How to grow African Iris

Dietes iridioides

These tough, drought-resistant plants will thrive in semi-shade as well as full sun, often where little else will grow. Dietes iridioides will tolerate both wind and frost, and seeds itself freely.
Plantlets often develop on the flower stems and root easily when they touch the ground.
Remember to deadhead regularly if you don’t want volunteers to appear next season, as it self sows very freely.

Growing African iris from seed

Sow seeds in spring after last frost or divide large clumps which spread by means of rhizomes. African Iris has a tendency to self sow quite readily.

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 1.24 feet (38.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.99 inches (2.54 cm).

Transplanting African iris

Dietes is effective in mass plantings under trees and around water features.

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as African iris is a hardy plant.

Seed Saving African iris

Fruit is a capsule, oval shaped and it disintegrates to release black seeds. Allow the heads to dry completely on plants, then remove seeds.

How long does African iris take to grow?

These estimates for how long African iris takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Days to Germination How long does it take African iris to germinate?

Average days | Min days | Max days (0)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out African iris?
+ days

Average days | Min days | Max days (0)

Days to Maturity How long until African iris is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 415 days

Average 415 days | Min 405 days | Max 429 days (3)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow African iris?
= days

African iris Etymology

Dietes is derived from the Greek dis, meaning twice, and etes, meaning an associate, thus two relatives, drawing attention to the position of this genus between Moraea and Iris. About five species make up this genus of indigenous, rhizomatous plants. Often seen in gardens are D.grandiflora and D. bicolor.

African iris Folklore & Trivia

Infusions made from the inner part of the rhizome are taken orally in enemas to treat dysentery. Rhizomes are used during childbirth and also for hypertension (Pujol 1990). Ground rhizomes are ingredients in tonics for goats (Hulme 1954). Roots are used for first menstruation.

Some people call this the rain iris as they believe that flowering of this plant presages rain.

Some African cultures believe that, if you have been to a funeral or entered a house with a corpse, you must chew the rhizome and spit on the ground to take the bad luck away. And if you do not chew the rhizome, an immediate member of your family is going to die.

Other names for African iris

Cape iris, Fortnight lily, Morea iris, Wild iris, Wood iris, Indawo-yehlathi, Isiqiki-sikatokoloshe, Isishuphe somfula

Dietes vegeta, Moraea iridioides L., Moraea vegeta Mill


< Previous Plant Guide

Couch Grass

Next Plant Guide >

Love In A Mist