By Nikki Phipps
If you’re looking for an easy-care plant and something a little different in the garden, consider growing pineapple flowers. Read on for information on how to care for Eucumis pineapple lily bulbs.
About Pineapple Lilies
The pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa), also called pineapple flower, is a South African native and member of the lily family. The name Eucomis comes from the Greek word ‘eukomos,’ meaning lovely-haired, referring to the attractive flower heads.
The pineapple lily flower is formed by a spike of multiple smaller flowers coming from a rosette of thick leaves. These flowers range in color from cream and green to pinkish-purple. The pineapple lily flower spike is topped with a pineapple-like cluster of leaves.
Eucomis species are attractive specimen plants for the garden, and the flowers are long-lasting, making them excellent for cutting. From spring throughout fall, the handsome pineapple lily plant is great for use within the perennial border. This lovely, exotic-looking plant will return every year, giving a near-tropical appearance to the garden.
Some of the most commonly grown species include:
- E. autumnalis from the southeastern part of Africa. This species is found on rocky or grassy slopes and has long, strap-shaped, wavy-edged leaves with white to greenish flowers that bloom in late summer into fall.
- E. bicolor has a large tuft of leaves and white flowers edged with purple. It is found along grassy stream banks and in forests.
- E. comosa is found in grassland and marshes along the southeastern Cape of Africa. The wavy-edged leaves are purple with fragrant, cream and green flowers.
- E .pole-evansii is the tallest species with soft, green flowers and creamy centers blooming mid summer.
Growing Pineapple Flowers
When fully mature, pineapple lilies can reach up to 2 feet tall. These plants tend to grow larger if planted into the open garden, but many people find them easier to grow in pots.
Pineapple lily bulbs should be placed in the ground during spring, only after all danger of freezing has passed. Pineapple lilies prefer full sun to lightly shaded areas.
Bulbs put into the garden should be planted level with or just below the soil surface, approximately 2-3 inches, in well drained, humus-rich soil. Try not to plant too deep. If growing pineapple lily in a container, plant at a depth where the neck of the bulb is just barely peeking out of the soil.
Care of Eucumis Pineapple Lily
The pineapple lily is a very easy plant to grow, needing little or no special attention. Divide your pineapple lily in spring every 5-6 years by removing offsets. Although it is easy to start from seed, it can take two to five years before the plant reaches blooming size.
Pineapple lily likes moisture during its growing season, so water it regularly in spring and summer. In cold regions, however, grow it as an annual bulb, bringing indoors and keeping warm and dry for the winter. Do not water during winter. If you lift the bulbs, make sure to replant them as early as possible in spring but after any danger of frost has passed.
Kids are often fascinated with this unique plant; however, be cautious when growing pineapple flowers around them, as parts of the pineapple lily plant are poisonous if ingested.