Saturday, May 4, 2013

Dietes: Love Them or Hate Them

D. iridioides

D. bicolor
There are a lot of reasons not to like dietes, also known as African iris or fortnight lilies. They are very common plants in Southern California and can be found in most strip mall planters. They spread like crazy and can take out less aggressive neighboring plants in a few seasons. Their foliage is rather dull, stiff and spiky, nothing to rave about. The flowers, although pretty, only last a day so they don't work well in cut flower arrangements. They look horrible when they get thick and die out in the center, in need of dividing with a sharp spade. But I still kind of love them. They are very trouble free and drought tolerant, no need to fuss over them. They have charming little flowers that kind of hover above the foliage, earning them the nickname of butterfly iris and they are fire resistant. I think their charms outweigh their vices.

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