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Tropical / Climbing Onion (Bowiea volubilis)

Climbing Onion (Bowiea volubilis)
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The climbing onion has a peculiar climbing growth from a large green-brown bulb. Sugar reservoirs and water are stored in this bulb to survive drought periods.

Expected processing time

2 days

€ 3,50
Price per 5 seeds


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Family: Asparagaceae 
Scientific name: Bowiea volubilis
Common name: Climbing onion
Origin: Southeast Africa

The climbing onion has a peculiar climbing growth from a large green-brown bulb. The plant barely has any leaves, so the green stems and inflorescence photosynthesize instead. The inflorescence also climbs and produces small green-white flowers. Sugar reservoirs and water are stored in the bulb to survive drought periods. Oftentimes that period is in the winter, during which the plant's vegetation dies aboveground and grows back again in spring. The bulb can grow up to 20 centimetres, although it can take 50-70 years to reach this size. In its native range this species is threatened with extinction because of overharvesting and loss of habitat. The stems and bulb are poisonous, but are used in Africa to treat skin, eye and bladder problems. The native range is in Southeast Africa and the plant can reach a size of 3 to 4 metres there. In culture, the plant stays a lot smaller and it is important to provide a well draining soil(with sand and gravel) and to avoid direct sunlight. The plant grows well with a climbing rack or ropes to climb on in front of a window for example. It is the only species in its genus Bowiea and was named after the 19th century Kew Gardens plant explorer James Bowie.

Sowing description:
Sow the seeds in a mix of sowing mix and sand (1:1) and only cover lightly. Cover with plastic or glass and germinate in a light spot at 20-25 degrees Celsius. Keep the soil moist.
Sowing time: Whole year
Difficulty: Easy
Minimum temperature: 5 degrees Celsius

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Mathieu V. - 06-10-2021 16:50

Vier van de vijf zaadjes zijn in minder dan 2 weken ontkiemd na planten zoals beschreven: Goed doorlatende grondmix, licht bedekt en goed vochtig gehouden (in mijn geval in een plastic propagator i.p.v. folie)

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