Bulbine Frutescens

Bulbine comes from the Latin word bulbus meaning an onion or bulb. This name is misleading, as plants do not have a bulbous base.

The fresh leaf produces a jelly-like juice that is wonderful for burns, rashes, blisters, insect bites, cracked lips, acne, cold sores, mouth ulcers and areas of cracked skin. This plant is ideal to grow and is a useful first-aid remedy for childrens' daily knocks and scrapes. The Rastafarians make an infusion of a few fresh leaves in a cup of boiling water. The strained drink is taken for coughs, colds and arthritis.

This bulbine is mostly dormant in summer, blooming in the spring, and then again in the fall although somewhat less. It can be propagated easily by stem cuttings. The cuttings can be planted immediately and kept in a shady area. They don't need any special attention or treatment, and build strong root in a couple of months.

Basic Information on the Bulbine Frutescens

Bulbine Frutescens:

  • Form: clump-forming succulent
  • Seasonality: evergreen
  • Fruit: not significant
  • Stems/Trunks: n/a
  • Size: 1.5ft, spread to 2ft
  • Range/Origin: South Africa
  • Light: Full sun, light shade
  • Soil:  Adaptable, good drainage
  • Leaves: tall fleshy green cylinder, long and thin, similar to onion leaf blade
  • Flowers: tall spike of small yellow flowers; stalk to 2-3ft above foliage, 10-12 stalks per individual plant; bloom continually from mid-spring through fall
  • Hardiness: survives to 20°F or below but foliage is damaged
  • Temp: Survives to 20°F or below but foliage is damaged
  • Water:  Requires supplemental, water every week or once every two weeks
  •  Common: Yellow bulbine, Snake flower, Cat's tail, Burn jelly plant