Simply Trees

African Iris

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Twice a monthFull sunDeer resistantSpring to fall
  • Stunning Iris-Like Blooms: African Iris showcases exquisite, iris-like flowers that appear in cycles throughout the year. These pristine white blooms are adorned with striking yellow and blue markings, adding a touch of sophistication to any garden.
  • Evergreen Foliage: The plant's slender, sword-like leaves remain lush and green year-round, contributing to its enduring appeal and providing an attractive backdrop for other garden elements.
  • Low Maintenance: African Iris is remarkably low-maintenance, requiring minimal care once established. Its adaptability to a range of soil types and conditions makes it an easy-to-grow choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.

More Details

The African Iris, scientifically known as Dietes iridioides, is a striking perennial admired for its elegant, iris-like flowers and resilient nature. This plant boasts star-shaped blooms, in shades of white accented with intricate markings. The African Iris is a versatile and low-maintenance choice for gardeners, flourishing in a variety of settings and adding a touch of tropical flair to any landscape.

Growth rate: Moderate growth rate; reaches a mature height of 2-4 feet with a similar width.

Please note: Images on our website depict plants and trees at full maturity to showcase their expected grown characteristics. These images are illustrative examples only and do not represent the size of plants or trees upon delivery.

Pruning: Trim spent flower stalks and damaged foliage to maintain a tidy appearance. Regular deadheading promotes continuous flowering.

Fertilization: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in spring to enhance growth and blooming.

Winter Protection: African Iris is generally hardy but benefits from mulch around its base during colder months, especially in borderline zones.

When planting African Iris, select a well-drained location. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball, position the plant at the same level as it was in the container, and water thoroughly after planting. Mulch around the base to retain soil moisture and deter weeds. With its adaptability and enduring beauty, African Iris makes a splendid addition to gardens and landscapes, infusing them with timeless charm and elegance.

Sunlight Needs: African Iris thrives in full sun to partial shade, offering flexibility when choosing the perfect spot in your garden.

Watering Needs: Water regularly during the plant's establishment period, and then transition to moderate watering. African Iris is somewhat drought-tolerant once mature.

We process and ship your order as quickly as possible, typically within 1-3 business days. You will receive a shipping confirmation with tracking information once your item(s) ship.

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!

In cases of extreme cold or hot weather, we may temporarily delay shipping to ensure the well-being of your plants. Our primary focus is on delivering healthy and thriving plants to you. Rest assured, we'll make every effort to notify you of any delays promptly.

Please allow additional ship times during inclement weather and sale periods. We do not process or ship orders on the weekend or U.S. Holidays. Simply Trees is not responsible for delays due to carriers, local disruptions, or weather.

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At Simply Trees, we're committed to your satisfaction. If your plants arrive considerably damaged or sustained damage beyond the point of recovery, please contact us within five days at with clear photos for assistance. Our 30-day guarantee covers issues after planting, subject to our terms and conditions. We can't cover plants in the wrong climate or with inadequate care, but we're here to help in other situations. For a detailed understanding of our 30-day guarantee and how we ensure a fair process, click here to learn more.


Zones 8-11

Ideal for USDA Zones 8-11, African Iris is well-suited to regions with mild to warm climates. African Iris flourishes in climates with mild winters and warm to hot summers, making it a superb choice for gardens in regions with tropical and subtropical weather.

Frequently Asked Questions

African Iris is a relatively compact plant, but its size can vary depending on growing conditions and specific cultivars. In general, here are the typical size ranges for African Iris:

Height: African Iris plants typically reach a height of 2 to 4 feet when fully mature. The height can vary slightly depending on factors such as local climate, soil quality, and available moisture.

Spread: African Iris plants often have a similar spread or width, ranging from 2 to 4 feet. Their growth habit is clumping, and they gradually spread through the development of rhizomes.

Foliage: The leaves of African Iris are long, sword-like, and can grow to be 2 to 4 feet in length. The foliage forms dense clumps and provides an attractive backdrop for the plant's flowers.

Flowers: The flowers of African Iris typically rise on long stalks above the foliage, with each flower measuring about 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The flowers are white with distinctive markings and have a delicate appearance.

Growth Rate: African Iris has a relatively slow to moderate growth rate, and it may take a few years to reach its full size.

These size ranges are general guidelines, and individual plants may vary slightly. Additionally, there are different cultivars and species within the Dietes genus, and some may have slightly different growth habits or sizes. When planning the placement of African Iris in your garden, consider their mature size and spacing requirements to create an aesthetically pleasing and well-organized landscape.

African Iris is known for its relatively slow to moderate growth rate. The growth rate of African Iris can vary depending on several factors, including environmental conditions, care, and local climate. Here are some general guidelines for the growth rate of African Iris:

First Year: In the first year after planting, African Iris typically focuses on establishing its root system and producing foliage. You may see some limited growth in terms of the size and number of leaves, but significant blooming is less likely during this initial year.

Second Year: By the second year, you can expect to see more noticeable growth, including increased foliage and the development of flower stalks. This is when African Iris often begins to bloom more prolifically.

Subsequent Years: As the plant matures and becomes well-established, its growth rate may continue to improve. In the third year and beyond, you can anticipate more vigorous growth and consistent blooming, assuming the plant receives proper care.

Factors Affecting Growth: Several factors can influence the growth rate of African Iris. Adequate sunlight, regular watering, and suitable soil conditions can promote healthier and faster growth. Conversely, adverse conditions such as extreme temperatures, drought, or poor soil quality can slow growth.

Maintenance: Proper maintenance, including pruning, dividing, and fertilizing, can also affect the growth rate of African Iris. Healthy plants are more likely to grow well and produce abundant foliage and flowers.

Climate: The local climate and growing season length in your region can impact how quickly African Iris grows. Warmer climates with longer growing seasons may promote faster growth and more continuous blooming.

Overall, African Iris is not a fast-growing plant, and it typically thrives at a moderate pace. Patience is key when growing these plants, especially if you are looking forward to a lush and fully blooming display. With proper care and attention to their growing needs, you can enjoy the gradual growth and beautiful flowers of African Iris in your garden.

When planting African Irises, it's important to provide them with adequate spacing to ensure healthy growth and prevent overcrowding. Here are some guidelines for spacing African Irises:

Spacing Between Plants: Plant African Irises approximately 2 to 3 feet apart from each other. This spacing allows enough room for the plants to develop and spread without becoming overcrowded.

Consider Mature Size: Keep in mind the mature size of African Irises when determining the spacing. These plants have a tendency to spread gradually through rhizomes, and they can become denser over time. Adequate spacing ensures that each plant has access to sufficient sunlight, water, and nutrients.

Allow for Air Circulation: Proper spacing also facilitates good air circulation around the plants. Adequate airflow helps reduce the risk of diseases and promotes overall plant health.

Design and Aesthetic Considerations: The spacing between African Irises can also be influenced by your garden design preferences. You can create a more naturalized look with slightly wider spacing, or plant them closer together for a denser appearance.

Dividing: African Irises benefit from periodic division to rejuvenate the plants and maintain their vigor. Spacing them appropriately initially makes it easier to access and divide the plants when needed.

Container Planting: If you plan to grow African Irises in containers or pots, choose appropriately sized containers that allow sufficient space for growth and development. Repotting into larger containers may be necessary as the plants mature.

Proper spacing is essential for the health and longevity of your African Iris plants. It allows them to thrive and produce their attractive foliage and lovely flowers while preventing overcrowding and competition for resources.

Yes, African Iris is a perennial plant, which means it comes back year after year under the right growing conditions. Perennial plants like African Iris have a natural life cycle in which they live for multiple years, as opposed to annuals that complete their life cycle in a single growing season.

With proper care and maintenance, African Iris can thrive and continue to return each year, providing you with its attractive foliage and beautiful flowers. Here are some tips to ensure the longevity and healthy return of your African Iris plants:

Winter Protection: In regions with cold winters, provide protection for your African Iris plants during the winter months. Apply mulch around the base of the plants to insulate the roots and prevent frost damage.

Pruning: Light pruning and deadheading (removing spent flowers) can help maintain the health and appearance of your African Iris and encourage continuous blooming.

Watering: Water African Iris regularly, especially during dry spells and the growing season. Adequate moisture is essential for their well-being.

Fertilization: Apply a balanced fertilizer or one with slightly higher phosphorus content in the spring to promote healthy growth and flowering.

Dividing: Over time, African Iris may become crowded, leading to reduced blooming. Divide the plants every few years to rejuvenate them and maintain their vigor.

Sunlight: Ensure your African Iris plants receive the right amount of sunlight. They prefer full to partial sun for optimal growth and flowering.

Pest and Disease Control: Keep an eye out for common pests and diseases that can affect African Iris and address any issues promptly.

By providing these essential care practices and attention to your African Iris plants, you can enjoy their return year after year, enhancing the beauty of your garden.

Yes, African Iris is known for its ability to spread gradually over time. These plants typically spread through the growth of rhizomes, which are underground stems that produce new shoots and plants. Here are some key points to understand about how African Iris spreads:

Rhizomatous Growth: African Iris plants have rhizomatous growth habits, which means they produce horizontal underground stems (rhizomes) that extend outward from the parent plant. These rhizomes give rise to new shoots and plants.

Slow and Gradual: While African Iris can spread, it does so relatively slowly and is not considered invasive. The rate of spread depends on factors such as growing conditions, climate, and available space.

Spacing: When planting African Iris, it's advisable to provide enough spacing between individual plants to accommodate their potential for spreading. Space them approximately 2 to 3 feet apart to allow for healthy growth and prevent overcrowding.

Maintenance: To manage the spread of African Iris and prevent overcrowding, you can periodically thin out older or less healthy rhizomes. This can be done by digging up and dividing the rhizomes and replanting the new divisions in desired locations.

Container Gardening: If you want to control the spread of African Iris or grow them in a more confined space, consider planting them in containers or pots. This restricts their ability to spread beyond the container boundaries.

Naturalize and Fill Space: African Iris is often used in landscape design to naturalize areas and fill in empty spaces with attractive foliage and flowers. They can create a visually appealing ground cover when allowed to spread in suitable garden beds.

Overall, African Iris is a desirable plant for its spreading growth habit, but it generally does not become overly aggressive or invasive. With proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy its gradual spread in your garden while keeping it well-managed and aesthetically pleasing.

African Iris typically starts blooming in its second year after planting, although the exact timing can vary depending on various factors. Here's a general timeline for the blooming of African Iris:

First Year (Year of Planting): In the first year after planting African Iris, the focus is on establishing the plant's root system and foliage growth. It is not unusual for African Iris not to produce significant blooms during this initial year, especially if the plant is still young and small.

Second Year: By the second year, African Iris plants have had more time to develop their root systems and become established in their growing environment. This is when you can typically expect to see the first signs of flowering. In some cases, you may see a few blooms earlier in the second year, but the main flowering display often occurs during this period.

Subsequent Years: As African Iris matures, it tends to produce more blooms with each passing year. In the third year and beyond, you can expect a more abundant and consistent display of flowers, assuming the plant is well-cared-for and growing under suitable conditions.

To encourage and maintain blooming in African Iris, ensure it receives proper care, including adequate sunlight, regular watering, and occasional fertilization. Proper pruning and deadheading can also help promote continuous flowering.

Keep in mind that while the general timeline for African Iris blooming is outlined above, individual plant growth can vary based on factors such as climate, soil conditions, and local microclimates. Providing optimal growing conditions will help maximize the flowering potential of your African Iris plants.

African Iris generally benefits from light pruning or deadheading to maintain its appearance and encourage continuous blooming. Here are some guidelines for pruning or cutting back African Iris:

Deadheading Spent Flowers: After the flowers on African Iris have faded, you can snip off the spent flower stalks just above where they emerge from the main plant. This practice is known as deadheading and helps improve the plant's appearance and may encourage more flowers to develop.

Trimming Tattered Leaves: African Iris plants may develop tattered or damaged leaves over time. You can trim these leaves back to tidy up the plant's appearance. Use clean and sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts.

Managing Overgrowth: If your African Iris becomes too crowded or overgrown, you can thin it out by removing some of the older or less healthy rhizomes. This can improve air circulation and overall plant health. Divide and replant these rhizomes if you want to create new plants.

Light Pruning in Spring: In the spring, you can perform a light pruning to remove any dead or winter-damaged foliage. Be careful not to cut too much, as African Iris plants often benefit from the older foliage providing protection from extreme temperatures.

Avoid Severe Pruning: African Iris plants do not require severe pruning. Avoid cutting the plants back to the ground as you might with some other perennials, as this can stress the plant and reduce blooming.

Remember that African Iris is a relatively low-maintenance plant, and excessive pruning is not necessary for its health. The key is to perform light and selective pruning to remove dead or unsightly growth and to encourage tidiness and continuous blooming.

By following these pruning guidelines, you can help maintain the appearance and health of your African Iris plants without risking damage or reduced flowering.

Yes, you can divide African Iris plants, and it's a common practice to propagate and rejuvenate these perennials. Dividing African Iris plants can help maintain their health, prevent overcrowding, and create new plants for your garden. Here's how to divide African Iris:

1. Timing:
The best time to divide African Iris is in the spring or early summer when they are actively growing. This allows the divided segments to establish themselves before the onset of winter.

2. Preparation:
Water the African Iris plants thoroughly a day or two before dividing to ensure they are adequately hydrated.

3. Digging:
Carefully dig up the entire clump of African Iris from the ground using a garden fork or shovel. Try to avoid damaging the rhizomes (underground stems).

4. Division:
Once the clump is out of the ground, inspect it for healthy rhizomes with foliage. Use a sharp, clean knife or garden shears to cut the rhizomes into sections, ensuring that each section has both roots and healthy foliage. It's common to divide them into smaller clumps with 2-3 fans of leaves each.

5. Replanting:
Dig holes for the new divisions in a well-prepared garden bed or container. Ensure that the planting depth is the same as it was before. Space the divisions about 1 to 2 feet apart, depending on your preference and available space.

