Virtues: 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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