Plant rewind – have a fun time with bulbine

A flower stalk of yellow flowers
New Flowers Keep Coming on Bulbine Flower Stalks

Yellow and orange flowering plants bring a bright and cheery appearance to any garden.   Bulbine is one such plant that makes a very useful groundcover with yellow and orange flowers, an interesting succulent foliage texture, and a care-free nature.   Discover an “old” favorite – bulbine!

Bulbine has been around as a cultivated plant for some time. Promoted as one of the “2006 Florida Plants of the Year” by the Florida Nursery, Growers, and Landscape Association (FNGLA), bulbine is still considered a low maintenance rockstar today.  Actually, called Yellow African bulbine or Bulbine frutescens, this Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ plant has fleshy green pointed leaves with yellow and orange star-shaped flowers.  Reminding one of a slender-leaved aloe, bulbine does great in poor, dry soil, and as such, should be kept in a well-drained site in full sun simulating conditions found in its native South African desert grasslands.  This plant is hardy from zones 9B to 11 and has performed well locally.  Forming tight, spreading clumps, bulbine can make a nice groundcover in the landscape.  Additionally, consider using bulbine in succulent-type gardens as accents, in containers, and in rock gardens.  The attractive flowers are produced regularly from spring through summer on two-foot-tall stalks. Regular removal of old flower heads will help promote additional blooms.

Besides dividing clumps every so often to make new plants, bulbine can also be propagated by seed.  As a matter of fact, you may often find baby volunteer plants developing around the mother plant which can be transplanted to other locations.  One particular cultivar called ‘Hallmark’ is self-sterile and will not produce any viable seeds – this may be an advantage if you don’t want too many extra plants.  ’Hallmark’ is a cultivar which is smaller than the species type and only grows to about ten inches tall and two-feet wide.  Still another dwarf form is called ‘Tiny Tangerine™’.  In addition to the common yellow and light orange flowering bulbine, there is an all-yellow cultivar called – not surprisingly – ‘Yellow’.

Bulbine is readily available at nearly any garden center in our area.  Rediscover this tried-and-true perennial in your own landscape – you will be happy you did!  For additional information on all types of flowering perennials suitable for our area, or to ask a question, you can also call the Master Gardener Volunteer Helpdesk on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer.  Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for UF/IFAS Extension – Charlotte County. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or,   Connect with us on social media. Like us on Facebook @CharlotteCountyExtension and follow us on Instagram @ifascharco.

Warner, K. (2017) Fact sheet:  Bulbine. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS – Nassau County.
Florida Nursery, Growers, and Landscape Association (2006) 2006 Florida Plants of the Year Announced.  FNGLA.
UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions (2019) Bulbine .  The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design (2022) The University of Florida Extension Services, IFAS.
Sortomme, J. (2023) Bulbine frutescens ‘Yellow’.  PlantMaster –
Mountain States Nursery (2023) Bulbine frutescens ‘Tiny Tangerine™’ | Tiny Tangerine Bulbine™.  PlantMaster –


ralph mitchell
Posted: August 25, 2023

Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes
Tags: Bulbine, Drought-tolerant, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, Groundcover

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