The spiral grass plant is a bit of an oddity or almost alien in its appearance because of its snake-like coiling look. As its name says, it’s green, has a long spiral shape, and grass-like. However, don’t let that fool you because what you are looking at is a succulent plant. It is very resilient and a nice addition to your home garden.
These facts and other things about this peculiar plant shall be discussed further as we go along. Here are the 5 things you need to know about the spiral grass if you wish to add it to your collection:
1. It’s Not Grass
As mentioned above, the spiral grass is not grass, technically speaking. It’s only called that way because of its grass-like color, shape, and texture. The succulent starts from bulbs, and when they bloom, they produce the coiled leaves that usually grow up to one foot. The leaves are either rough, hairy, or smooth to the touch.
The scientific name of spiral grass is Albuca namaquensis. It belongs in the family of Asparagaceae, which consists of flowering plants with 114 genera and 2,900 known species, including the edible tender succulent, asparagus. Meanwhile, its subfamily is Scilloideae, which include hyacinths. This plant in the Albuca genus can easily be mistaken for the Albuca spiralis, commonly known as Corkscrew Albuca, because of its strong resemblance to it.
2. It Grows Flowers
Given the ideal conditions, the spiral grass will produce flowers. Over time, a thick stem grows with a huge bulb on top. Then it blossoms into a yellow-green flower that dangles at the tip of the succulent. Owners describe the refreshing smell of its flowers as something between butter and vanilla.
3. Ideal Environment
Albucas are native in South Africa so they can adapt better to warm climates, but they can also survive the cold. Based on the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, the spiral grass can survive somewhere in the 9b and 11b scales. That means the succulent can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Certain conditions must be met when taking care of the plant during the cold though, which will be discussed in the last part of this article. During spring, flowers will bloom from the bulbs of the spiral grass.
4. How to Propagate It
Spiral grass can be grown from seedlings produced from the flowers after pollination. Propagation through seeds can be hard though so the most preferred method so far is through division or bulbs from the mother plant.
5. Maintenance Tips
The spiral grass looks better in rock gardens where it is exposed to full or partial sunlight. If you happen to live in an area where the climate tends to get cold, it is recommended that you place it in a succulent pot or container so you can easily transfer it to an area at home where it is warmest during that period. Remember to prune the bulbs of the plant during the winter too because these are sensitive to cold and can easily be damaged by frost.
Like most succulents, spiral grass only requires consistent watering upon planting. When it matures though, only water it lightly when it already appears very dry. Use quick-draining soil and pot with drainage so that excess water can flow freely out of it. Excessive watering or stagnant water at the base of the pot may result in soft, mushy, and translucent leaves for the succulent, or worse, the whole plant may rot.