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How to Grow Bulbinella Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Cat's Tail

Members of the Bulbinella genus are half or full hardy perennials that reach an height of 30 to 60 cm, have grass like leaves, and flower in the late winter to early spring.

They carry very small yellow star shaped on long stalks. Latin names include Bulbinella frutescens and Bulbinella hookeri.

Bulbinella
Bulbinella by Twiddleblat.

Bulbinella floribunda
Bulbinella floribunda by The Ruth Bancroft Garden.

Quick Bulbinella Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Bulbinella, Cat’s Tail, Maori Onion, Ross Lily.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial. Half hardy perennial.
Height: 12 to 40 inches (30 to 100 cm).
Native: Southern Africa, New Zealand.
Growing Region: Zones 7 to 10.
Flowers: Winter through to early spring.
Flower Details: Yellow, yellow-orange. Small. Star-shaped. Clustered on a cylindrical raceme.
Foliage: Strap-like. Fleshy. Green.
Sow Outside: Seed: cover Roots: Bury below soil level. seed. Autumn. Spacing 14 to 20 inches (35 to 50 cm).
Sow Inside: Spring. Germination time: two weeks to three months. Temperature 55°F (13°C). Grow seedlings indoors for two years. Transplant outdoors, after growing indoors for two years, following the last frost when temperatures do not drop below 50°F (10°C).
Requirements: Full sunlight or partial shade. Acidic soil, rich soil, moist soil, cool soil. Occasional watering during the growing season. Regular watering during other periods. Prune dead leaves and flowers once the plant has finished flowering. Propagate: by dividing in the spring.

How to Grow Bulbinella

If planning to grow Bulbinella outdoors from the off it is best to sow out the seed in the autumn, simply cover the seeds; if you are growing from roots then these should be placed just below the soil surface.

When growing Bulbinella seedlings indoor first, it is best to start them out in spring. They take around 2 weeks to three months to germinate at a temperature of 13 degrees Celsius. The seedlings should be grown indoors for two years before transplanting into a sunny or partially shaded area of the garden in the spring. They should be spaced approximately 40 cm apart and like to have a acidic soil that is rich and moist.

Caring for Bulbinella in the Garden

Bulbinella do not require much looking after once established, needing just an occasional water in prolonged dry spells of summer. Dead tissue should be removed after flowering has finished.


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