Hair-bell, Fairy bell
Reaching 1 to 2 m high, the graceful arching spikes of DIERAMA pendulum appear in spring and early summer. The species is endemic to the western and southern parts of the Eastern Cape, where it grows in grassy habitats at the edges of marshes and in stony ground. Flower colour varies – some are shades of pink and there is also a very attractive white form. D. pendulum needs a position in full sun to flower well and it thrives in loamy, acid, well composted soil. Once established the clumps can be left undisturbed for at least five years, after that they may become too thick in which case flowering performance diminishes. The plants can be most attractive when planted next to rocks and in rock garden pockets, and even towards the centre of herbaceous borders. They are highly decorative when planted in wide-brimmed, relatively shallow containers placed adjacent to garden ponds and water features where their spikes can hang over the water. The corms are relished by mole rats and in areas where moles present a threat the corms can be protected by completely surrounding the clumps with wire mesh at planting time, then placing several rocks around each clump. The leaves are susceptible to red spider mite in summer if grown in enclosed conditions. Thick clumps can be lifted and divided in autumn or early spring. Seeds are best sown in early summer in deep pots or seed trays. The ensuing plants should be allowed to become established for a year before they are potted-up individually into planting bags and then only planted into the garden or permanent containers at the beginning of their third spring.