plant of the month dietes grandiflora
Dietes Grandiflora, (Wild Iris, isiqungasehlati , Reen lelie, Fairy Iris, being a few of the common names this beauty goes by), are a favourite with many landscapers and gardeners in South Africa.
This hardy plant has long, rigid, dark green sword-shaped leaves which may reach up to 1 m long and 15-20 mm wide.
The attractive flowers, held on erect slender stems about 1 m in length, are large and are white with yellow nectar guides and violet central segments.
It grows naturally along the southern and eastern coastal areas of the Eastern Cape and Southern Kwazulu-Natal in full sun or partial shade at forest margins, or in the shelter of taller shrubs on exposed slopes facing the sea.
It’s easy to grow, fast growing, frost and drought hardy and will grow in either sun or shade.
It does however do better in full sun or light shade, and enjoys well composted well drained soil.
If you are in an area which experiences low rainfall in the summer months, be sure to water them well during that period.
It does well in wetland areas, so if you have a boggy part of your garden where you battle to grow anything then this is the plant for you, and it propagates incredibly easily – either from seed, (which should be sown in Spring), or by simply dividing large clumps.
This is a perennial, so it will look great all year round.
The flowers, although striking, don’t last more than a few days – And if you are thinking of using them as cut flowers for a vase, you are out of luck. They wilt very quickly in vases, so within an hour or two you’ll have a rather sad display.
They do however flower prolifically, and when planted in mass are showstoppers.
They have the added advantage of attracting Birds (insect eaters) and butterflies, so if you are looking to bring nature back into your garden, these are the ideal plant.
This is a great all-rounder.
Indigenous, easy to grow, looks great all year round, and attracts wildlife.
What more could one ask of a plant!