Dietes is a genus that falls within the Iris plant family, Iridaceae. There are 6 species in total, which hail from Africa.
One species, Dietes robinsoniana, hails from an island just off the coast of Australia.
Dietes At A Glance
Those under the dietes genus produce flowers which look like miniature irises in their form and color, and bloom at the top of lofty stems.
These plants have many ornamental uses, in containers, mixed borders, or even borders which are on the edge of ponds or streams.
Popular types of dietes include the fairy iris, Dietes grandiflora, and the fortnight lily, Dietes iridoides (see also Fortnight Lily Grow Guide).
Dietes grandiflora or the fairy iris is curious not only for its wing-shaped white petals, but also for the way it dies back to the ground very rapidly, giving the impression that it is magic.
The fortnight lily, or Dietes iridioides, has an unusual quirk when it comes to the flowers.
During spring and summer, the plant will produce many flowers in quick succession, and then it tires itself out, halting blooming for a period of two weeks.
The plant then repeats this process until the flowering season has finished. This is a good plant for successional blooming, and if you time it right with other plants, you can create a very dramatic display.
Dietes Name Origin
The name stems from two Greek words, di, and etes, which means “having two relatives”, referring to the closely related Moraea and Iris genera.
Dietes Flower Meaning
Dietes flowers signify good luck.
Plants belonging to the Dietes genus have been used in traditional medicine to help relieve headaches, mouth pain, bruises, mild infections, colds, and flu.
Dietes Growing Requirements
Dietes plants are perennials, sometimes planted as annuals, and these plants are hardy in USDA zones 8 through to 11.
They can bloom throughout the year, depending on which type you go for, and when you plant them.
Some may reach up to 5 feet tall, and the flowers typically last for about three days before fading, and new ones quickly replace spent blooms.
They thrive in both sun and shade, preferably in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.
Interestingly, while they are tolerant of wet soil, some species can also weather periods of drought without any problems at all.
These plants are very low maintenance, and will hardly need any attention from you, except when you may need to divide the bulbs every few years to keep them flowering vigorously.