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“Little Jess” Dianella grass

Hi all! I planted a heap of “Little Jess” Dianella in a raised garden bed with premium top soil about two months ago. A couple of them seem to be loosing their foliage with some also growing new growth through the dead foliage. This is a dead grass which I pulled out today. 

Could anybody let me know what this is? Almost looks like salt granules? Lots of ants around the soil, not sure if it’s related or not. 

I am in Victoria, Australia where it is summer now if this makes a difference. 

I thought maybe I wasn’t watering them enough as the foliage on some of the grasses where browning off and dying, but a relative thinks the granules might be a mould? 

Thanks everyone!


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,431
    The plants I know as Dianella are not grasses, they are in the same family as Hemerocallis.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,315
    edited December 2019
    The white bits may be crushed perlite (volcanic material) which helps with drainage. Does it feel gritty?
    Maybe the grasses are just settling in, but tbh I have no idea

    Most of the members here are UK based though quite a few international participants too.
    Hope someone can help you diagnose the problem.

    Don't know if it's helpful, but some info on cultivation here-

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • @Pat E is in Australia ... NSW ... maybe she will have some suggestions 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Pat EPat E Posts: 12,291
    Hi Gootza. I’m in the Snowy Mountains region of NSW. 

    The only Dianella I’m familiar with is the native one that grows by the highway between Braidwood and the coast. I’ve never tried cultivating it. I don’t know what to think about your photo. Could they be some sort of insect eggs that the ants are feasting on? 

    Which region are you in? 
    S. E. NSW
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,831
    We've been growing this variety in the UK for about 15 years.  It really is a tough plant, and has survived all manner of neglect.  I'm not familiar with the white spots in the soil, but have seen this in other plants when there has been an ants nest, but I've never know the ants to kill a plant.

    Our Dianella has survived being in a flooded pot during wet UK winters.  The foliage regularly grows brown and dies off, but you can usually see new shoots on the plant.  Ours do better when it is wetter, rather than drier.  Given you are in Australia, perhaps more watering would be the solution.
  • gootzagootza Posts: 20
    Thank you everyone for your helpful comments!

    yes I bought these specifically for the tough nature! Maybe it’s just a case of not watering enough while they’re establishing. Surely they wouldn’t die from being “overwatered” as like you say it’s very hot here. Today alone is 42c! 😓😓😓

    i do have a moisture meter, do you think I should continue to use it to check the moisture level? I did think I was watering enough, and especially when we have very hot days like today I make sure I water them every day, which is why I thought maybe the salt like substance could be a problem! 

    Once again, thanks everyone 🤗
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