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Dierama

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last updated Aug 29, 2012
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Dierama

With its graceful, arching flower stems and bell-shaped blooms, it is easy to understand why Dierama is commonly called Angel’s fishing rod. This is a perfect perennial for a sunny border or a container.

Cultivation notes Back to top

Dieramas need adequate space to look their best. They can be planted in borders or gravel gardens, and look good grown with ornamental grasses. They are attractive near water, but careful positioning is necessary as the corms must not get too wet over winter.

Planting

Choose an open, sunny position in a fertile, loamy, moist, but well-drained, soil, which doesn’t dry out in summer or become waterlogged in winter. Heavier clay soils and lighter sandy soils should be improved by incorporating well-rotted organic matter. Alternatively, dieramas do well in raised beds.

Dierama corms are best planted in spring, with the corms 5-7.5cm (2-3in) deep. Containerised plants should be planted so that the top of the compost is level with the surrounding soil.

They can also be planted in containers of fertile, but well-drained, potting media, such as John Innes No.2, but, generally, they grow better planted in the soil.

Aftercare

  • Water well in dry summers
  • Apply a general purpose fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone or Growmore in spring

Pruning and training Back to top

Dieramas need very little pruning as they are semi-evergreen. However, old, unsightly foliage can be cut away, this is usually done in spring.

Propagation Back to top

The two best ways of increasing stocks of this graceful plant are by seed and division.

Sowing seed

  • Sow seed thinly, as soon as it is ripe, in pots of John Innes or other seed compost and place in a cold frame
  • Prick out and grow on singly in a frost-free place, such as a greenhouse
  • Plant out the following spring
  • Flowering often takes five years from seed

Division

Named cultivars can be propagated by division in spring or immediately after flowering; but this should only be undertaken occasionally as plants are slow to re-establish. Plants grow from corms that build up year by year into chains, similar to Crocosmia.

  • Lift plants and separate corms, reducing the foliage by half with secateurs
  • Take care not to damage the brittle, fleshy roots
  • Divisions take one to two years to flower freely again

Cultivar Selection Back to top

Good garden species to try include;

Links

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Dierama dracomonatum

Dierama dracomonatum

Problems Back to top

Dieramas are quite trouble-free if they like their growing conditions. Here are a few tips to ensure this happens:

  • Divisions and young plants are slow to establish. They resent disturbance so try to get the positioning right first time 
  • In cultivation dieramas often cross pollinate. Many plants sold as D. pulcherimum are actually hybrids, although still very attractive plants
  • Aphids may occasionally be a problem

Quick facts

Common name Angel’s fishing rod
Botanical name Dierama
Group Bulb, Perennial
Flowering time Mid- to late summer (July-early September)
Planting time Spring (April or early May)
Height and spread Up to 1.5m (5ft) by 30cm (1ft)
Aspect Sun
Hardiness Frost hardy
Difficulty Moderate
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