African Iris

African Iris Potted

African Iris Potted

Dietes iridiodes

The African Iris, also known as Fornight Lily or Morea Iris, has sword-shaped leaves that grow in a fan-like pattern and beautiful white iris-like flowers that extend above. Its great aesthetic value coupled with its ease of care and growth, make it a great plant for many different landscapes. It is very versatile and can be planted in various mediums from moderately dry soils to wetlands. It grows and spreads by rhizomes, stands up to heat, drought and neglect and requires minimal maintenance.

The African Iris flowers are unique and striking. Blooming primarily in spring and summer and periodically throughout the winter. Younger plants flower less, but within 2 years of its initial planting, the African Iris will begin to flower year round. Although the flowers are short lived, they are numerous; with each stalk producing a large supply of buds. The flower stems are perennials, and therefore do not need to be cut back once they flower.

The most notable difference between the African Iris White and Bicolor is through their flowers. The White African Iris flower is composed of three distinct layers of petals. The outer white petals have a golden marking near the base and the inner white petals are marked with brown at the base. The inner most petals are violet and more narrow. The Bicolor’s flowers are yellow tinted with three dark purple spots, which are each surrounded by an orange outline.


African Iris in the Landscape

Ornamental Characteristics:

Native Origin:
Southern Africa

Common Names:
Fortnight Lily; Morea Iris, Butterfly Iris, White African Iris

Description:
Hardy Range:  8 – 10
Mature Height:  2 – 3’
Mature Spread:  1 – 2’
Growth Rate: Moderate
Growth Habit:   Clumping

Ornamental Characteristics:
A clumping, robust perennial with stiff leaves radiating up and out in a fan-shaped pattern. The flower spikes are topped with 3-inch white flowers marked with yellow and voilet. Although short-lived (about 1-3 days), the flowers are produced sporadically throughout the year, especially in spring and early summer. Plants grow to 4 or 5 feet tall in standing water, making it ideal for water gardens and wet soil. They reach about 2 to 3 feet in soil.

Environment:
Soil:   Extended flooding; slightly alkaline; clay; sand; acidic; loam
Salt:  Low
Exposure:   Full sun; partial shade

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African Iris Leaves

African Iris Flower