several seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Three inch wide flowers are white with yellow and blue markings resembling a small Japanese Iris. Flowers appear on branched stalks from spring to fall and intermittently throughout winter. Flowers last one day, but are quickly replaced. Each flower stalk carries a large supply of buds. Flowering occurs in bloom bursts that often occur at 2 week intervals.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Narrow, sword-shaped, basal, evergreen iris-like leaves in fan-shaped clumps.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought