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Dietes Species, African Iris, Butterfly Flag, Fortnight Lily, Peacock Flower

Dietes bicolor

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Dietes (dy-AY-teez) (Info)
Species: bicolor (BY-kul-ur) (Info)
Synonym:Moraea bicolor
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Anniston, Alabama

Oracle, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Arroyo Grande, California

Camarillo, California

Chico, California

Monrovia, California

Paradise, California

Redlands, California

San Diego, California (3 reports)

San Jose, California

Wildomar, California

Auburndale, Florida

Bokeelia, Florida

Bradley, Florida

Brooksville, Florida (2 reports)

Cantonment, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Eustis, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Gulf Breeze, Florida

Hobe Sound, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lake Worth, Florida

Mascotte, Florida

Miami, Florida (3 reports)

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Orange Park, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Sarasota, Florida (2 reports)

Sebring, Florida

Seminole, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Wauchula, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Broxton, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Thomasville, Georgia

Kealakekua, Hawaii

Abita Springs, Louisiana

Belle Rose, Louisiana

Greenwell Springs, Louisiana

Morgan City, Louisiana

Zwolle, Louisiana

Biloxi, Mississippi

Lees Summit, Missouri

Charleston, South Carolina

Fair Play, South Carolina

Johns Island, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Austin, Texas (7 reports)

Cibolo, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Deer Park, Texas

Houston, Texas (3 reports)

Katy, Texas

Kempner, Texas

La Vernia, Texas

Laredo, Texas

Mont Belvieu, Texas

Quitman, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Seguin, Texas

Spring, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas (2 reports)

Sugar Land, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 13, 2016, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I bought two of these at a box store mislabeled as 'Walking yellow Iris'. I planted them in a morning sun, then dappled shade spot with irrigation twice a week. They took two years before they bloomed and to my surprise not as labeled. The flowers are a soft butter yellow and delicately blow in the breeze. The clumps have spread much wider and I may eventually need to divide and give away. We get a lot of rain, high heat, and freezing cold and nothing has harmed these plants. I even moved one after a year since it spread too wide where I had it, didn't faze it a bit.


On May 24, 2013, fluffyone from Edmonton,
Canada wrote:

I just recently move to a new home and am finding it exciting to find such a wonderful site for information


On Apr 7, 2012, HillCntryGrdnr from Spring Branch, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have 9 bi-color iris in the ground 5+ years. Very tough yet reliable plant, no fussing, water once a week on drip during our severe drought the last two summers. Not bothered by cold. Survived with a shrug two winters ago when it never got above freezing for 3 days.

Mine grew into large clumps so I unceremoniously cut them in half with a shovel and transplanted the other half. All survived fine and recovered nicely in one season.

One person wondered what part shade means in southern Arizona. I lived in Las Vegas for 30 years and my sister lives in Tucson so am familiar with desert gardening challenges. Part sun/shade in So. Az means:
(a) under a shade tree such as Desert Museum Palo Verde that allows dappled sunlight
(b) morning sun, afternoo... read more


On Jan 31, 2012, Thomboy70 from East Sahuarita, AZ wrote:

I live south of Tucson, and purchased a Dietes Bicolor, but the plant tag says it needs 4-6 hours of sun a day.

Some other sites even said, "doppled shade."

The worst part of all the different gardening websites is a lack of knowledge about hot Arizona, so what does part sun mean? Is no sun in the winter OK, with part shade occurring in the summer when the sun is directly overhead?

If the bicolor is planted in the open, in direct sunlight, won't the summer sun fry this iris? If so, should it be placed on the east side of a west facing home, so it only gets morning sun? I would love to put it next to my pond, but in the summer, the pond is dry, and we are in Seattle.

Any advice on this iris would be much appreciated from an Arizo... read more


On Jun 4, 2011, BellaMB88 from Camarillo, CA wrote:

These plants grow like weeds in Camarillo, California. They are tough and dependable bloomers, but self sow everywhere! Often by the time I see their stiff strap like leaves coming through the daylilies or agapanthes they are well rooted and quite a chore to dig out.


On Apr 27, 2009, ooodaddyo1 from Lake Worth, FL wrote:

I planted several of these many years back. They just keep on growing and spreading. They didn't flower at first and I was disappointed, but when they started to flower, I was amazed! The flowers are at the end of a long stem and they dance in even the lightest breeze. I have some blooming in partial shade and several blooming in full sun. They are exactly the same plant and they have all adapted beautifully to their separate environments. They have experienced overwatering and underwatering, fertilizer and the lack thereof, and sometimes the unwelcome attention of my dogs, and they keep on thriving. I've got seed pods now and I am so excited. Even without flowers, these are willowy and delicately shaped, but extremely hearty. I highly recommend them. Just love them and they will... read more


On Apr 7, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

My Dietes bicolor plants took several years to bloom after I planted them. This year they started to bloom in the middle of February which is quite early for them to bloom. Last year, they bloomed all summer and had some blooms into the fall. I seldom water them and have never fertilized them directly. They have received fertilizer from a hanging basket above them that I add blood meal to each year before I plant pansies in it. If the plants never bloomed, I would still love them because of their lovely evergreen foliage. The only problem I find is that I have to remove fallen oak leaves from between the blades each year because I am afraid that they will cause the plants to rot. Dietes bicolor is one of my care free plants that provides beauty year round.


