Brunsvigia grandiflora

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Botanical Name
Brunsvigia grandiflora
Amaryllidaceae - The amaryllis family.
brunz-VIJ-ee-uh gran-dih-FLOR-uh
Common Name(s)
English: Candelabra Flower
Afrikaans: Kandelaarblom
IsiXhosa: Isichwe
IsiZulu: Umqhele-wenkunzi
Plant Group
  • Bulb / Corm / Rhizome / Tuber / Epigeal bulb Bulbs: are made up of fleshy scales as in an onion Corm: a short, swollen, underground stem that is hard and not fleshy as in a gladiolus Tuber: a solid, fleshy, underground, storage organ as in a potato Rhizome: an underground, horizontal, swollen stem at the base of the plant as in an iris Epigeal bulb: bulbs that rest above the ground with only the roots anchoring the plant to the earth as in albuca
Plant Size
  • Medium
    Tree10m to 16m
    Shrub1m to 2m
    Perennial/ground cover40cm to 60cm
    Bulb40cm to 60cm
    Succulent40cm to 60cm
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Deciduous Plants which completely lose their foliage for part of the year.
  • Drought Tolerance: High The plant is well adapted to arid conditions; it can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
Specific Information

Brunsvigia grandiflora is a bulb that grows in summer rainfall areas, but is summer-dormant. The large heads of flowers appear in late summer and can grow up to 40 cm in diameter with 30 - 60 individual flowers on stalks that join together on a thick stem. The decorative grey-green leaves are remarkable, being upright, often spiraled and have wavy margins. They appear during or after flowering, persist through the winter and finally die off in spring. As it grows in areas subject to frosts and snowfalls, it is tolerant to cold and light frost, but must not freeze. The bulbs are very large and can reach up to 20 cm in diameter.

Once the seeds are ripe, the main stem dries and the head falls off and is blown away by the wind, scattering the seeds across the veld.

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star-shaped, 30 mm in diameter, with deeper coloured stripes down the center of the 6 petals, held on a firm stalk

  • Summer to Autumn Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • pink
Growth Rate
  • Slow Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Filler Either a fast growing tree or shrub used temporarily to fill in an area while the permanent plants grow to a desired size, or a plant used to fill gaps in borders or beds.
  • Suitable for coastal gardens Plants adapted to dry, sandy soil, forceful wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.
  • Wild Garden An indigenous garden planted for the benefit of wildlife and birds. Provides food, water, a variety of mini-biomes and no poisonous chemicals are used.
Distribution and Habitat

in the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, in grasslands

Planting Suggestions

Plant Brunsvigia in full sun in well-drained soil to which compost has been added.  A small handful of bone meal can be included as the bulbs will be left in position for as long as possible, preferably permanently. They resent being moved and will take a couple of years to re-adjust if they are disturbed. Plant the bulb with the neck and a small part of the bulb exposed. Brunsvigia grandiflora tolerates water well during dormancy and can be regularly watered during the winter growing period. Feeding will increase the number of flowers. 

It does well in a container in a fast-draining soil mix of equal parts of coarse sand, compost, and pumice rock or fine gravel. Select deep pots at least 30 cm in diameter which will hold the mature plants, as they don't like being disturbed.

The plant reaches flowering size 6 to 8 years from seeding.

Medicinal Uses

No data found.

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Hi Lorraine

I am a Botanist student and I would like to know the distribution of B. grandiflora in the province of the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

Hi Tile

The best I can do for you is refer you to the distribution map for this plant. Using this map and a map of the Eastern Cape, you will be able to pinpoint the many areas in which this species grows in the province.

Go to:

In fact, as a botany student you may find this website of great use in the future.

Kind regards

Old sheathing leaves surrounding the bulb are sometimes used to dress wounds,particularly by the Xhosa to dress circumcision wounds

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