Houseplants

An update on my Albuca Spiralis

This is a small update on the Albuca Spiralis that I stated growing for the wife.

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If you read my last post on this amazing plant. This was all started about a year ago but since then its really taken off. A couple of months ago it started growing a flower spike and it has since then really lept ahead! The flower spike now stands at 29″ and is on its 7th set of pedicels. From the pics I have seen on the web this seems to be outside the norm, most are far shorter.
Although this may display a problem with the plant (being leggy in other plants generally shows a lack of something) I’m not seeing any other issues with the plant.

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One other thing is that it’s a winter season grower, which seems strange to me! The plant is native to South Africa where the summers are very hot and very dry and the winters are quite mild and wetter, mild to them is an average summer to us in the UK!
It may well be that the plant has become confused as it did not get a summer rest although it has otherwise followed it’s normal growing pattern.

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As I am looking at the plant right now I can see lots of new leaves growing from the centre. A couple of last years leaves are fading and will need to be snipped soon.

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Now that the plant is safely established and is really pushing for a new winter seasons growth I will need to look to getting it potted up in something nicer and maybe get some pebbles for the top.
The pot is fine and does it’s job, it’s just not very pretty and a plant like this really needs to be in a much nicer pot to show it off properly!

The next thing I want to do is to try any get the plant to produce seeds. All the flowers so far have failed. I know why, they simply didn’t have anything to pollinate them! I think I am going to need to learn how to brush pollinate or to see if I can find a moth/butterfly or smaller bee to see if it will do it for me.
I’m not going to hold my breath over this last one. I really think its going to have to be done by hand. But having said that this page says that the flower spike is usually early spring AND perhaps another one later on. This is obviously the one I got. It may be that the earlier flowers could be pollinated by our native insects.
My next issue is that the plant is NOT AT ALL hardy to UK frosts and colder weather in general so I am going to have to be careful bringing it out so the bees have access to it.

If you read this page it says that I may be able to pollinate myself… I’ll have to see if I can find any further info on brush pollinating.

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14 thoughts on “An update on my Albuca Spiralis

  1. I’ve successfully used a brush to pollinate other things (pumpkin, cucumber). Best to get advice from someone who knows about Albuca Spiralis, though.

    Anyway, it’s great that it will provide pollen for bees when there are few other flowers around.

    1. Not sure our bigger bees will touch this. It’s going to be smaller solitaries if anything and even then… I think it’s going to be flies or beetles that are the right size.

  2. I have seeds of Albuca namaquensis. Do you know when I can put the seeds in the soil and what are the germination conditions, cq temperature, germination time?

    1. I’m not an expert and I can only tell you what *I* did.

      Bear in mind that I actually got 4 seeds and only 1 germinated. Albuca are apparently not that good at germinating. If you only got 1 seed then be prepared to lose it. B-(

      Ok… This is what I did.
      I filled a pot with a bit of pre-moistened gritty cacti compost mixed with some normal John Innes No3, and put the seed on the top and gently pressed down and covered it. I didn’t pre-soak it or anything.
      My seeds were sown around mid September and they germinated around the 10th October (Just before the wife’s birthday!)

      Keep the soil moist but not wet. I should also note that I covered my pots with cut up coke bottles to make greenhouses. Like this.

      More information from here…
      http://b-and-t-world-seeds.com/cartall.asp?species=Albuca%20namaquensis&sref=75882
      (Scroll down)

      Good luck!

  3. I have got Albuca namaquensis. Since it is the first time for me to see the seeds, I am very interested in seeing some photos of Albuca seeds and how do they look like while germinating!
    Thank you in advance for any advice and photo!!

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