Bulbine Frutescens – African Burn Jelly Plant | Xeriscape Gardening

May 30, 2014

Yesterday I was frying homemade taquitos in very hot oil and, genius that I am, thought I should remove one of the taquitos with my fingers. I missed and ended up dipping two of my fingers straight into the hot oil, about halfway up my fingernails! OUCH. I yelled for my 3 year old daughter to get me some of the “burn jelly plant” from the yard. She knows what it is because she has seen me use it numerous times on other burns. She brought a piece straight back to me, I squished it with my fingers and slathered the juice all over my burning fingertips. In less than 5 minutes, the burning was gone and I actually could not remember which fingers I had dipped in the oil. I have used aloe vera in the past for burns, but this plant is much better at treating them.


This plant rocks, just for its burn healing properties. But wait, there’s more! It also is great for insect bites/stings, sunburn care, and moisturizing. I like to think of it as a more convenient form of aloe vera. You can take a small leaf of burn jelly plant, rather than hacking off a huge aloe leaf.


It is a succulent plant, native to Africa, and it will grow almost anywhere you put it. I like to plant this wherever other plants won’t grow, like in hard clay soil or south slopes that get too much sun. Don’t let its delicate looks fool you… This is one hardy plant! It’s beautiful spiky leaves give a burst of green in places where other small shrubs won’t make it. In the peak of summer, when it is extremely hot here in east county, the plant will shrivel and turn a very dark green color. It is hibernating and looks like it might be dying. As soon as it gets a few hours of rain, it bounces right back! This plant is perfect for xeriscape and rock gardens!

Here is one of many Bulbines growing on my property, on a sunny south slope

In the winter and spring, an added bonus are the yellow spike flowers that burst up from the plant and sway in the wind. If you dead-head the plant, you’ll get more flowers.


And one last thing. These plants are EASY to propagate, due to their clumping habit. Just remove a clump and replant where you want. If you can get a few roots with the clump, your propagation success is almost guaranteed. Happy xeriscaping!


Leave a Reply

Property management and leasing agent in San Diego, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, El Cajon, Lakeside, Rolando, Mission Valley, Clairemont Mesa, Allied Gardens, Lemon Grove, North Park, South Park, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach

Peak Property Management
8407 La Mesa Blvd.
La Mesa, CA 91942

We specialize in rentals and leasing of single family homes, condos, townhouses, duplexes, and small apartment complexes. Browse our Rental List for available rentals throughout metro San Diego and East County.