Showing posts with label Albuca Frizzle Sizzle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Albuca Frizzle Sizzle. Show all posts

African Albuca Bulb Belongs in the World of Weird Yet Wonderful

Albuca spiralis in early March, 2017.
If every picture tells a story, then every plant has a lot to say. I love to learn about a plant's background; it makes them more interesting. Knowing a plant's past allows you to visualize it in place and time, before they wound up on a shelf in a shop, displayed at a trade show, or on a bench in a nursery.

I tend to take better care of those I've chosen in person. Like the Albuca spiralis 'Frizzle Sizzle', which I found in Phoenix when I was visiting my sister and attending a Chicago Cubs spring training game.

Here it is in the same pot September, 2017 after a summer spent
on the patio, its little green bulb began to sprout. 
It reminded me of a Charlie Brown tree, with its pair of wispy leaves emerging from a bulb that might have been the Martian version of Charlie Brown’s head. It was planted in a 4-inch pot and it cost
almost $20. Spending that much for a bulb in a pot with two leaves is, even for me, not a habit. But when I learned from its tag that it comes from Africa, I decided to give it a try. If I had to name my latest passion it would be growing plants that originated in Africa.

From the limited information I've found online, most sources say the flowers are fragrant. I didn't detect a scent so I put it in my bedroom with the door closed. I woke up thinking someone put a used frying pan on my bed. Not quite the scent of old grease, it smelled like a pan that had browned French toast or pancakes the previous day and hadn't been washed.

Flowers of Albuca spiralis don't have a pleasant fragrance--unless you like
your flowers to smell like a used saute pan. 
So although it can be described as having fragrant flowers, Albuca spiralis isn't something you'd want to bury your nose in. Unless you're hungry for French toast. Luckily, the scent isn't strong in a large room, so I'm not ready to cut the flowers off. I see them as a badge of honor, indicating that I'm giving the plant what it wants in order to perform as it would in its home environment.

So where can you purchase your very own Albuca spiralis? Logee's Plants for Home and Garden offers it for sale, as does Hirt's Garden. It seems plant purveyors are having trouble keeping this little wierdo in stock.

Blooming Potential in Succulents

Echeveria 'Topsy Turvy' flower.
While many of my inside plants got to play outside for the summer, a few hung out on the light table. Two are blooming now!

Echeveria runyonii ‘Topsy Turvy’, which I bought last November, sent up a shoot in early September and has been putting on a show for weeks, each flower, from the bottom up, opening slower than a striptease.

It's a busy time of year for plants. Some have already been brought indoors, as others hover in plant purgatory, waiting to make as sure as I can that they don't have bugs. 

I've dosed anything that is remotely a candidate for wintering indoors with a systemic insecticide. There, I've admitted it. The sprinkle-on-the-top-of-the-soil-and-water-in product is just part of the arsenal of prevention I engage in throughout the winter. 

Meet Sandy, wintertime host of Albuca spiralis.
Yes, I'll admit that, in my heart, indoor plants are a tad more valuable that the ones I've left outside to fend for themselves--even the hardy ones. Those are like the Cubs to a life-long fan--not expecting much but a happy surprise if they're successful. 

Back to the indoor candidates and graduates. One I brought back with me from Arizona, called Albuca spiralis 'Frizzle Sizzle', pretended to bite the dust in late spring, but valiantly began to sprout little stems from the top of what looks like a bald bulb, somewhat like Ryne Sandberg, only with a bright green scalp. 

I'm enthusiastic about 'Frizzle Sizzle', not just because of its cool name, but because it turns out it did what it was supposed to in summer. It went dormant. That is, its leaves fell off and it just sat there and did nothing. It's winter-growing, you see, and according to Fred Dortort in The Timber Press Guide to Succulent Plants of the World, it produces dramatically spiraled rosette of narrow leaves around the time is spring flowers begin to fade. 

Albuca spiralis sprouts from its little green "head."
It didn't flower last spring, probably because I ripped the poor thing from the Arizona climate in the middle of winter. It spent the past seven months recuperating from the shock. Albuca spiralis, which shares a family with asparagus, is from South Africa, a place I've become particularly interested in for its really cool plants.

Faucaria tigrina shares a pot with other succulents.
Another South African plant is Faucaria tigrina, also known as tiger's jaws, or shark's jaws. It lived indoors during the summer, and was therefore kept bug-free, green and compact with the lights close above the pot. It's a pretty fast grower, and soon will outgrow its container.

Many plants won't bloom until they're pot bound, and it could be true with tiger's jaws. It shares a small terracotta container with several small succulents, but that didn't stop it from sprouting bright yellow flowers that demand attention. They close up at night or when I turn the lights out. 

Faucaria tigrina in bloom.

Even though November is breathing down our necks, I'm getting little signs of spring, thanks to plants from another part of the world.