Family: Asparagaceae
Habitat: Drimia is widespread in Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean Area.
Cultivation: The cultivation of Drimias is not so difficult, but you need patience: they grow very, very slowly. They require a well-drained soil, half shade, temperatures above 10ºC, regular waterings during the growing season and no waterings in Winter.
Curiosity: The name “Drimia” comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “bitter” or “acrid”, referring to the root, which is bitter if eatten.


Drimia is a genus of deciduous plants with flashy flowers growing from the bulb. Drimia forms a macrogenus that includes Urginea, Litanthus, Rhodocodon and Schizobasis. Considering all these subgenus, there are 100 species of Drimia from Africa, Madagascar, the Mediterranean area and Asia, and 50 species from southern Africa. The African species are not generally cultivated because their flowers are not very spectacular and do not last very long.

Drimias are widespread throughout the whole of Africa. They are also present in Asia and the Mediterranean areas, usually in regions with a dry season.

Drimia are usually deciduous or, more rarely, evergreen. The bulbs grow underground or on the surface and are often large, brown or grayish, covered by a hard and thick membrane of which the layers are visible already on the surface, and sometimes look like stones. From the bulbs develops a “tuft” of intense green leaves, elongated and linear, sometimes cylindrical, and no stem, at least until the flowering phase, when the leaves dry up completely to make way for the development of the floral scape, a green stem of variable height that carries the inflorescence.

The inflorescence, by botanical definition, should be counted as an ear: in practice it is almost a terminal and conical “cluster” of beautiful flowers, usually lasting less than a day, rarely two days, but with one to three blooms each day, white to yellowish green or brown flowers often with darker keels, erect to nodding but always erect in fruit. These blooms can also be impressive and exceed 40 centimeters! The blooming season, depending on the species, occurs in late Spring os Summer, regardless the rainfall pattern.


Here below are a few species of Drimia.

  • D. angustifolia
  • D. anomala
  • D. anomala
  • D. aphylla
  • D. arenicola
  • D. aurantiaca
  • D. barkerae
  • D. brachystachys
  • D. calcarata
  • D. calcicola
  • D. capensis
  • D. chalumnensis
  • D. chlorantha
  • D. ciliaris
  • D. ciliata
  • D. congesta
  • D. convallarioides
  • D. cremnophila
  • D. cryptopoda
  • D. cyanelloides
  • D. cyathiformis
  • D. delagoensis
  • D. dregei
  • D. duthieae
  • D. elata
  • D. excelsa
  • D. exigua
  • D. exuviata
  • D. fasciata
  • D. filifolia
  • D. fimbrimarginata
  • D. flagellaris
  • D. floribunda
  • D. fragrans
  • D. fugax
  • D. glaucescens
  • D. guineensis
  • D. haworthioides

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The cultivation of Drimias is not so difficult, but you need patience: they grow very, very slowly.

  • They require a well-drained soil with a strong organic component, where the bulb can be planted underground or simply leaned on the surface: it will in any case be able to root.
  • In Summer it should be given some cactus-specific and succulent fertilizer.
  • Put it in half shade: pay attention to the abrupt transitions from shade to direct light.
  • Better to keep it in pot indoors, as it will start to have problems with temperatures below 10ºC.
  • During the growing season, water it moderately, waiting for the soil to dry up before each new watering. After flowering, when the flower stalk starts to dry out, gradually reduce watering until Winter: start again when the sticks start to develop again at the end of Winter or in Spring.

Propagation can occur either by seed or by bulbs. Propagation by bulb is obviously the simplest and most used.

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