Petal Republic is reader-supported & 100% editorially independent. This page may contain shopping links. See more

Step-by-Step Guide to Growing and Caring for Angel’s Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum) at Home

If you’re looking for a plant to amplify your garden’s grace, then look no further than the angel’s fishing rod (Dierama pulcherrimum). This plant produces elegant grass-like leaves and gently arching panicles of pendulous bell-shaped blossoms that bob gently in the breeze. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about growing and caring for Angel’s Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum) at home including planting, soil considerations, light preferences, feeding, pruning, and over-winter care. 


How to Grow Angel’s Fishing Rod (Dierama) – The Essentials

Botanical Name:Dierama pulcherrimum
Also Known As:Angel’s fishing rod, fairybells, hairbells, or wandflowers
Hardiness Zones:USDA 7 to 10
Flowering Months:July to September
Growing Difficulty:Low maintenance, easy to moderate difficulty
Type of Plant:Evergreen, perennial, flowering plant
Light Requirements:Full sun
Temp & Humidity:Germinating seeds require temperatures of at least 60°F and above. Established plants can withstand winter temperatures down to 5°F but do not tolerate high heat or high humidity.
Watering Needs:Low to moderate moisture. Soil should be kept moist but never soggy during the hottest and driest parts of the summer with supplemental watering.
Soil Preferences:Moist, well-draining soil of any pH
Feeding:Apply an all-purpose, balanced fertilizer once in spring.
Growth Expectations:3 to 5 feet tall and .5 to 1.5 feet in diameter at maturity
Toxicity:Non-toxic to humans and animals

About Angel’s Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum)

About Angel's Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum)

Taxonomy

Dierama is a genus containing just under 50 species of perennial flowering plants belonging to the Croceae tribe in the Crocoideae subfamily of the Iridaceae (iris) plant family.

Where Is Angel’s Fishing Rod Native?

All species of the Dierama genus are native to Africa, with the majority of species found in the eastern part of South Africa.

Botanical Characteristics

The Dierama genus contains herbaceous, perennial, flowering, evergreen plants that grow from tuberous corms in the ground. Each of their lower stems is sheathed with dry cataphylls. The clumped stems can either be erect or arching and sprout long, wiry, grass-like leaves.

Dierama plants produce a branched inflorescence, or pannicle, with many spikes of tubular or bell-shaped pendulous flowers. Hanging from their thin panicles, the flowers weigh down the stems, creating an arched shape resembling a fishing rod – hence the plant’s common name.

In nature, the flowers most commonly bloom in shades of pink. However, species with red, yellow, purple, and white flowers also exist. Some cultivars even feature flowers with blue or yellow speckles.

Uses and Benefits

Uses and Benefits

Pollinators

Angel’s fishing rod attracts hummingbirds in addition to a variety of pollinators including butterflies, bees, and beetles.

Medicinal

Certain Dierama flowers are grown for their use in traditional medicine in Africa, such as the treatment of upset stomach and other gastrointestinal ailments.

Ornamental

Garden enthusiasts primarily grow angel’s fishing rod for their ornamental value. Varieties such as Dierama pendulum and Dierama pulcherrimum are beloved for their vibrantly colored flowers.

When Does Angel’s Fishing Rod Bloom?

Angel’s fishing rod flowers from mid to late summer (July to late August or early September).

Growth Expectations

Angel’s fishing rod grows relatively slowly, requiring 2 to 5 years to reach maturity and its ultimate size. Fully matured, angel’s fishing rod plants can grow about 3 to 5 feet tall and 6 to 18 inches in diameter.

