Fairybells - The Dierama Pendulum

This Iridaceae is also known as fairybells, wandflowers, the angelís fishing rod and grasklokkies, known for their pretty grace and bell-shaped flowers.

Did you know? South Africa is home to more than 22 000 indigenous seed plants from almost 230 different families.

They are most commonly found in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. However, their distribution spreads further afield to the whole of the southern part of the continent and, sometimes, even further north.

Description

The usual pink-purple flowers of the Dierama can also be white or orange, depending on the specific species, of which there are 44. They grow on tall stems, and blow sleepily in the breeze, making them particularly pretty. They are evergreen herbs with thin, wiry stems and spiky leaves.

Flowering time

Plant the evergreen Dierama in spring. Flowering usually takes place about five years later.

Use in the garden

In addition to making for gorgeous ornamental flowers in the garden, certain of the Dierama species have been used in African medicine for the treatment of stomach ailments and fertility problems.

Natural distribution

A loss of its natural habitat in South Africa means that these plants are threatened, with several species already qualifying for the endangered list. In this country, they are found most commonly in the humid, hot area of KwaZulu-Natal. It is, therefore, our responsibility to preserve our environment to avoid the complete degradation of an entire floral species.

Growing Dierama pendulum in your garden

Dieramas need space, and do well when paired with ornamental grasses, along the borders of floral beds and in gravel gardens.

Dierama prefer sunny conditions in loam soils that are moist, but well drained. They also excel in raised beds. Their corms (bulblike root structures) must not become too wet during the winter months, but should be kept moist in summer.

Propagation

The corm can be planted in fertile soil and compost. They do not need pruning, but dead foliage can be cut away. Seeds should be sown as soon as the fruits are ripe and then left to take root. Once they do, they can be transplanted in the following spring. The Dierama can also be grown very successfully by division. Of course, where division takes place, the flower will only appear again in a year or two.

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