Bowiea volubilis Harv. ex Hook. f.
Climbing Onion, Sea Onion, Climbing Potato, Zulu Potato
Ophiobostryx volubilis, Schizobasopsis volubilis
Bowiea volubilis is a deciduous climber with a pale green onion-like bulb that grows up to 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter, half-buried in the soil. Each year in late winter, the bulb develops a new green, scrambling or twining flowering stem. The stem is covered with many leafless side branches that may fall off.
The flowers are small, star-shaped, greenish or white, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) across, and appear in spring.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Overwatering is a major concern with this plant. Best growth is achieved with moderate and consistent moisture, but never let the plant sit in water and allow the soil to dry out between watering. Stop watering completely when the stalks dry out after blooming in late summer. At this point, you can cut off the spent stems when they begin to dry out and brown. Resume watering when the bulb re-sprouts, generally in the fall. In summer, you can move the plant to a sheltered area outside as long as it is kept above 50 ° F (10 °C). Supplemental feeding is not a necessary part of Climbing Onion care.
Provide the airy green stems with a support structure, or simply allow them to tangle around themselves. Divide the offsets when they are half the parent plant's size and pot them in the same soil mixture.
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