Looking for a unique and showy succulent for your Central Texas garden? Tropical-looking Bulbine is sure to become the “star” of your garden. Bulbine frutescens, or Bulbine, is a clumping, succulent, tender perennial with aloe-looking leaves and bright blooms. Bulbine’s tough evergreen leaves grow 18”-24” high and spread just as far. The showy, star-shaped yellow to orange flowers are borne in clusters on the end of a stalk above the plant and have yellow fuzzy stamens in the center.
Not only are the flowers unique and beautiful but they bloom for a long time, from spring to late summer. Like most succulents, Bulbine is a full-sun, low maintenance, low water use plant and is tolerant of most soils except wet.
Bulbine grows in spreading clumps and can be propagated by stem cuttings and rhizome division. Originally from South Africa, it has adapted to the Central Texas and Austin area, zones 9-11. Classified as a cold tender perennial, Bulbine is not a good selection for the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area. While it is reported to survive to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it will show foliage damage at such low temperatures.
Due to its tropical appearance, Bulbine is enjoyed in a variety of ways in the landscape. It can be used as a low layer in a xeriscape landscape or rock garden, or massed as a groundcover, accent or in a container. Apply Bulbine to Mediterranean and rustic landscape styles where you want to attract wildlife such as hummingbirds and butterflies.
Not only is Bulbine similar in appearance to the aloe plant but also contains the same jelly-like substance in its leaves to ease burns, rashes and itches. There are three common varieties of Bulbine, mostly relating to the color of the flower, ‘Yellow’ and ‘Orange’ have corresponding colored flowers. ‘Tiny Tangerine’ has an orange-yellow flower and smaller growth of only a 6”-12” height and 12” – 15” spread.
© HDG Landscape Design, 2016