Growing Dierama in Zone 9

Lee Poulsen
Mon, 24 Feb 2014 16:47:29 PST
I have tried growing various different Dierama species multiple times here in inland southern California. And in every case so far, sooner or later, they eventually dwindle to nothing, and it always happens in the summertime. I've managed to have some grow to almost fill a 15 cm/6 in. pot, and just when they get big enough that I think they will finally bloom, they start to dwindle and 1 to 3 years later I get only one leaf, then nothing.

And yet, back when I used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I could go see dozens of these planted in the ground in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco with huge numbers of the "fishing rods" in bloom. They obviously loved growing there. So I now suspect that they just don't like summer heat, even though our nights cool off here far more than in the southeastern USA. The fact that they do so well in Ireland as well, for example, tells me that they may be one of those Zone 9 plants that also happen to want it to never get hot either.

As I've mentioned before, I don't think Ina realizes just how cool the summers are in Auckland despite it never getting much below freezing in the winter, if ever. (I believe parts of the Auckland area are Zone 10b.) I spent part of a November and most of a January traveling all over New Zealand about 20 years ago, and even though I had been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for about 5 years at the time, I felt like I was cold *all* the time even when I went north of Auckland to Whangarei. Only Ninety Mile Beach started to feel slightly "warm" and it is definitely Zone 10b if not a true Zone 11. Now mind you, the San Francisco Bay Area is widely considered to have the most pleasant summer weather of any location in the USA's sunbelt. So much so, that people often refer to its "natural air conditioning" all summer long. (The hottest part of the year there is usually late September/early October which is early-to-mid-autumn.) And even for people living there, San Francisco was considered cold all summer long. I remember that anytime we would go see an evening baseball game at the old Candlestick Park stadium in July/August (the hottest part of the summer in all of the rest of the USA), we invariably had to get out our winter jackets *and* bring blankets with us, and we still felt like we were freezing. Mark Twain was even reputed to have said that the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. (He never really said it.)

And yet, I think I've mentioned before that a professor of mine originally from Auckland, who lived there (SF Bay) told me that he thought it was unbearably warm his first summer after emigrating from New Zealand. I think the only times Houston has weather similar to Auckland's is in late autumn/early winter and late winter/early spring. And that's it. Since I never see any plantings of Dierama around southern Calif., I think they will be impossible in Houston. But these are just my observations and comparisons.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m

On Feb 24, 2014, at 11:13 AM, Ina Crossley <> wrote:

> What zone are you in Aaron?  I have well draining soil, and no problem 
> growing them.  We are fairly humid.  Rain most of the year, although 
> more in winter.
> Ina Crossley
> Auckland New Zealand zone 10a
> On 25/02/2014 7:44 a.m., aaron floden wrote:
>> Many proved to be quite cold hardy, but none appreciated the summers when they would usually rot out. If anyone has found some to grow differently in the hot and humid southeast then I would like know.
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