Best Companion Plants for Angel’s Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum)

Best Companion Plants for Angel's Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum)

Angel’s fishing rod pairs well with plants that thrive in a similar environment. It looks charming paired with low-growing ground cover plants and other grass-like perennials, such as:

  • African lily (Agapanthus ‘Peter Pan’)
  • Mexican feathergrass (Stipa tenuissima)
  • New Zealand wind grass (Anemanthele iessoniana)
  • Mexican daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus)
  • Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
  • Granny’s bonnet (Aquilegia ‘Strawberry Ice Cream’)
  • Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)
  • False goatsbeard (Astilbe)

How to Grow Angel’s Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum)

How to Grow Angel's Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum)

The Best Locations for Planting Angel’s Fishing Rod 

The best location for angel’s fishing rod is a spot with rich, well-draining soil that receives plenty of full sunlight. These plants can tolerate the wind, and their flowers will bob beautifully up and down in the breeze.

Angels’ fishing rod is the perfect choice for planting on banks or slopes, raised beds, and garden beds or borders. They look lovely in cottage, coastal, informal, courtyard, gravel, and rock gardens. Angel’s fishing tod can plant them adjacent to water as long as the soil is well-draining.

When to Plant Angel’s Fishing Rod 

Aim to plant Angel’s fishing rod in early spring after the danger of frost has passed.

The Best Soil for Angel’s Fishing Rod

The Best Soil for Angel's Fishing Rod

Angel’s fishing rod can tolerate a range of soil types at just about any pH. Choose rich chalk, loam, or sand. Most importantly, ensure that the soil drains quickly and remains moist but does not retain so much water to become water-logged in the winter.

Growing Angel’s Fishing Rod From Seed vs. Nursery Plants

In addition to requiring time and indoor space to allow Dierama seeds to germinate, sprout, and become established, growing from seed also means waiting longer to enjoy your plants’ first blossoms.

If you’re growing angel’s fishing rod from seed, note they can require up to 5 years before its first flowering season. When grown from nursery plants or via propagation through dividing corms, Dierama plants can take about two years to flower for the first time.

What to Do Before Planting

Before planting an angel’s fishing rod, find a suitable location with well-draining soil and full sun. Then, gather any supplies you might need, including a trowel and fertilizer.

How to Plant Angel’s Fishing Rod 

How to Plant Angel's Fishing Rod 

From Seed:

To plant angel’s fishing rod, sew seeds on the surface of loose soil in a planting tray. Keep the soil evenly moist and above 60°F. Grow indoors for at least two seasons before transplanting outdoors in the spring.

From Corm:

Plant corms in 6-inch deep holes with the base of the plant’s stems level with the ground. Corms can be planted in spring or fall but do best when planted in spring and established throughout the growing season.

Helpful Hints:

Once established, angel’s fishing rod can be grown in large containers but grows much better in the ground.

Angel’s fishing rod plants are not particularly enthusiastic about being relocated. If transplanting or splitting corms, do so in the early spring after the first frost to allow the plants enough time to establish themselves through the summer.

Light Preferences

Angel’s fishing rod requires full sun so aim to plant in a location where they will receive ample sunlight every day.

In areas with extreme heat and humidity, some summer shade is advisable.

Temperature and Humidity Preferences

Angel’s fishing rod thrives in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10. It is winter hardy to 5°F and evergreen, except in the coldest of these zones where its foliage will die back in the winter.

Dierama plants struggle to tolerate extremely high heat or high humidity.


How to Care for Angel’s Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum)

How to Care for Angel's Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum)

Watering

Angel’s fishing rod requires evenly moist soil that is never soggy. Depending on your climate and the amount of moisture you receive, an angel’s fishing rod might not need supplemental watering.

In sweltering hot or dry conditions, check the soil frequently, watering when the top 2 inches are dry. In hot weather, water in the early morning to avoid evaporation and high humidity around the plant base.

Do not water angel’s fishing rod during winter dormancy.

How, When, and Why to Fertilize

To encourage healthy growth and abundant flowering, apply a well-balanced, all-purpose fertilizer to angel’s fishing rod in the spring after the danger of frost has passed.

Pruning and Cutting Back

Angel’s fishing rod requires little pruning or maintenance. Dead or unattractive foliage can be removed or cut back using sterile pruning shears. You should perform all pruning in the early spring before new growth emerges.

