UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Bulbine frutescens

Pronunciation
BUL-bin-ee froo-TESS-enz
Common Name
Bulbine frutescens
Plant Type
Succulent
Mature Size
1 ft. high and 2 ft. to 3 ft. wide
Water Requirements
Low: water every three weeks until the root ball is wet
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full to half sun
Flower Color
Yellow
Wildlife
  • Bees
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

This South African native is a great plant to mix into your low water flower border. It is evergreen, has spikes of star-shaped yellow flowers and cool fleshy pencil-shaped leaves. We want these plants for our home gardens!

The yellow-flowered Bulbine frutescens blooms mostly in the winter when very few plants are in flower. The cultivar, 'Hallmark', which we have also successfully grown in the Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, is more compact, has orange flowers and blooms in the summer.

Though it looks best when watered several times a summer, Bulbine can survive on less water.

When Bulbine starts to flop open in the center, it is time to dig up and start fresh by planting a piece of the original plant. Digging up Bulbine is not the easiest easiest garden job, but the cuttings will grow without much special treatment. Just stick them in the ground and wait for a new plant. The best time to start a new plant is in the rainy season.

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