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Ledebouria petiolata (Drimiopsis maculata)


Origin and Habitat: 

Ledebouria petiolata is native to eastern South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga), Swaziland and Tanzania (Mpwapwa District: Kongwa). 

Also reported as grown in the Canary Islands.


altitude range:

25 to 1340 meters above sea level.


Habitat and ecology: 

Semi-arid areas, valley pastures, in brownish sandy clay; open places; forest soils, shaded stream banks, forest fringes, close to shore. It is also found in wet and very sandy places, not far from the beach. It didn't seem to mind the salt water of the pond, where the big scaly bulbs congregate and flourish well.



Drimiopsis maculata


Common names include: 

African False Hosta, African hosta, Leopard Plant; Ucibicibane




Ledebouria petiolata is a robust bulbous plant from South Africa, 30 to 35 cm tall that spreads quickly in clumps and has beautiful mottled leaves (maculata means "mottled"). The bulb quickly rises on the surface of the soil, the leaves die in winter  completely. In spring the foliage is covered with foot-high spikes of tiny whitish green bells, making a show when the clumps get big. 

It is related to Ornithogalum . 



It is a small deciduous perennial-geophyte plant with several bulbs emerging in spring to form clumps up to 30 (or more) cm wide. It is dormant in winter. 


Globose, fleshy, mostly exposed on the soil surface, about 2.5 cm in diameter and with large visible scales resembling a lily pad. 


3 to 6. Blade thin, somewhat fleshy, triangular to oval, 7.5-12 cm long and ± 4.5 cm wide, medium green in color, heavily mottled with translucent dark green or dark to almost purple-brown black, and color tends to be enhanced (for example, darker spots on foliage) in a shaded location. The spots appear on young new growth and only last until spring and early summer, when they fade into the green of the leaves. Margins more or less wavy. Deeply canalized petiole, 2.5-15 cm long 

Inflorescence:Much longer than the leaves, the flower stem rises up to 30 cm above the foliage and bears a tight cluster of small flowers of an insignificant nature. Peduncle 10 to 24 cm long. Dense raceme, 2.5 to 5 cm long. 


Perfect, small, inconspicuous, hyacinth-like, bright white in buds that open and turn pale green (also grey-green, buff or cream). Pedicels less than 1 mm long. Perianth 4 mm long; outer segments oblong up to 5 mm. Great. 

Internal segments oval or slightly ligulated and narrower than the external ones; smaller, whitish upper flowers. Stamens almost as long as the segments. Anthers ovoid, white, 1mm long. Bees love them. 

Flowering time: 

Spring (late April to May in Europe). 


It is a lovely, undemanding species and is one of the most popular bulbous plants. This attractive hosta-like plant has purple-spotted foliage that emerges in the spring and makes an excellent groundcover for areas under trees where the shade is too deep to grow. Will tolerate heat and drought. 

It makes an attractive plant in the garden when used en masse or in bags within a rock garden and is also an easy-to-grow houseplant; on the windowsill, a great addition to any plate garden. 

The bulbs at the base of the plant should be above the ground. The origin of the plant will make its bulbs tolerate heat and drought. 


It likes light shade to partial sun (it can face a few hours of sun without problems), but it adapts very well to heavy shade. Likes a little shade to enhance the color of the leaves. 


During the summer growing season, the plant seems to need a lot more water than the average succulent. It does well with water all year round. Allow to dry completely between waterings. 


Adapts to a wide variety of garden soils including cactus and succulent soils and regular potting mix (peat peat, perlite, pine bark). 

Organic soil rich in humus will make this plant multiply a lot. This plant needs well-draining soil; does not like soggy roots. 


Feed monthly with an indoor plant fertilizer when actively growing, applied at 50% of the recommended dose. 


The species is winter deciduous and can withstand light frost but not hard frost, so it is best kept in a frost free place or indoors and can be grown outdoors where there is no danger of frost. 

Pests and diseases: slugs and snails don't seem to want to attack this plant as much as they do other plants.

Ledebouria petiolata

SKU: P0817
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