Albuca bracteata (Thunb.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt
Pregnant Onion, False Sea Onion, Sea Onion
Eliokarmos caudatum, Fenelonia bracteata, Loncomelos caudatum, Ornithogalum bracteatum (basionym), Ornithogalum caudatum, Ornithogalum longebracteatum, Ornithogalum massonii, Ornithogalum scilloides, Stellarioides longebracteata, Stellarioides longibracteata, Urginea mouretii, Urophyllon caudatum, Urophyllon caudatum
Albuca bracteata is a flowering plant often found among the collection of succulent enthusiasts because of the green opalescent exposed bulb with curious little bulblets that form on the bulb layers, causing "pregnant" looking bumps until the layer sloughs off to reveal the bulblets. The leaves are green and semi-succulent. They are strap-like, up to 2 feet (60 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Inflorescences are up to 3 feet (90 cm) tall spikes capped by small white fragrant flowers with green central stripes, often produced in different seasons.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Albucas require sandy, loose soil in full to partial sun to produce their characteristic blooms. The plants can grow 3 to 4 feet (90 to 120 cm) tall with a slightly smaller width. Good cultivation encourages the removal of the bulb from the outdoors in zones with frost. They are not frost-hardy, and cold temperatures can damage the bulb.
These South African natives look particularly attractive in rock gardens, slopes, and even containers. The biggest requirement for Albuca care is superior drainage. The regions to which they are native are not known for consistent moisture, which means it is drought tolerant once established. Consistent watering at planting is necessary to mimic the rainy season, but after that, light watering is essential when caring for Albuca.
Fertilize Albucas annually at installation and in the early spring with good all-purpose bulb food. Cut back spent foliage after it yellows and begins to wilt.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Albuca.
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