How to Grow a Climbing Onion Plant

I have this plant that recently started to divide and in my quest to find out if I need to repot it and what to use, I realized I don’t really know what my houseplant is. I got it at a local Farmer’s Market a few years ago. It makes a fern like vine “leaf” which can get several feet long. Thanks for your help!


Hi Rachael,

Your plant is called a Climbing Onion (Bowiea volubilis). A Climbing Onion is a member of the Lily family and requires very little care. In late winter, stems start to grow out of the large bulb or “onion.” These vines eventually produce lacy branches. In the fall, the plant becomes dormant and the vines die back. The main bulb eventually  develops into a clump of bulbs as the mother bulb produces offsets along the side. You can separate the offsets and put them into their own pots.

Water:  Never let the plant sit in water and allow the soil to dry out between watering. Stop watering completely when the vines dry out in late summer/early fall. Prune the stems when they turn brown. Resume watering when the bulb re-sprouts.

Light: Bright indirect light

Feeding: Climbing Onions require very little plant food.