Deadheading

Remove flowering stems once all flowers the plant are spent.

Propagation

Angel’s fishing rod can be propagated by seed or by dividing the plant’s corms with secateurs and planting outdoors in spring.

In fact, a Dierama plant’s flowering will slow after about five years of blooming. At this time, digging up your plants in the spring, splitting the corms, and replanting them in the ground will reinvigorate the plants and encourage the production of more flowers.

Overwintering

Overwintering

Plants growing in the ground within the Dierama‘s appropriate USDA hardiness zone do not require special winter care, except to stop all supplemental watering and ensure proper soil drainage.

Container-grown angel’s fishing rod should be moved indoors to a cool, dry location. Watering should be drastically reduced throughout the plant’s winter dormancy, keeping the potting soil only very slightly moist.

Should Container-Grown Angel’s Fishing Rod Be Repotted?

Grown in containers, an angel’s fishing rod only survives as an annual plant, so there is no need to repot these plants.

If starting from seeds indoors, you can transplant plants into the ground outside in the spring. This allows the plants ample time to get established throughout the growing season.


Common Angel’s Fishing Rod Problems and How to Treat Them

Common Angel's Fishing Rod Problems and How to Treat Them

Angel’s fishing rod is not prone to many problems, pests, or diseases. The following are the most common issues you might encounter:

Signs of Common Problems:

  • No Flowers – Dierama plants do not produce as many flowers when they do not receive enough sunlight. They might also begin producing fewer flowers as they age beyond 5 seasons of blooming.
  • Foliage Turning Yellow – Yellow or otherwise sickly-looking foliage could indicate root rot caused by overwatering. Use a moisture meter to measure the water content in your soil and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Common Pests and Diseases:

  • Rust Fungus – Rust fungus appears as rust-colored spots or blights on the plant’s leaves. Treat and prevent rust fungus with a weekly dusting of sulfur or with neem oil.
  • Red Spider Mites – Spider mites create white, web-like fuzz around leaves. The mites themselves look like tiny, red dots. Regularly misting leaves can deter mites in a moist environment.

Essential Tools for Growing Angel’s Fishing Rod 

Essential Tools for Growing Angel's Fishing Rod 
  • Pruning shears
  • Secateurs
  • Trowel
  • All-purpose fertilizer
  • Moisture meter or water probe

Go Fishing With the Angels in Your Garden

As long as your garden offers the right growing conditions, you can’t go wrong by cultivating angel’s fishing rod. The plant’s unique beauty and graceful silhouette will make your backyard feel like a heavenly oasis.


Growing Angel’s Fishing Rod (Dierama pulcherrimum) FAQs

Angel’s fishing rod is winter hardy in USDA growing zones 7 to 10. It is an evergreen in all but the coldest of these zones.

Angel’s fishing rod grows to be about 3 to 5 feet tall and .5 to 1.5 feet around.

If growing in the ground, simply stop watering your angel’s fishing rod in winter. If growing in containers, move them indoors to a cool, dry location for overwintering.

In the right conditions, angel’s fishing rod can spread fairly fast and become invasive.

Angel’s fishing rod is a perennial plant that grows back and reblooms every year.

You might be able to get an angel’s fishing rod plant to grow in the shade, but it likely will grow extremely slowly and not produce any flowers.

Angel’s fishing rod is not toxic to humans or pets.


Author

I’ve long been fascinated with the world of flowers, plants, and floral design. I come from a family of horticulturists and growers and spent much of my childhood in amongst the fields of flowering blooms and greenhouses filled with tropical plants, cacti, and succulents from all over the world. Today, my passion has led me to further explore the world of horticulture, botany, and floristry and I'm always excited to meet and collaborate with fellow enthusiasts and professionals from across the globe. I hold a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and have trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris.

Comments are closed.

;