Dianellas are spreading evergreen members of the lily family, native to the southern hemisphere that produce narrow glossy strap like leaves and masses of blue flowers in spring. Over the last number of years Dianellas (also known as flax lilies) have gained a huge reputation in the gardening world for their ability to survive in less than ideal growing conditions. These hardy little plants have proved that they are able to withstand prolonged periods of cold, damp and drought, all of which should make them ideal for life in Europe’s changing climate where summers are getting warmer and dryer and where winters are getting damper.
   Dianella Caerulea is probably the most widely grown variety of this plant. It grows to a height of between one and three feet and has medium to dark blue flowers which are followed in early summer by large, dark blue berries.
   While Dianellas have been available in Ireland since the early 70’s, in the last few years a number of new improved varieties have become available. These varieties are generally hardier, more decorative and require less maintenance than their native cousins. Below is just a short list of some of the more popular new varieties available.

Dianella Caerulea ‘Cassa Blue’
The ‘Cassa blue’ variety of Dianella is one of the toughest plants on the market, being able to survive prolonged periods of drought, wet and cold. These evergreen, blue foliage plants are quite slow growing and will eventually reach about 18 inches in height and spread about the same. This variety produces masses of baby blue flowers in spring and early summer. Casa blue is a very versatile plant that looks great when planted in large groups but it can also be used to add excitement to any shrub border.

Dianella Caerulea ‘Little Rev’
‘Little Rev’ is an exciting new dwarf variety of Dianella that also has distinctive blue foliage. These are very hardy plants that will require little or no maintenance once they are established. ‘Little Rev’ is a compact plant with upright foliage and will eventually reach a height of about 12 inches in height which makes it ideal for planting in ornamental shrub beds and along paths and driveways as an edging plant.

Dianella Tasmanica ‘Tasred’
This hardy and versatile variety of Dianella is suited to a wide range of conditions. Tasred grows to a height of about 18 inches and produces an impressive spring display of blue and yellow flowers on deep red flower stems. In the early summer these flowers give way to fairly large purple berries.

All of these varieties of Dianella are currently available at Ballaghderg Garden Centre at the Mountain Top or by calling 074 9124274.
© Copyright, Highland Landscapes, Letterkenny, 2008.