Albuca Spiralis: A Twisty Frizzle Sizzle

Looking for something unique? Albuca spiralis, as it is sometimes called, is a good choice. This bulging succulent plant produces spiral leaves that can look like corkscrews, making them a whimsical and entertaining addition to any collection of houseplants!

Whether in containers or in garden beds, Frizzle Sizzle Plant is worth your time … and it won't take much of it. This South African plant is easy to care for and will make you smile.

And did I mention that his flowers smell of butter and vanilla somehow?

Read on and we'll give you all the insights you need to grow your own Frizzle Sizzle Albuca!

Good products for your Frizzle Sizzle:

Brief instructions on care

Albuca spiralis or Frizzle Sizzle is a fascinatingly curvy plant!

Common Name (s): Frizzle Sizzle, corkscrew Albuca, curly Albuca, helicopter plant, slime lily
Scientific name Albuca spiralis
Family: Asparagaceae
Zone: 8-11, but zones 9-10 ideal
Height & spread: 6 "-8" tall with flower tips up to 12 "
light Full to partial sun
ground Sandy, loose soil
Water: Uniform moisture in winter, drought-tolerant in summer
Pests & diseases: Pest and disease free

All about Frizzle Sizzle

Albuca flower lace developedAn albuca that develops its flower tip.

The Frizzle Sizzle plant native to South Africa is just a lot of fun! As a bizarre addition to your garden, you will find that Albuca spiralis has very characteristic leaves. Each leaf has glandular hair that feels almost sticky to the touch, and it forms a tight curl at the top that looks like a curlicue or corkscrew.

Sometimes described as grassy, ​​the leaves are narrow and long, although they appear deceptively short due to their spiral tips. Despite their narrow width, they are thick so that the plant can store water in them. This is important because the natural environment of this plant is a feast or famine when it comes to the availability of water.

Since the plant normally only receives water in the winter months, it has adapted to a completely different schedule than most of us know. It grows mainly in cool weather and wet soil. At the end of its growth spurt it sends out long stems on which interesting flowers form. Each thorn can have ten to twenty flowers.

The flowers are slightly aromatic and create an interesting fragrance that you would not expect outside a bakery. It is almost buttery, but has a hint of vanilla and a clean, crisp aroma at the same time. Unfortunately, they're not edible (and are actually toxic when consumed, or at least cause stomach ache), so they definitely don't taste like they smell.

When the heat is on, the light bulb becomes dormant. The leaves may stay in place, but the plant retains its energy during the summer months and well into autumn. Albuca spiralis comes back to life as soon as the weather cools down, and new twisted growth breaks out again in winter.

There are a number of names under which the semi-juicy Frizzle Sizzle Albuca comes by. We all know the most common "Frizzle Sizzle", but because of the rotating leaves it is sometimes referred to as a helicopter plant. It is sometimes referred to as spiral grass, especially when the flower stems have not appeared. And like all albucas, it is considered a slime lily because of the slimy juice it produces.

You will find that this beautiful albuca is a phenomenal addition to your collection!

Albuca Spiralis care

Frizzle is sizzlingFrizzle Sizzle's leaves curl into funny spirals.

Due to its unique and innate timing, the hissing Albuca spiralis is practically suitable for indoor growth. A controlled temperature can really make this plant thrive! But there are still a few things you need to know to be happy.

Light & temperature

The hiss, Albuca spiralis, is used to lots of light in its home range. Full sun is best, but partial sun can be fine as long as it stays constant. 5-7 hours are absolutely necessary, but more full sun is even better.

Too little light prevents the leaves from curling. Instead, they only become long and wavy. If you don't have a reliable light source in the house, consider growing light.

Place plants in containers in a south-facing window or in another location where they are guaranteed to receive plenty of natural sunlight. Rotate the plant a quarter turn every day to ensure that the leaves are not all facing the sunlight!

Not very frost hardy, Frizzle Sizzle Albuca prefers a minimum temperature of 60 degrees. However, in order to produce viable seeds, they must fall to cooler temperatures in the winter months. It can be grown in zones 8-11, but prefers the 9-10 range. Avoid freezing as much as possible as this can damage your system.

