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Plant Profile: Bulbine alooides

This spreading succulent perennial is a member of the Asphodelaceae that also includes aloe, torch lily (Kniphofia), and foxtail lily (Eremus).  It is native to the rocky flats of the the western Cape and Namaqualand in South Africa but is adaptable to most soils and situations.  Growing 18-24″ tall plants produce a basal rosette of 6-12 lanceolate leaves and one or more slenders scapes each carrying a dense narrow raceme of 1/4″ starry yellow flowers  that open from the bottom up.  Each flower has six tepals and densely bearded stamen filaments. The flowers appear quickly from seed in late winter to early spring and then plants die back.   Although tolerant of heat and drought B. alooides is not tolerant of humid conditions.  The generic name, Bulbine, comes from the Greek word bolbos, meaning bulb and mistakenly refers to the reproductive structure of the plant which is actually a tuber.  The specific epithet, alloides, means aloe-like and refers to resemblance of the leaves to those of aloes.  

Type: Succulent perennial

Bloom: Dense narrow raceme of 1/4″ starry yellow flowers with six tepals and densely bearded stamen filaments in late winter to early spring

Size: 18-24″ x 12-24″ W

Light:Full sun; tolerates some shade

Soil:Average, dry, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 8-10

Care: Remove spent flower stalks

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed, division just before the rainy season, cuttings in spring

Companion Plants: Firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii), agaves, damianita daisy (Chrysactinia mexicana), ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)

 

Photo Credit: Christian Hummert ,Wikimedia commons