On Mar 31, 2008, stephanotis from Queen Creek, AZ (Zone 8b) wrote:

The guy who did our landscaping planted several clumps of these, but said they were bearded iris. They didn't do anything for a couple years except expand. When they bloomed I was very pleasantly surprised to see this type of iris, one I had admired for a long time but didn't know what it was. The only unfortunate thing is that when I needed to divide a huge clump, it took a very long time for the main clump to bounce back from the stress. When I say a long time, I mean a couple of years. Also, the divisions I put into containers all died. I think I may have overwatered them. I like these evergreen iris because the foliage is very architectural, and when it isn't blooming looks like a very nice ornamental grass. The flowers are a nice bonus, though the blooming period doesn't seem to be ve... read more


On Mar 6, 2008, mwperry from Brandon, MS (Zone 8a) wrote:

Brandon, MS Zone 8(a)

I have had African Iris (Dietes vegeta) going on 3 years. It has never bloomed. Someone close to my zone told me that it takes 2-3 years for it to bloom. If that is true, mine should bloom this spring.


On Feb 20, 2008, rntx22 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I see these everywhere, so I know they grow here, but I am on my second plant and just can't get this one to survive. The leaves have looked saggy for a long time, and have lost their vibrant green color. Most have started to brown at the tips and eventually brown all the way to the base of the plant. It has never bloomed. I have moved it to part sun, full sun, shade, you name it. It has gone with a lot of watering, and it has gone with very little watering. I just can't get it right! I really wish it would bloom!


On Feb 4, 2008, podster from Deep East Texas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Joined DG just to see what a bloom on this plant looked like! In many years, it has never bloomed for me. I have had it in ground and in a pot. The plant has multiplied but not excessively. A true disappointment here...


On May 25, 2006, michaeladenner from Deland, FL wrote:

I grow two species: D. bicolor and the more common D. vegata (syn. iridioides). Of the two, the iridioides is a far superior plant: D. bicolor has finer blades and flowers much less frequently, often taking two years to produce their first flowers here in Central Florida. That said, the blooms are a striking saffron yellow. D. bicolor is a tough, attractive plant that has no apparent proclivities towards disease or insect damage. My friend who lives in a cool microclimate here reports that this year, when it got down into the mid-20s, hers died to the ground. In seven years of growing these, I've never had mine even browned by frost.


On Aug 19, 2005, GFT from Biloxi, MS wrote:

Traditional Dutch and Bearded Irises do not grow well on the gulf coast; African Iris, although at best a very distant cousin in appearance, will--and quite well.

The leaves are bladed but darker green, thinner, taller, and much more flexible than traditional Iris. They are neither ornamental nor unattractive; non-descript would be a better term. The flowers, however, are very nice and do indeed look something like a miniture iris with white petals and dark markings.

I understand that they tolerate full sun, but mine are planted in light shade and they do very well in that location. They are very low maintenance--I typically water them in the process of watering the lawn, but nothing more. I also find that the use of a bloom-promoting fertilizer will cause... read more


On Mar 27, 2005, Jamespayne from Sebring, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I bought 4 of these African Iris that were marked Dietes vegata, but turned out to be Dietes bicolor. They are low in water requirements, and with the 3 hurricane's in 2004, I lost 2 from all of the rain bringing on "root-rot". The two that did survive are doing well and blooming in full sun! Very good plants for sandy well drained soils.


On May 13, 2004, poozak from New Braunfels, TX wrote:

In our south Texas heat, this one survived neglect (no water/feeding/weeding) and no attention for six months in a deer infested location when we went West. I love it. Good survival skills. Snapshot to come. Poozak


On Nov 11, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This plant has recently became very popular again. Since June Im seeing blooms everywhere, not only here in Rio, but in several places Ive been since then. Its a very atractive flower, specially if you see it closely (the light yellow doesnt appeal me from a long distance), because you can see the orange lines ans marks between the light yellow sepals and the black spots. The floral morfology is pretty didactic too. Now most of them are bearing capsules... time to harvest them and pray to have enough room to plant them.


On Nov 11, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This seems to be a very popular plant here in the lower South. The new growth in Spring and the blooms are nice, but I've never seen one here that by August didn't have scale all over its leaves. Apparently the plant can tolerate this, but it is very unsightly.


On May 18, 2002, shoshy2 wrote:

This plant does very well in Arizona heat. It has the sweetest flowers. Stays green all year. Very low maintance plant.