Bulbinella Nutans Cats Tail

March 16, 2016 in Flowers and Bulbs by Christine

Growing Bulbinella Nutans

Growing Bulbinella NutansBulbinella Nutans is perennial plant hailing from Cape Province in South Africa. The common name of this plant is cat’s tail. These flowering plants belong to the family Asphodelaceae. This plant has dense, attractive yellow flowers with un-branched racemes. The species is mainly restricted to the winter rainfall areas in South Africa. However, it can be grown in different types of habitats with different soil varieties. The flowers are colourful and will remain in vase for many days knowing this plant is very suitable to use as cut flowers. These plants are sensitive to frosts and it is better to grow these perennials in pots. Plants are usually grown from the seeds and during the dormant period larger clumps can be divided and can be used for propagation.

Description of the plant

This is a deciduous, tufted perennial forming solitary plants or clumps. The leaves appear at the beginning of the growing season and get withered during the dormant period. The roots are fleshy rhizome covered by membranous scale leaves called cataphylls. The fleshy leaves are usually several in numbers and are arranged spirally. The flowers of bulbinella nutans are star shaped and the petals remain united at the base. The flowers are usually unscented however pollination occurs by bees. The blossoms appear beneath the green buds on the cone-shaped raceme. The fruit containing one or two seeds appears like a round or ovoid capsule. Flowering occurs mainly during spring, summer and in late winter.

Flowering

Though not commonly grown in gardens, it is actually a good addition for delightful garden with bright lemon/yellow flowers. It is easy to grow this plant where there is exposure to the sun and with light to moderate availability of water. During winter and spring long grassy green leaves with a club like racemes with yellow flowers appears. The buds are green in colour. We have this plant growing in our gardens in amongst the daylilies, the flowering occurs from late winter and the plant goes dormant during the summer here in Australia. The racemes can grow to a height of 3 feet. Though the plant grows well in damp soil, it can withstand dry and drought conditions. Your garden can look dramatic while flowering when planted as a group. It can be used as a low maintenance border for your garden.

Things to remember

While planting Bulbinella you should remember certain things about the plant.

  • This is a garden species which need full summer for better flowering.
  • The growth mainly occurs in winter and starts to flower in spring.
  • The flowers are delicate and appear on multiple stems.
  • The leaves are reed like and grow to a height of 0.3 to 1m.
  • The plants will multiply over the years and it is necessary to divide the clumps towards the end of the dormant period.
  • Avoid damaging the roots of the plant when dividing the clumps or while digging around Bulbinella plant.
  • Water the plants lightly, even when they are in a dormant stage in frost season.
  • The storage roots of this plant are very sensitive to desiccation and damage and should not be lifted from soil for replanting or repotting unless in the dormant stage.
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