Choose a country to see content specific to your location

A picture of a Century Plant

Century Plant

Boophone disticha

Boophone disticha, habitus, Skeerpoort, a by JMK (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Tender

Expected size

Height
Spread

50cm

Max

60cm

20cm

Min

20cm

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images

Boophone disticha SA SterkfonteindamFreeState20101012H
Boophone disticha, c, Schanskop
A photo of Century Plant
Boophone disticha, d, Schanskop
A photo of Century Plant

Overview

Also known as Century plant, this large bulbous species can grow for over 100 years. Originating from South Africa, it is well known for its poisonous bulb and unique leaves arranged in a fan shape. This species only produces one scented inflorescence and flowering is completed before seasonal leaf production. After flowering, to distribute seeds and reproduce, the fruiting heads stiffen and elongate around 30cm. Then the fruiting head will separate from the flowering stalk, where it is carried by light breezes, scatters seeds as it moves. It may take up to 15 years to reach maturity, but this plant is capable of lasting over 100 years and could outlive most humans!

Common problems

Rare

    Propagation

    Seed

    In nature, the dried out flowers release seeds, and so it propagates. If planting a bulb ensure that at least two-thirds of the bulb is above the ground.

    Special Features

    Attracts useful insects

    Bees and flies.

    Attracts butterflies

    Attracts bees

    Uses

    Medicinal

    The Century plant is used in traditional medicine to cure a number of ailments. It may be applied to boils and abscesses, it may be used to alleviate pain, treat insomnia and headaches amongst others.

    Medicinal