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in Tucson, Phoenix,
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Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Growing Bulbine frutescens: Bulbine

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Description
Form: A narrow-leaved, clumping succulent.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: Fleshy leaves up to 1' high with flower stalks 1-2' high, 2-4' wide.
Flowers: Six pointed petals, yellow or orange depending on the cultivar, with long, fluffy stamens. The flowers are clustered along the upper part of their stalks.
Bloom: Spring through summer, with a dormant period mid-summer in hot regions, re-blooming from fall into winter.
Fruit: A small capsule with black seeds.
Leaves: Fleshy, narrow, gray-green leaves grow upward from basal clumps.
Stems: This plant has a short stem and no thorns.
Roots: In spite of its name, this plant does not have a bulbous base. It spreads by rhizomes (underground stems with nodes producing roots and shoots), creating colonies.
Wildlife: The flowers attract bees and butterflies. The seed capsules attract birds.
Toxic / Danger: None.
Origin: South Africa.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9 - 11. This plant is hardy to 20°F.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to minimal shade. Shade inhibits flowering.
Planting: Locate this plant in full sun in well-draining soil. It is adapted to a shallow, rocky, poor soil habitat.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline). This plant is tolerant of enriched soil.
Water after becoming established: Deep water every 2 - 4 weeks, depending on temperature, with additional water producing more blooms. Root rot may develop in continually moist soil.
Mulch: Do not mulch so that the soil will dry quickly.
Prune: Removing old flower stalks improves its appearance and may encourage re-blooming.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Propagate by stem cuttings, or by dividing basal clumps every few years so that each has rhizomes with nodes. Many cultivars will self-seed, although a few are sterile.
Uses: This plant is primarily grown as an ornamental groundcover and for erosion control on slopes. The leaf gel can be used in a manner similar to that of Aloe vera.

Comments
This plant is a member of the Aloe family (Asphodelaceae).



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Latest update: January, 2022.

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Bulbine frutescens: Bulbine