Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fortnight Lily or What NOT to Plant

Usually I post about plants I love or new plants that I think everyone might like.  This is not one of those posts. It's a post about what NOT to plant.  But of course feel free to plant whatever you want.  I'm just trying to save you some heartache, pain and frustration.  It is part of my job to tell people, "No don't plant that!"

This is Fortnight Lily or Dietes iridiodes  (Di-EE-teez  ir-id-ee-OY-deez).    Each flower lasts a day but they come in 14 day flushes.    It used to be called Moraea iridiodes but "THEY" changed the name. I HATE that!  It is native to South Africa, from where all the good plants come! You'd think it would play well with others coming from the good plant part of the world.   But NO!  Yes, the flowers are lovely and can make the plant look beautiful, like they have white butterflies around it.   But the plant gets brown leaves that don't let go!   If you've ever tried to clean one of these, you know how difficult it is. The plant fights with you!  The only way to clean it is to cut it way down. Then the plant looks stubby and horrible for quite a few months!  

I have removed this plant before only to have it keep coming back from seed!  And the plant is very heavy.  Because of its drought tolerant nature, the roots hold lots of water, making the plant tough and heavy(to move).  I used to plant Dietes iridioides and its sister Dietes bicolor(the yellow one) often until experience told me otherwise.

Happy Gardening! 


  1. Skip the green foliage dietes and go with the variegated foliage. It seems to stay tidier for me. I keep the clump in control (so it doesn't get too big in diameter) by just pulling outer divisions off; give them a good strong pull.