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Dietes iridioides, commonly known as the African iris or fortnight lily, is a captivating and low-maintenance perennial that's an excellent choice for New Zealand gardens. This striking plant boasts elegant, iris-like blooms, and its resilience makes it a valuable asset to any garden. It is known for its long, slender, sword-like leaves and stunning, iris-like flowers. The flowers are white, with striking yellow and purple markings that add a touch of elegance. They typically only last a day, whereas those of D. grandiflora last 3 days. The plant thrives in a variety of climatic conditions, however it is frost tender. It's a clump-forming plant that can grow up to 70cm in height, its slender foliage provides year-round interest, and its adaptability makes it an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels.



Dietes iridioides is a tough plant that can withstand periods of drought. However, for optimal growth and flowering, it's advisable to provide regular, even moisture. During the growing season, water deeply once a week, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. In our varied climates, it's important to adjust your watering schedule according to local conditions.



A light application of balanced fertiliser in early spring will give them the nutrients they need to produce vibrant blooms. Be cautious not to over-fertilise, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers.



Pruning is generally minimal for Dietes iridioides. Remove dead or yellowing leaves as needed to maintain a tidy appearance. After flowering, cut back the spent flower stems to encourage more blooms.



Dietes iridioides is hardy and can survive mild frosts. However, in colder regions, you may want to provide additional protection by covering the plant during freezing temperatures or bringing it indoors to a sheltered area.


Birds & Bees

Dietes iridioides is not only a visually appealing addition to your garden but also a magnet for pollinators. Bees are naturally drawn to its colourful and nectar-rich flowers, making it a valuable resource for supporting local pollinators. The plant's robust foliage also provides shelter for small birds, making it a haven for local wildlife.



In the wild, Dietes iridioides can be found in a variety of habitats in South Africa, from rocky slopes to riverbanks. In New Zealand, it's a versatile plant that can thrive in different garden settings. Whether you have a sunny border, a coastal garden, or a subtropical oasis, Dietes iridioides will fit right in. It's especially well-suited for low-maintenance and drought-tolerant garden designs.



Dietes iridioides can be propagated from seeds or by dividing mature clumps. The most straightforward method is to divide the clumps in spring or early summer, ensuring that each division has roots and foliage attached. Plant the divisions at the same depth as the original plant, and they will establish themselves quickly.


Diseases, Insects & Pests

One of the remarkable features of Dietes iridioides is its resistance to many common garden pests and diseases. However, like all plants, it can still be susceptible to snails, slugs, and occasional aphid infestations. Regular monitoring and appropriate pest control measures will help keep your plants healthy.



If you're looking for alternatives to Dietes iridioides, consider other hardy perennials such as Agapanthus, Kniphofia (red hot poker), or Libertia. These plants share similar growth habits and adaptability.


Plants to Pair With

Dietes iridioides pairs beautifully with a variety of plants to create a harmonious and visually appealing garden. Some ideal companions include Phormium Evening Glow, Lavender, and ornamental grasses like Miscanthus or Carex. These combinations add texture, colour, and year-round interest to your garden.


Dietes iridioides is a resilient and captivating addition to your New Zealand garden. With its low-maintenance care requirements, wildlife attraction, and adaptability to various garden styles, it's a must-have for any gardener looking to enhance their outdoor space. Whether you're a seasoned horticultural enthusiast or a beginner, Dietes iridioides is a plant that will undoubtedly flourish in your garden and delight your senses year after year.

Dietes iridioides

    • Evergreen: Yes
    • Flower colour: White
    • Mature size: 0.4m wide x 0.7m tall
    • Temperature: Frost tender
    • Light: Sun/semi shade
    • Moisture: Drought resistant
    • Soil: Well drained
    • Wind tolerance: Hardy


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