Plant Pineapple Lily Bulbs in Spring for Summer Bloom

eucomis comosaVirtues: We love Eucomis comosa for its lush, broad, strap-like foliage that arches gracefully in a basal rosette and its amazing, unique summer flowers. The crimped-edged, rich green leaves are often speckled in spectacular hues of purple. During summer, a tall, thick flower stalk rises from the rosette with a raceme blooming in an abundance of tiny, star-shaped greenish-white flowers, also often tinged in purple. The bundle of striking flowers is topped with a crown of green leaf-like bracts, making the whole resemble a pineapple—giving rise to its common name, pineapple lily.

Common name: Pineapple lily; pineapple flower

Botanical name: Eucomis comosa

Flowers: In summer a dense raceme filled with clusters of small, starry greenish-white flowers, often spattered in purple, bloom from a big, fleshy scape. A greenish cluster of leaf-bracts tops this structure. The long-lasting blooms can grace a garden for 6 to 8 weeks.

Foliage: Long, curvy-edged, wide deep green leaves spotted in purple extend upward and outward from the plant’s base.

Habit: The foliage rosette of a pineapple lily typically reaches 1 foot tall with a 1- to 3-foot spread. In summer the lofty flower stalks can tower to 2 feet above the foliage. This plant grows from a bulb.

Season: These impressive bulbs have bundles of summer interest with their captivating blooms. The fascinating foliage offers late spring and fall appeal. Eucomis comosa is dormant in the colder months of winter.

Origin: Native to South Africa.

How to grow Eucomis comosa: Pineapple lilies bulbs thrive in moist, organically rich, well-drained soil. Plant the bulbs roughly 6 inches deep in spring. Grow in full sun with regular, thorough watering during growing season. During the colder months, apply a thick layer of mulch to protect the bulbs until the following spring. Pineapple lilies caan be grown in containers or in the ground. Containers make it possible to grow them where they are not winter hardy; just store the pot of bulbs in a cold, dark place for the winter. They are winter hardy in USDA Zones 7–10.

Image: H. Zell
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The Smart Gardening Techniques: Gardening with Bulbs & Tubers is an easy-to-follow PDF full of practical techniques for making the most of your bulbs and tubers.

Want a garden full of season-round beauty and color? The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Flowers from Seed to Bloom is a great reference to growing more than 500 annuals, perennials and bulbs.

Explore the beauty and care of spring-, summer- and fall-flowering bulbs, plus tips for winter forcing, in the Horticulture: Bulbs CD.

Discover everything you need to know about creating a beautiful, thriving perennial garden by downloading the Garden How-To University: Growing Perennials.

Gardening with Perennials Month by Month describes the monthly blooming schedules and growing requirements for more than 700 perennial species.

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