African iris plant grow and care – herbaceous geophyte of the genus Dietes also known as Butterfly iris or Fortnight lily, African iris perennial evergreen used as ornamental plant for the flowers, it’s drought tolerant plant and attract pollinators also can be used for cut flowers, can grow in tropics, mediterranean, desert, subtropics, temperate climate and growing in hardiness zone 8b+ and with the right overwinter care in hardiness zone 8a.
Leaves color green and narrow like sward shape leaves grow in groups linked together.
Flowers color can be: light purple almost white, white or yellow the flower has 6 petals in the outer circle, 3 of the petals yellow or with yellow stipe in the base, and the other 3 petals can be with brown-black dots in the base, 3 petals in the inner circle in the color purple, white, or yellow, if used it as cut flower need to cut it before that all the bloom stem fully open.
Well drained soil, prefer rich soil with organic material, better to fertilize before the blooming season but not must, if there is organic material no need of fertilize, when the plant young (in case of seeds or late planting) better to protect it in the winter in hardiness zone 8-10a
How to care: Fertilizer once a year, prune once a year, reduce old plants
What is the best way to start growing? Plant / Seeds / Vegetative Reproduction
Is it necessary to use vegetative reproduction? No, it’s easy to start from seeds
Propagation by daughter plants: Dividing plants in the spring, water the soil before and try gently to take without the to cut the roots
Difficulties or problems when growing: Aggressive
Planting season: Spring in hardiness zone 8, spring to summer in hardiness zone 9-10a, spring to autumn in hardiness zone 10b-11, all year in hardiness zone 12+
How to plant: Planting
Pests and diseases: Leaf miner, spider mites
Pruning season: All year, for reducing that amount of plant better to cut in the winter and better to pull the plant with the roots
How to prune: Pruning dead leaves and dead bloom stems, better not to cut leaves and bloom stems until dry because it has effect on the blooming
Size of the plant: 0.5-1 m, 20-40 inches (1.5-3 feet)
Growth speed in optimal condition: Medium growing
Water requirement: Average amount of water / Small amount of water, possible to let it without water for a long period, but the plant prefer regular water especially in the blooming season but with good drainage
Light conditions in optimal condition for growing: Full Sun, can grow in less than full sun but then it will have less flowers
Is it possible to grow indoor as houseplant? No
Growing is also possible in a pot, planter, flowerpot or containers: Yes, when growing in containers need to choose container that 50-100% bigger than the roots ball, minimum 10L (2.6 gallon) better bigger at least 20L (5.2 gallons) need pot will be wide and shallow the roots not too much deep, after few years drainage of the soil not function the same so need to change it to new soil, when keep the plants in small pot need to reduce the amount of plants that grow in the pot and also cut some of the roots when switch soil.
Bloom season: Spring, summer, autumn
General information about the flower: Flower has 6 petals in the outer circle color can be: light purple almost white, white or yellow, 3 of the petals yellow or with yellow stipe in the base, and the other 3 petals can be with brown-black dots in the base, 3 petals in the inner circle in the color purple, white, or yellow.
How to grow from African Iris from seeds
Sowing requirement: Sunny location with good drainage, moist soil, 15-25C (59-77F), for not fresh seeds better to soak in water at least 12 hours
Saving seeds and care until sowing: Dry and dark place, better to keep in in the refrigerate before
Sowing season: Spring to summer in hardiness zone 8-11, possible all the year in hardiness zone 12+
Planting spacing: 20*30cm (8*12 inches)
Depth of Sowing: 0.5-1cm (0.25-0.5inches)
Conditions for seeds germinate: Moist soil with light humidity
Watering requires for Seeds: First week big amount of water after reduce to average amount of water, keep soil moist but not over water and don’t let it dry
Germination time: 2-8 weeks
Condition of seedling: Full sun, regularly water, keep the soil moist
Alternative names: Wood iris, Dortnight lily, African iris, Japanese iris, Butterfly iris, Fairy iris