How to Care for a Fortnight Lily

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The fortnight lily, also called African iris, grows in both blue/purple and yellow/white varieties, with bright lily-like flowers. These evergreen perennials thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture Growing Zones 8 to 10 and feature spring and summer blooms with long strap-shaped leaves. Plant your own fortnight lily bulbs in the right soil and season, and then maintain the plants for years of blooming pleasure.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic compost
  • Garden fork
  • Fertilizer

Plant fortnight lily rhizomes in spring when the ground thaws. Plant them outdoors in Zones 8 to 10 for year-round growing, or in Zones 7 and lower as annuals.

Choose sites with quick drainage and full to dappled sun for fortnight lilies. Don't plant them in full shade or in sites that puddle during the winter. The flowers rot in standing water, and blooms fail in full shade.

Amend the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches in the planting bed. Turn 2 to 3 inches of organic compost into the bed for a moist, loose foundation. Fortnight lilies tolerate poor soil once established but start best in crumbly, moist foundations.

Plant the fortnight lily rhizomes 2 to 4 inches deep at 2 to 3 feet in the bed. Cover them loosely with soil and water them with 4 inches of water.

Water sprouting fortnight lilies with 2 to 3 inches of water every week to keep them moist. Feed the plants with general 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 granular fertilizer, per manufacturer directions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't cut fortnight lily flower stalks back because they bear new blooms during the season.
  • Save your flower bulbs in Zones 7 and down. Dig the bulbs up in fall, after the foliage dies down, and store them in the garage until spring.

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