The plant of the month for February is Bulbine Frutescens.
Bulbine is a genus of over 50 varieties. Most of them come from South Africa where they are traditionally used as medicinal plants.
Bulbine frutescens belongs to the Asphodelaceae family. Despite the fact that the name ‘bulbine’ would seem to be derived from the Latin ‘bulbus’ (‘bulb’) this plant does not in fact grow from a bulb.
In Turkey this plant is known as ‘Yılan çiçeği’ (Snake plant) and, as stated above, it is found in the wild in South Africa, especially in the Cape region where it grows in the north and west, and is particularly abundant in the east, where it can be found growing amongst the succulents in dry valleys.
Bulbine frutescens is a succulent which grows quickly, produces lots of branches and is long-lived.
Its green, thin meaty leaves emerge in pairs on opposite sides of the stem and soon cover the whole stem. It produces ‘baby’ plants from its base and on the grey stems of these new roots can be seen. On top of a stem small star-like flowers appear each comprising six petals.
In general the flowers appear in spring although the plant may flower at other times too.
The petals are yellow and sometimes orange. The colourful petals combine with yellow stamens to give an attractive appearance to the plant when in flower. The plant’s black seeds are contained within small round capsules and are distributed by the wind.
Snake plant is a fast growing long-lived succulent. If you leave it alone it may become straggly, but a quick pruning can return it to the required shape. Plant it in well-drained soil to which compost has been added.
To extend the flowering season remove dead flowers.
The plant prefers full sun but will also grow in part shade. If you want to grow it indoors it needs lots of light. The flowers are attractive to bees. It can be propagated in spring from seed, cuttings or splitting ‘baby’ plants.
In landscaping terms Bulbine frutescens grows well in a temperate climate, in dry conditions, and is good in rock gardens or as ground cover. It is a plant with attractive flowers, which withstands drought, needs little maintenance and lasts for many years.
It is especially pleasing when planted with blue dwarf agapanthus.
Bulbine frutescens is also grown for its medicinal properties which are similar to those of aloe vera. A jel can be found within the leaves which is used on burns, insect stings, chapped lips, dry and cracked skin, pimples and mouth ulcers.
The Palm Centre, Koycegeiz
For a wide range of special plants visit the areas best nursery, The Palm Centre at Köyceğiz.
It is open daily between 1st June – 31st October but you can visit at any other time by appointment.
Access to plant sales is free but a fee is payable to look around the extensive nursery.
Just ring or email (English is spoken):
Tel : +90 252 262 28 92
Fax : +90 252 262 51 61
Website : http://www.palmiyemerkezi.com