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Albuca namaquensis (Spiral Grass)

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Scientific Name

Albuca namaquensis Baker

Common Names

Spiral Grass

Synonyms

Albuca ausensis, Albuca avasimontana, Albuca circinata, Dipcadi ausense, Dipcadi avasimontanum, Ornithogalum namaquense

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Scilloideae
Genus: Albuca

Description

Albuca namaquensis is a small geophyte, up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall, with deciduous, curly leaves and tall bloom stalks with pale yellow flowers. Leaves are rough or hairy or smooth. If hairs are present, they are not glandular. In dry and sunny conditions, its leaves coil like Albuca spiralis, and thus these plants are often mistakenly called A. spiralis. In cultivation, the leaves may remain evergreen if the water is available.

Albuca namaquensis (Spiral Grass)

Photo by Ken Blackford

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °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 all that is necessary 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.

Origin

Albuca namaquensis is native to stony sandstone slopes from Namibia to the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

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