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

Water Wise Plants

Bulbine frutescens

BUL-bin-ee froo-TESS-enz
Common Name
Bulbine frutescens
Plant Type
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
  • Bees
Flower Color
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

This South African native is a great plant to mix into a low water flower border. It is evergreen, has spikes of star-shaped yellow or orange flowers and cool fleshy pencil-shaped leaves.

The yellow-flowered Bulbine frutescens blooms mostly in the winter when very few plants are in flower. The cultivars ‘Hallmark’ and ‘Tiny Tangerine’ are more compact, have orange flowers, and bloom in the summer. Though the plant 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. Cuttings will grow without much special treatment: stick them in the ground and wait for a new plant. The best time to start a new plant is during the rainy season.

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