The Q&A Archives: Varigated Dianella care

Question: I purchased my Dianella a couple of years ago and have not seen much growth progress and no flowering. I researched many websites trying to get information and have adjusted the light conditions and moisture conditions. As I live in Kansas, the summers here get very hot and I try to protect it from the sun. On the other hand I keep it inside now that the nights fall below freezing. It winters OK in a West facing bay window.
The problem I have read on many forums is the plants flower, but don't have the egg shaped pods develop. My plant has never flowered. Should I fertilize it with a special balance? It has never been moved from the original, very tall ceramic pot for the last 2 years. Since it has not grown that much, I'm sure it can't be crowded.
I also have a Queen Anne Agapanthus that I am working hard on. It is one from your company that I purchased at an Earl May in the Kansas City area. I lost the one I bought in California and was so happy to get another at a store around here! It too seems to be slow, but I do think they like to be a little crowded in their pots. It is keeping company in the window area.
I have thought about taking them both to work and maybe the fluorescent lighting would help.
Any guidance would be very much appreciated by me, but especially by my plants. Have a great day!

Answer: I think you are probably growing a variegated Dianella tasmanica. It can grow to four feet tall and wide (when planted in the ground) and with its variegation actually prefers even more shade than most kinds of Dianella. I would try growing it in at most some gentle morning sun or dappled light all day -- a shaded yet bright location with indirect sun would be best outside.

This big plant should be a fairly vigorous grower spreading by rhizomes. I would suggest repotting it into a wider container using a well drained soil mix as I think it may be rootbound. (Maybe wait until late winter to do this.) A general purpose slow release fertilizer applied each spring should be adequate (look for 10-10-10 plus minors), this is not a fussy plant. Keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season, like a wrung out sponge.

As far as winter care, you might leave it outdoors as long as possible in the fall, protecting it on cold nights and setting it outside during the day. This will help it to adjust to the season change and slow down for the winter yet extend its outdoor growing season a bit. Then when temperatures begin to fall below 50, allow it to rest in a cool sunny room at about 45 degrees. Water lightly so it does not dry out and do not fertilize while it is resting. Then gradually reacclimate it to being outside in the spring so it reawakens naturally with the season.

The agapanthus should respond well to the same type of winter care, but give it full sun and a more generous fertilization program during the summer, also make sure it receives ample water when it is growing vigorously.

I hope this helps!

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