Virtues: Bold, dark foliage and bright, multicolor flowers make 'Safari Adventure' pineapple lily one eye-catching perennial. The individual flowers in each dense flower spike change color as they age, creating an ombre effect. The late-summer bloom makes this plant an excellent companion for tropical foliage plants that often reach their peak when the pineapple lily blooms.
Common name: 'Safari Adventure' pineapple lily
Botanical name: Eucomis 'Safari Adventure'
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Flowers: Dense columns of greenish white individual flowers open in late summer and then turn lilac-pink to purple. The flowers open from the bottom of the spike to the top, creating an ombre color effect as the oldest flowers are purple by the time the uppermost flowers begin to open white. A tuft of green leaves develop at the very top of the flower, making the entire structure resemble a pineapple fruit.
Foliage: Dark olive green, strappy leaves grow in a rosette. They emerge relatively late in spring.
Habit: 'Safari Adventure' pineapple lily is a bulbous plant with a rosette form that looks similar to the crown of a pineapple fruit. The plant can grow to three feet tall and four feet wide.
Origin: 'Safari Adventure' is a hybrid selection of Eucomis, a genus native to South Africa.
How to grow it: Site in full sun to part shade. More sun is appreciated in cooler regions of its growing range, and more shade in hot regions. This plant likes rich, evenly moist soil with good drainage. This plant grows from a bulb that should be planted after the last frost of spring, or start with potted plants already in growth. If starting with a bulb, plant it six inches deep and have patience while waiting for growth, because pineapple lily can be a late riser. For a head start in cold regions, start the bulbs indoors in pots, similar to tuberous begonias and dahlia tubers.
Eucomis 'Safari Adventure' is rated winter hardy in USDA Zones 6–9, but this plant has exhibited marginal hardiness in areas of Zone 6. Many Eucomis are hardy only to Zone 7. Therefore gardeners in Zone 6 are encouraged to grow 'Safari Adventure' in a container and store it in a cool (45–50˚F), dry protected space for the winter. Move the container into storage around the time of the first frost.
Image courtesy of Walters Gardens