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Climbing Sea Onion (Bowiea)
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Climbing Sea Onion (Bowiea)

Part of the fun of gardening, of having your own space to fill with whatever delights you, is that you can choose to grow a few oddities, plants that are curiosities. Here's one to consider. Climbing Sea Onions, don't really climb (although they do vine a bit), aren't from the sea and don't even belong in the allium or onion family; so much for common names. Grown for its bright green, frothy foliage, this bulb will develop into a clump of bulbs over time as the mother bulb splits and develops offsets along the side. South African nativs, climbing sea onion plants prefer shade and need to be brought indoors during the winter in all but the warmest regions. Long lived and happy in a pot on a windowsill; plant in well draining soil and allow the top half of the bulb to remain exposed.

3 large bulbs
  • Planting Guide

    2-3" deep


    Water lightly until top growth appears and regularly thereafter


    Full sun to partial shade, more shade in hot areas


    6-8" apart

  • Additional Details
    Common Name:

    Climbing onion, sea onion, Zulu potato

    Botanical Name:

    Bowiea volubilis syn. Schizobasopsis volubilis


    Moderate shade


    Zones 10-11




    Bright green curly foliage, tiny flowers are pale yellow to white

    Bloom Season:

    Summer, plant is not grown for flowers which are nondescript

    Bulb/Plant Size:

    top size; industry's largest


    3 large bulbs