Thursday, April 14, 2011


The African Iris is beginning to flower close to our front walkway, and they keep slowing me down as I try to head to or from the car - I just have to stop and admire the lovely blooms!

African Iris (Dietes iridioides) is - as you might imagine - native to Africa, where's its generally known as Fortnight Lily, though it really is part of the Iris family (Iridaceae). It blooms starting in spring and periodically throughout the summer, generally with about two weeks (a fortnight) between flushes of blooms. Unlike other irises, flowers appear and reappear on the same stem throughout the season, so don't cut them back after blooming.

In some areas, like Southern California, African Iris is sometime said to be invasive due to is rhizomatus nature and tendency to spread. Here in Florida, that's generally considered an advantage, as the plant can be divided every few years. In fact, that's where we got ours - from a friend who was dividing some. In soil, it seems to grow to best advantage in dappled shade. In water, it can withstand more sun and will grow taller.

The exotic blooms only last a day or two, but come back regularly all summer long, while the green foliage adds nice texture to the landscape. We're always looking for new, interesting, and low-maintenance blooms for the front yard, and African Iris fits the bill well for us.


  1. Mine are not blooming yet. Are yours in shade, sun, both? Do you water regularly? Fertilize?


  2. I got an African Iris this year. Sure hope it looks like yours when it blooms.

  3. FlowerLady - Mine are in dappled shade under a tree. They get only the water that nature provides and no fertilizer. Hope yours start blooming soon!