bowiea awakens when all else sleeps

SOME PLANT ARE JUST CONTRARIANS. Bowiea volubilis, the so-called climbing onion, is one such creature, waking up when everybody’s asleep, even if you haven’t paid any attention in ages. I haven’t watered him for two-plus months, and don’t from the time his “foliage” (if you could call it that) goes yellow in late summer to the time the first snake-y sprig sprouts again around now, as shown. If you weren’t here last winter you won’t recall dear Bowiea, so time for another look at this curiosity of a houseplant. Those dark green stakes, by the way: a makeshift tripod or teepee from recycled metal orchid supports, which I tie together with wire up top. Get to know my Bowiea.

  1. Brian G. says:

    Wow, you really do have exotic tastes. Do you get questions like ‘Margaret, why do you have three Spanish onions in a pot in your living room?’
    I like it though. The foliage is very fresh looking, very Spring like. I like the horizontal board treatment on your walls as well in the prior picture. Kind of a cross between a ships cabin and a cottage.

  2. Kathejo says:

    Oh my god! I have had a bunch of these plants (they never stop propagating themselves) ever since I bought one at a Stuyvesant Town yearly flee market in New York, oh, maybe, 15 years ago. But I’ve never seen another and never knew what it was called. I packed a couple deep in the things shipped here, to France, when we moved and recently sent one back to a friend in The States. Thank you for solving the mystery. What a kick!

  3. I think it might almost be possible (for someone with sedentary tendencies anyway) to watch Bowiea grow – they seem to pop up and out so fast. In the greenhouse we have one that has thumbed its nose at its willow twig tripod and is wrapping around an agave instead.

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