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Dierama pulcherrimum 'Slieve Donard Hybrids'

Fairybells, Hairbells, Wedding Bells

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Dierama pulcherrimum 'Slieve Donard Hybrids'

Fairybells, Hairbells, Wedding Bells

Availability: In stock

Packet Size:20 Seeds


An exciting selection of purple, red, pink and lavender pink forms. Dierama ‘Slieve Donard Hybrids’ were bred by the nursery that was situated near, and named after the highest of the Mourne Mountains, Slieve Donard in Co. Down, Ireland.
Dierama pulcherrimum is a distinctive-looking perennial with tall arching stems of bell-shaped, flowers. Each stem drops with the weight of the flowers which earns them the common name of Angel's Fishing Rod.

The blooms appear in mid summer and hang above clumps of grey-green, grass-like leaves. These delicate flowers look like grasses when the buds first emerge. Each bud expands into a pendant flower so graceful that it earns it the common name of Angel's Fishing Rod.
The stems may look delicate, but are actually very tough and appear to tremble in the breeze. Perfect for introducing movement to a well-drained border in a sunny, sheltered site or for overhanging water. Initially slow to establish, Dierama looks particularly good with early autumn-flowering ornamental grasses.
Excellent for cutting or as a specimen plant surrounded by a low-growing groundcover. Dierama pulcherrimum is a desirable addition to any herbaceous border or gravel garden.

Sowing: Sow seeds as soon as possible.
Sow Dierama seeds on the surface of a moist, well drained seed sowing mix (John Innes No 1 or similar) at about 17°C (68°F). They will normally only germinate with light,, so cover with only a light sprinkling of compost or grit to about 5mm deep. Use a translucent cover to allow light in and to keep the compost humid and warm (do not place in direct sunlight). No heat is needed, they can be place in a cold frame or cold greenhouse.
Dierama are often spring germinators but occasionally may be slow and erratic taking between 30 and 180 days. Don’t throw away the pots too soon.
Prick out and grow on seedlings in 7.5cm (3in) pots in a frost-free place, such as a cold greenhouse. Plant out in good garden soil.the following spring. When transplanting be careful not to damage their brittle roots. Plant out from spring, and settle them where they are going to overwinter before the end of August.

Choose an open, sunny position in a fertile, loamy, moist, but well-drained, soil, which doesn’t dry out in summer or become waterlogged in winter. Heavier clay soils and lighter sandy soils should be improved by incorporating well-rotted organic matter.
They can also be planted in containers of fertile, but well-drained, potting media, such as John Innes No.2, but, generally, they grow and flower better when planted in the soil.
Dierama corms are best planted in spring, with the corms 5 to 7cm (2 to 3in) deep. Containerised plants should be planted so that the top of the compost is level with the surrounding soil. Alternatively, Dierama do well in raised beds.
Dieramas need adequate space to look their best. They can be planted in borders or gravel gardens, and look good grown with ornamental grasses. They are attractive near water, but careful positioning is necessary as the corms must not get too wet over winter. Dierama prefer to be on the dry side overwinter, but if too dry the tops may die off entirely.

Water well in dry summers and apply a general purpose fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone or Growmore in spring. Dieramas need very little pruning as they are semi-evergreen. However, old, unsightly foliage can be cut away; this is usually done in spring. Plants may be divided in early spring or immediately after flowering; but this should only be undertaken occasionally as plants are slow to re-establish.
Not overly hardy, the plants withstand light frosts but is not likely to respond well to soil temperatures below minus 5°C (23°F) and protection in the form of a thick mulch of fleece should be given in very cold areas.

Once established these plants soon form a lovely dense clump. They will tolerate quite a bit of crowding in the garden but eventually, perhaps once every five years, they may get overcrowded, indicated by a decreasing amount of flowers.
When this occurs dig up the corms after flowering, divide them into smaller clumps and spread them out. Care must be taken during this process as the roots are very brittle. They will not flower in the year that they have been dug as they resent disturbance.
Separated corms can be used as a gift for ‘green-fingered’ friends, take to the church fete or moved to suitable parts of the garden. Dierama make sensational plants for pots.

Plant Uses:
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower Arranging, Flower Borders and Beds. Containers and Pots.

Dierama are native to South Africa and the Drakensberg mountains, usually found in moist, mountainous grassland. The original form of D. pulcherrimum was found in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It was found to be restricted to the area between the Keiskama and Buffalo Rivers near East London.
Dierama is a genus of 44 species of evergreen, clump forming, summer flowering hardy perennials. All members of the genus have upright narrow leaves and tall wiry arching stems, which carry many pendulous flowers in mid-summer, but they vary in colour, vigour, shape of flowers and timing of flowering.
Plants grow from what botanists call a corm. The corms build up year by year into chains, similar to Crocosmia.
Dierama are in the Iris family – Iridaceae.

