How to grow dierama
With dainty pink flowers dangling from thin arching stems that sway in the breeze, this elegant perennial is ideal in gravel gardens as well as borders, especially when teamed with ornamental grasses. Give it a warm, sunny, sheltered spot and fertile, well-drained soil and it will flower from midsummer through into autumn.
- Easy to grow
- Flowers from midsummer to autumn
- Likes warmth, shelter and full sun
- Plant in spring
- Needs little maintenance
- Make new plants by seed or division
All you need to know
What are dieramas?
These South African plants are also known as angel’s fishing rods, as their bell-like flowers hang from slender, arching stems.
The flowers come in many shades of pink – from bright magenta to pale rose – as well as dusky purple and white, depending on the cultivar. These rise above clumps of long grass-like evergreen leaves.
Growing from bulb-like corms, these perennial plants last for many years when given the right growing conditions. Most of the widely available species are fairly hardy, but need a warm, sheltered spot.
How and what to buy
Where to get ideas and advice
Go to RHS Find a Plant and search for ‘dierama’ to browse photos and plant descriptions, and find out where to buy them.
Browse online suppliers, who may offer a wider range of dieramas than small garden centres.
Where to plant
Choose an open, sunny position in fertile, moist but well-drained soil that doesn’t dry out in summer or become waterlogged in winter.
If you have heavy clay soil or light sandy soil, dig in plenty of well-rotted organic matter before planting. Alternatively, grow them in raised beds containing suitably fertile soil or compost.
See our guide to identifying your soil type.
Most of the widely available species are fairly hardy, but avoid planting in frost-prone locations. Check plant labels for details before buying. Dieramas generally grow best in the ground, but they can also be planted in containers. This makes it easier to bring them indoors over winter if necessary.
Give dieramas plenty of space, so their long, elegantly arching stems can be displayed to full effect. Clumps can grow to about 150cm (5ft) tall and 50cm (20in) wide.
When to plant
Containerised plants are available to buy all year round, but are best planted in spring. Avoid planting in hot, dry or cold weather.
If planting the corms, do this in spring, setting them 5–7.5cm (2–3in) deep.
How to plant
When planting in the ground, position the dierama in the planting hole so the top of its compost is level with the surrounding soil. See our guide to planting perennials.
When planting into a container, choose a fertile, well-drained potting compost, such as John Innes No 2. See our guide to planting in containers.
Once new plants are settled in, dieramas need little additional care.
Water newly planted dieramas regularly for their first growing season. After that, they shouldn’t need extra watering except during dry summers.
Plants in containers can dry out quickly, so should be watered regularly throughout the summer.
Tips on recycling and collecting rainwater
How to water efficiently
Established, healthy dieramas growing in fertile soil don’t generally need feeding. But if growth or flowering is poor, or plants are in containers, apply a general purpose fertiliser, such as blood, fish and bone or Growmore, in spring.
How to choose and use fertiliser
Guide to feeding plants
Add a mulch of well-rotted garden compost annually in autumn or spring. This helps to prevent the soil drying out and will boost levels of beneficial organic matter in the soil, as worms will gradually take it down into the ground. Learn more in our guide to mulching.
Many dieramas are not reliably hardy, especially in colder parts of the country. To be on the safe side, give them some protection over winter, especially until they are well established. You can cover plants with a cloche or fleece and lay a thick layer of mulch over the root zone. See our guide to protecting plants over winter.
How to use less plastic
For plastic-free insulation, use straw and hessian, or glass cloches, instead of bubblewrap and fleece.
No real pruning is needed, although you can cut out any old, faded foliage in spring to keep plants looking tidy.
Collect ripe seeds from your plant after flowering, in late summer or early autumn.
Prick out the seedlings after a few months, 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.
Plants grown from seed may vary slightly from the parent plant if there are different cultivars growing nearby.
You can divide established clumps of dierama, but only do this occasionally as they may be slow to re-establish afterwards. The resulting plants will be identical to the parent. Dierama grow from corms that build up year by year into chains, similar to crocosmias.
- Lift the large clump carefully, taking care not to damage the brittle, fleshy roots.
- Gently pull apart into several smaller clumps.
- Cut the foliage down by half with secateurs, to reduce water loss.
- Replant the smaller clumps straight away, setting them at the same level they were growing previously. They will take one to two years to flower freely again.
Dieramas are relatively trouble-free, as long as their growing conditions are correct. However:
Young plants and clumps that have been divided and replanted are slow to establish. They resent disturbance, so try to get the positioning right first time.
Dieramas cross-pollinate easily, so many plants sold as Dierama pulcherimum are actually hybrids, although still very attractive plants.
Aphids may occasionally be a problem.
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.