April 11, 2006

Albuca spiralis

As if the foliage isn't attractive enough, the blossoms on Albuca species are just as interesting,

The tender bulbs that produce this plant are all easy to grow and highly collectible. They can be grown on either a sunny winter windowsill, or in a cool greenhouse. Albuca come from South Africa and are another bulb plant that is currently being reclassified by many taxonomists, once placed in Hycinthaceae, it is now agreed generally to be closer to Ornithogallum. Not that we all really care, as long as everyone agrees.

Albuca bulb in bloom

The plant grows in the typical pattern of many South African bulbs, dormant half the year when it demands dry conditions, and damp, if not wet conditions for the other half of the year. To add complexity for those wishing to master this treasure, the soil mix must be well drained. This is a bulb which cannot freeze, so one must grow it either as a house plant in a cool sunny window, or in a greenhouse. Look for Albuca on Internet cactus and succulent shops, even eBay will do. A few specialty catalog sites will also carry mature bulbs, as well as some rare seed sources specializing in succulent and cactus seed, or South African bulb seed. 


  1. Where can I get an albuca spiralis?? I keep seeing all kinds of references to it, and how easy and fascinating it is, but can't find anyplace to buy it.

    Mary Lou Robbins

    1. Anonymous2:37 PM

      I purchased my Albuca Spiralis at the Philadephia Flower show. I was facinated by the curly leaves. You can find the vendor at Bigbadflower.com.

    2. They are available for purchase on Amazon.

  2. Anonymous5:41 PM

    The more sun it gets, the tighter the spirials

  3. srgodwin1962@yahoo.com9:37 PM

    My albuca spiralis lost it's leaves. I had it in my bathroom window. It is June in Phoenix Arizona and I realize this is the dormant time. Is my plant getting too much moisture from the bathroom? I moved my plant to an eastern sunny window and hope it will do better. Do you think I have killed it?

    1. They, in most every case, lose their leaves when dormant. Soil moisture is what's important. Minimal waterings in the dormant period. Water as you would a succulent in the growing season. Where you live the plant would probably enjoy being outside.


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