Difficulties with Dierama

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Wed, 17 Jul 2002 08:58:01 PDT
Dear Chad,

I might as well offer my differing experience. That is what I always find so fascinating about sharing. When we bought our house, there were only a few things planted besides the native plants, but Dierama pulcherrimum was one of them. I would expect my climate in Gualala to be very much like yours in Los Gatos except being farther north and on the ridge we probably get more rain in winter and my soil is sandy, very little clay.

I loved it when they bloomed and also appreciated the dangling seed pods not recognizing what leaving them to dangle might mean. They were growing in an area we water weekly by sprinklers. I don't think much water ends up getting to most of these plants because we have coast redwood trees and their roots soak it up. At least if I dig in these areas in summer the soil is dry. Even in winter when we get lots of rain, there is never standing water. The Dierama reseeded itself all about my garden. In no time the area around where it was growing looked like it would only be one thing. So I started deadheading each year and removing plants so that I would have only a few clumps to make a statement. Some of the areas of my garden where they appeared get watered once a month in summer. The soil is really dry in those areas!!! Coming from a summer rainfall area they should just hate a wet winter and dry summer, yet they are thriving. A few have appeared where it is shady and they are not blooming as well. Kniphofia on the other hand, as much as I like it, just doesn't get enough water so I have given up on it. I had always seen that doing well close to the ocean so perhaps the fog provides the extra moisture they need.

My Dierama plants need a lot of grooming to continue to look well. I cut off all the dead looking leaves. A lot die every year and if you leave them the clumps look unattractive. New leaves keep being produced however and so once the dead ones are cut off at ground level the clump looks green. Perhaps what you need to do Chad is just to plant the seed directly in the ground and not do the transplanting bit. I agree with Dave that transplanting is a bit tricky. They don't ever go totally dormant and it is easy to damage the root. I could probably carefully watch some of my seed pods and collect seed for you to try to plant where you want it. Or try cutting back the dying leaves and see if that improves the appearance. Maybe with a lot of water in summer the leaves don't die back. I usually coddle my seedlings in pots, but Gary Buckley taught me you could plant bulb seed directly in the ground. When I visited his garden in Australia, he had almost no pots.

Rhoda, what happens in South Africa during the dry winter to Dierama?

Mary Sue

From ???@??? Thurs Jul 18 22:19:31 2002
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <pacificbulbsociety@lists.mcn.org>
Date: Thurs, 18 Jul 2002 08:58:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: Chad Schroter <chadschroter@yahoo.com>
Subject: re: Dierama responces

Thanks to all who have responded, I feared many were having no problems with these plants, but I am surprised that they are near weeds :), I have not noticed any volunteers as yet, even when I have spread the seeds around myself - it always seems to work this way....

I have been to Gualala - for Indian Guides camp back in the late 60's or early 70's....

I will try to give them more water - I have already been planting the entire seed pots out, without separating the individuals - it does make selection difficult that way....

Chad Schroter

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