Keep the temperature between 60 and 75 degrees for optimal growth. This often fits perfectly with our room air conditioners and makes maintenance easier!

One thing to keep in mind: while the plant tolerates the heat in midsummer, these twisted leaves can occasionally get sunburnt if the sun is too intense. Cooler indoor temperatures also help if they rise in the 90s or 100s. However, make sure that these thick little leaves don't start to burn.

Water & moisture

The key to the successful growth of your Albuca Spiralis Frizzle Sizzle is drainage. While your plant needs water, like other onion plants, it is also at high risk of onion rot. And it has to be watered a little differently than your other plants.

Do you know how most plants need more water when the heat is on? Not your Frizzle Sizzle Albuca! Then you actually need to water the least. From the beginning of summer to most of autumn, you want your floor to feel damp at most. Let it dry between waterings.

When the weather gets cooler outside, start watering evenly. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not damp. Do not leave your pot in the water as this can make the soil too moist and lead to onion rot. Instead, make sure that excess moisture drains away easily.

Do not go overboard with water or moisture. Too much moisture causes the leaves of the plant to be limp or soft. The plant tries to store water in its leaves, and an excess of water can also prevent these pretty spirals from forming!

Don't worry about adding extra moisture to your sizzle. Albuca spiralis just doesn't need it.


Top view of Albuca spiralisA view from above of Albuca spiralis.

Sandy soil is ideal for your Albuca spiralis. Frizzle Sizzle comes from a naturally sandy region of the world, and onions work best when they're in this type of soil. A little compost is fine, but make sure you don't provide too much material that will hold the moisture right against the light bulb of the Frizzle Sizzle. Albuca spiralis is tolerant of poor soils!

For your base soil, especially if you are planting in containers, you should consider a mix of succulents and cacti that may be mixed with a mix of African violets. This provides good ventilation and just enough water retention for your Albuca spiralis. Frizzle Sizzle can also work well in a typical soil with 50-70% mineral grain. Coarse sand, pumice or pearlite are excellent sources of mineral grain.

The pH of your soil is generally unimportant for your Albuca spiralis. Frizzle Sizzle grows well in most residential pH values. Aim for a neutral area if you can, but don't panic if you can't.


It is best for your Albuca spiralis to fertilize at certain times of the year. Frizzle Sizzle needs a good start in late autumn because the active growing season begins. After that, a second fertilization is ideal when the flower stalks begin to form in spring.

A balanced liquid fertilizer is best for your plant. Water your plant well the day before fertilization to ensure that it is already fully hydrated. Then apply the liquid fertilizer to the floor, not to the Albuca itself. Let excess material drip through the floor.

Fertilize once at the beginning of the growing season, if necessary a second dose a few weeks later. If you use a weak organic fertilizer, fertilize it monthly during the growth spurt. However, if you are using 2-2-2 or more, stick to one or two doses early. Re-fertilize yourself when you first notice signs of flower stalks. Do not fertilize in summer or early autumn.


As an onion plant, you will find that repotting is not a normal thing for your Albuca spiralis. Frizzle Sizzle produces bulbs that spread, but it takes a while for new bulbs to develop. Since they grow fairly slowly, you may not need to repot in the first year, but will likely do so in the second year of growth.

If you don't split the plant, choose a pot that is about 2 inches wider than the current one. Carefully remove your plant and dust off excess soil to expose the bulbs and their root system. Examine the light bulbs carefully and remove any visible rot. Discard the rotten lightbulbs.

When you have confirmed that the rest of the plant is free of damage, add new potting soil as described in the section on the soil above. Carefully plant in the soil at the level at which it was previously planted. Gently pat the soil around the plant, but don't wrap it too tightly to prevent compaction.


Frizzle sizzling flowerA close-up of a frizzy sizzling flower. Source: 澎湖 小 雲雀

Frizzle Sizzle is propagated through seeds, onions or division.

Seeds should be planted within six months of being collected. In the wild, these plants sow themselves around their mother plant and the seeds start to germinate within a week. The small vesicles formed in this way become dormant in the hot months and develop quickly when the weather cools down.