Pronounced dye-ur-AY-muh pull-KAIR-ih-mum. The genus name Dierama comes from the ancient Greek word meaning "funnel" or "like a bell" alluding to the shape of the flowers.
The species name "Pulcherrimum" is Greek and means 'the most beautiful'.
The arching stems and flowers are the base for the most romantic common names, like Angel's Fishing Rod, Wedding Bells, Wand flower, Flowering Grass, Hairbells, Fairybells, African Harebell and Wandflower.

Slieve Donard Nursery:
The Slieve Donard Nursery, Newcastle, Co. Down, Ireland was an influential nursery established in 1904 by Thomas James (Jim) Ryan, as the Donard Nursery Company. The son of the head gardener at Castlewellan, the nearby estate owned by the Annesley family, he grew a range of ornamental shrubs and issued a catalogue.
On the death of his father he returned to Castlewellan and in 1912 the nursery was taken over by James Coey (1863–1921). In 1905 Coey, who had a keen interest in daffodils, employed William Slinger (1878–1961) to manage the nursery. William Slinger a skilled rose grower had come from the north of England to work in Dicksons, Newtownards, Co. Down. James Coey died in 1921 and Slinger took over the Donard Nursery in 1922.

Around 1928, William Slinger renamed the nursery adding ‘Slieve’ to the name. Slieve Donard, in the nearby Mountains of Mourne is Northern Ireland's highest peak. Slinger ran the nursery for nearly 25 years, helped by his nephew Philip (1902–1963) and his son Leslie (1907–74), who trained at the RBG. When William retired in 1946 Leslie Slinger took over from his father. Leslie Slinger had a particular interest in the bulbous plant Dierama. Less commonly available today are his hybrids of Dierama, named for characters from Shakespeare’s 'A Midsummer’s Night Dream'.

During its 70 year history, Slieve Donard raised, introduced or named more than 250 plants.
Universally known as The Donard, it was famous for its illustrious clientele and for the camaraderie that always prevailed among customers and nurserymen alike.
Many Slieve Donard plants remain popular and garden worthy today, and although the nursery closed down in 1975, after the death of Leslie Slinger, it lives on in the reputation of these plants and the names of some 20 cultivars.

Some of the more well known are:

  • Agapanthus 'Slieve Donard'
  • Cupressus macrocarpa 'Donard Gold'
  • Cytisus 'Donard Gem'
  • Eryngium x zabelii 'Donard Variety'
  • Escallonia 'Pride of Donard'
  • Mahonia x media 'Charity'
  • Meconopsis 'Slieve Donard'
  • Potentilla fruticosa 'Tangerine'
  • Vibernum carlesii 'Aurora'
  • DIerama pulcherrimum 'Slieve Donard'
  • Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun'

Slieve Donard Mountain
Slieve Donard (pronounced SLEEV DON-ərd, from Irish: Sliabh Dónairt, meaning "Dónairt's mountain") is a 850 m (2,789 ft) mountain in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is part of the Mourne Mountains and the highest peak in Northern Ireland and in the wider province of Ulster. It is the 19th highest peak on the island of Ireland.
Slieve Donard is named after Saint Donard, known in Irish as Domhanghairt or Domhanghart. Dónairt is a modernised spelling. He was a follower of Saint Patrick and founded a monastery at Maghera, north of Newcastle. According to tradition he was appointed by Saint Patrick to guard the surrounding countryside from the summit of Slieve Donard. He is supposed not to have died, but to have become a "perpetual guardian".
Slieve Donard sits near the town of Newcastle on the eastern coast of County Down, only two miles (3 km) from the Irish Sea. The summit provides spectacular views of the coast and as far afield as Belfast, 30 miles north, and Dublin, 55 miles to the south.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Packet Size 20 Seeds
Family Iridaceae
Genus Dierama
Species pulcherrimum
Common Name Fairybells, Hairbells, Wedding Bells
Other Common Names Wand Flowers, Angel Fishing Rods, African Harebell and Wandflower.
Hardiness Hardy Perennial
Hardy Hardy to minus 5°C (23°F)
Flowers Shades of pink, mauve and carmine
Natural Flower Time July to August
Height 100 to 120cm (39 to 47in)
Spread 30 to 60cm (12 to 24in)
Position Prefers full sun
Soil Requires rich, well drained soil
Germination Between 30 and 180 days

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