6. Soil and Mulch:
Plant the divisions in well-draining soil, and water them thoroughly after planting. Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

7. Care:
Continue to care for the newly divided African Iris plants as you would for established ones. Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during the initial period when they are settling in.

8. Maintenance:
Regularly check for signs of growth and health in the divided plants. They should establish themselves and begin to grow and flower within a few weeks to a few months, depending on local conditions.

Dividing African Iris plants every 3-5 years helps rejuvenate them and promotes vigorous growth and blooming. It also allows you to propagate new plants for your garden or share with others. Proper division and care will ensure the continued beauty and health of your African Iris plants.

The African Iris is a beautiful plant known for its striking flowers, but sometimes it may not bloom as expected. Several factors can contribute to a lack of blooming in African Irises. Here are some common reasons and tips on how to encourage flowering:

Insufficient Sunlight: African Irises thrive in full to partial sun. If they are planted in a location with too much shade, they may not produce as many flowers. Ensure they receive at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Age of the Plant: Young African Iris plants may take a couple of years to establish themselves before they start blooming. Be patient if your plant is relatively new.

Nutrient Deficiency: African Irises benefit from well-balanced fertilization. A lack of essential nutrients, particularly phosphorus, can inhibit flowering. Apply a balanced fertilizer or one with a slightly higher phosphorus content to promote blooming.

Over-Fertilization: On the flip side, excessive fertilization, especially with nitrogen-rich fertilizers, can lead to lush foliage at the expense of flowers. Follow recommended fertilization guidelines to avoid over-fertilizing.

Improper Pruning: Pruning at the wrong time can remove potential flower buds. African Irises typically produce flowers on the ends of long stalks. Avoid excessive pruning or cutting back the plant too severely.

Watering Practices: Inconsistent or inadequate watering can stress the plant and affect blooming. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, especially during the growing season.

Crowding: African Irises can become crowded, with too many plants competing for resources. Dividing and spacing them appropriately can help improve blooming.

Disease or Pest Issues: Check your African Iris plants for signs of diseases or pests that may be affecting their health. Address any issues promptly with suitable treatments.

Temperature and Climate: Extremely hot or cold temperatures can sometimes inhibit flowering. Ensure that your African Irises are well-suited to your local climate.

Seasonal Factors: African Irises typically bloom in cycles, with the heaviest flowering occurring in spring and early summer. It's normal for them to have periods of less prolific flowering during other times of the year.

To encourage blooming, provide your African Iris plants with the right balance of sunlight, water, and nutrients. Be mindful of their pruning and maintenance needs, and address any potential issues that may be affecting their overall health. With proper care, they should reward you with their lovely blooms.

Drooping or wilting irises can be attributed to several factors. Identifying the specific cause of drooping can help you address the issue and revive the plants. Here are some common reasons why irises might droop:

Lack of Water: Irises need consistent moisture, especially during their active growing season. If the soil around them dries out too much, the plants may wilt. Ensure that you provide regular and adequate watering, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.

Overwatering: On the flip side, overwatering can also cause iris plants to droop. Make sure the soil has proper drainage, and avoid waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and wilting.

Root Problems: Issues with the iris roots, such as root rot or root damage, can result in wilting. Check the roots for signs of rot or damage and trim away any affected parts if necessary.

Pests and Diseases: Insect infestations or diseases can weaken iris plants and cause them to droop. Inspect the leaves and roots for signs of pests like aphids, thrips, or fungal diseases. Treat as needed with appropriate pesticides or treatments.

Environmental Stress: Extreme weather conditions, such as hot and dry spells, can stress iris plants and lead to wilting. Ensure they have adequate shade and protection during harsh weather.

Soil Issues: Poor soil quality or nutrient deficiencies can also affect iris health. Test the soil and amend it as necessary to improve fertility and drainage.

Transplant Shock: If you recently transplanted the iris plants, they may undergo transplant shock, causing temporary wilting. Keep them well-watered during the recovery period.

Improper Planting Depth: Irises should be planted at the correct depth. If they are too deep or too shallow in the soil, it can affect their health. Make sure the rhizomes (bulb-like structures) are planted just below the soil surface.

Crowding: Overcrowded irises may compete for resources and become stressed. Divide and replant irises every few years to maintain their health and vigor.

Nutrient Imbalance: Irises benefit from a balanced fertilizer with adequate phosphorus for flowering. If the soil lacks essential nutrients, it can lead to wilting. Apply a suitable fertilizer following recommended guidelines.

By addressing the specific issue affecting your irises, whether it's related to water, soil, pests, or other factors, you can help them recover and thrive, ultimately preventing drooping or wilting. Regular care, including proper watering and maintenance, will contribute to the overall health of your iris plants.

Our Process

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!