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What is Dierama?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Dierama is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family found primarily in southern Africa. These plants have a number of common names including fairy wand, angel's fishing wand, and wedding bells. Numerous species are cultivated in gardens all over the world for their graceful, eye-catching flowers, and they are readily available from nurseries and mail order catalogs. The plants are usually available in the form of dry corms for planting, although sometimes living plants are sold as well.

Members of this genus produce spiky, sword-like foliage and long, slender stems covered in bell-shaped white to pink flowers. The plants are evergreen, although they die back in the winter months and go through a rest period. In the spring, the invigorated plant will start growing again, producing new foliage and putting out fresh stems to prepare for flowering. Dierama is an eye-catching plant when it is blooming, and not just for humans; it also attracts birds, butterflies, and bees.

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People living in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) zones eight through 10 should be able to grow Dierama successfully, and some people have success in cooler climates. The corms will need well-drained soil and moderate watering when they are active, with less water during the winter rest period. The corms will tolerate moist conditions in winter, for people in regions with wet winters, and they should not be allowed to completely dry out. Likewise, keeping the corms out of soil for an extended period of time is not recommended, as they can dry and wither.

Periodically, Dierama needs to be dug up and divided. Over time, new corms will develop, and they can start clustering and stacking up on each other. This will inhibit growth. If a plant appears to be growing less vigorously, it can be a sign it needs to be dug up and divided once it enters dormancy. Divisions can be used to expand a bed of Dierama or they can be given away or traded with other gardeners.

These members of the iris family pair well with other bulbs, as well as plants grown primarily for their foliage. Too many flowering plants can distract from the colorful blooms and create a cluttered look. These plants are suitable for beds, borders, and clustered specimen plantings in the garden. They can also be grown in containers, an option people in cool climates may want to consider, as it will allow them to bring the plants inside during the winter.

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