You can emulate this by planting your seeds when you have just collected them from your plants. Do not plant them deeper than twice their size as they do not need much soil above them and they are tiny! They can also be easily sown on the soil surface. Spray them to keep them moist but not moist until they show up. Provide them with full sun so that they stay warm enough to germinate.

To plant bulbs, carefully separate one or two bulbs with healthy roots from the mother plant and replant them as a new plant. The division works similarly, except that you divide the entire group of bulbs into 3-4 groups of bulbs before transplanting.


One of the best things about Albuca spiralis: Frizzle Sizzle doesn't need a lot of cutting!

The main cut you need to make is removing the flower stems. You can wait for the seeds to form. If you don't save any seeds, remove them as soon as the flowers fade. This can cause the plant to flower a second time, although this is rare.

That being said, leaves that have been in full sun may have developed a slight sunburn. Remove this. In summer, it is also possible that the leaves of your plant turn yellow during the resting phase, and you also want to cut these yellow leaves off. Use a good pair of cutting scissors to get a clean cut.


Side view of Albuca spiralisThe side view of an Albuca spiralis plant.

Growing problems are rare with your Albuca spiralis. Frizzle Sizzle is pretty good at taking care of himself! But here are the few problems that can arise so you are prepared for it.

Growing problems

As with many plants, you will notice some oddities in your hissing. Albuca spiralis prefers a minimum temperature of around 60 degrees, but can cope with somewhat colder conditions. Some reports say it can survive temperature drops of up to 17 degrees Fahrenheit, but will suffer damage from the cold. If possible, try to keep it warmer most of the time.

To make viable seeds, you need to give your plants a cold snapshot in winter to advance the spring bloom. Lower it for your Albuca until the 1940s for a few weeks at night, but keep it warmer during the day. Remember that this is the active growth phase of the plant and pay attention to the moisture content to ensure that the soil stays constantly moist!

Wilted leaves are not uncommon in summer. Yellowing also occurs on at least half of the leaves of the plant while it is resting. Remove the damaged sheet material, but make sure that it still has enough to survive. If all of the sheet material is lost, do not throw out the light bulb as it should be brought back to life later in the year in cool weather.


Pests are no problem for Albuca spiralis. Frizzle Sizzle is practically pest-free! If anything, your biggest concern should be the potential of spider mites in your soil in summer, but even these are rare. They just don't seem to like Albuca very much. If anything, some opportunistic snails might try them when they're outside.


Diseases also tend to avoid Albuca spiralis. However, Frizzle Sizzle is not immune to onion blight. Avoid over-watering or other conditions that could promote fungal growth. Sandy soils help drain excess water quickly to protect your onions. Therefore, use either a mixture of heavy sand or a mixture of cacti and succulent soils.

frequently asked Questions

Onion from Albuca spiralisThe onion from Albuca spiralis almost looks like an onion.

Q: Is Albuca spiralis a succulent?

A: Yes, mostly. Technically, it's a succulent, but it's a plump succulent. It forms thick but narrow leaves that store water as a slimy gel, making it juicy. However, it has an onion that looks like an onion in shape. For technical reasons, yes, but it doesn't look like most people think when they think of a succulent!

Q: Why is my hissing brown?

A: Your Albuca spiralis may turn yellow in summer. Brown tips are a sign that a flower stalk is forming, but the actual yellowing is part of the resting process. Both are perfectly normal. However, if you want to avoid brown tips, remove the flower stalk before it fully develops. If you want it to bloom, just cut off the brown material with two pruning scissors, leaving the green intact.

You can also cut off any yellowed leaf when it goes to sleep, if possible near the plant base. If it turns completely yellow, don't panic, it can only rest for the hot months. Hold the light bulb during the warm season and water it occasionally when it is completely dry. It will return in cooler weather.

Q: Why doesn't my hiss ripple?

A: Mostly this is caused by too much water. Reduce your watering a bit so these corkscrews can form. Since it stores water in its leaves, you will find that excess water only forms fat, small, stick-like leaves and you lose all of its quirky charms!

However, too little light can also prevent it from curling. Make sure there is enough light, even if it is indirect bright light. It takes it.

The green thumbs behind this article:
Lorin Nielsen
Lifetime gardener

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