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Dierama - Growing Guide
Commonly known as ‘Angel’s Fishing Rod’
These gorgeous evergreen South African plants grow from corms and are quite fussy about how and where they grow if you want them to flower as copiously as they can in mid to late summer. They grow in mountainous grassland and produce tufts of erect grass-like grey-green leaves. A difficult situation to recreate in the garden.
Dierama grow best in full sun in compost rich but well drained soil in borders or perhaps as underplanting to roses or other shrubs in a border in the lawn. They hate wet conditions where the corms, which form year on year above each other, will quickly rot and die. They also hate shady spots where they simply will not flower. At Caerhays the best clumps grow in large clumps in grass beside a hot south facing wall.
The grass like flower stalks appear in June and are 3-5ft tall before they produce hanging spikes of tubular bell shaped flowers in large terminal clusters. The flowers range in colour between different species from pink to purple and white. The predominant colour is pink and D. pulcherrimum is perhaps the easiest species to grow and most widely appreciated. Other species have yellowish, or brownish-orange or red flowers but those are less hardy and more difficult outside. Some have attractive flashings of other colours in their flowers.
If you worry about frost D. pulcherrimum will readily survive -10°C once established. For the more obscure species greenhouse growing is probably sensible. The corms should be planted 2-3in deep in pots and grown in full light.
[Lots of recent pictures in blog of top wall plants]
Clumps can be lifted and divided in early spring but great care is needed as the divisions can be tricky to get going when moved.
Our choice of the best two forms to grow would be the pink D. ‘Miranda’ or the deep wine-purple D. ‘Blackbird’.
Dierama produce tons of seed which ripen quickly, usually by September. They can be sown in boxes or containers in the greenhouse straight away or in the spring. Do not expect the seedlings to be true to name if you grow more than one variety of dierama. This is a bit of a problem as we have found selling some seed grown plants rather than corms!