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The pineapple lily, Eucomis [YOO-com-iss] is a fun plant to grow. It comes with a distinct look and easy lily care.
The plant is native to bulb rich South Africa and features basal rosettes with purple petals. It also features a tuft of pale green bracts on the top.
At bloom time the result is an exotic plant resembling a collection of purple pineapples.
Due to the unique appearance of this plant, it’s commonly called the pineapple lily. Other common names include:
- Pineapple flowers
- King’s flower
- King’s pineapples
Call it what you want, but follow a few simple care suggestions to keep the plant growing properly.
Caring For The Eucomis Pineapple Lily
The two most common varietes grown are:
- Eucomis bicolor – green flowers, petals edged with purple. Attractive 3″-4″ wide leaves with wavy edges.
- Eucomis comosa (E. punctata) – flowers are tinged pink to purple on greenish white background. Two foot long leaves with purple spotted stems at base.
Size and Growth
Like other bulb plants, the Eucomis can survive the winter by withering its leaves and storing food in the large bulb.
In the spring, the plant grows quickly. A large rosette of wavy, light green leaves grows from the stems. A green stem should then sprout from the center.
The cluster of purplish or green flowers appear, combined with the green tufts, look a lot like pineapples.
USDA hardiness zone 9 to 11 are recommended for pineapple lilies. When grown in the right conditions, the rosette of leaves should reach about two feet.
It’s a fast-growing plant during the warmer months, and the leaves wither in the winter.
Flowering and Fragrance
The flowers typically bloom in May or June. However, the bloom time depends on the weather. In warmer regions, the flowers may bloom a little earlier.
As mentioned, the distinct look of the flowers gives the plant its common name. The pineapple lily produces a cluster of flowers that grow from the center stem with purple or green spots. The flowers produce a sweet fragrance.
If the plant doesn’t produce any flowers, it probably did not receive the proper care the year before. It needs plenty of light and regular watering during the growing season.
Light Requirements and Temperature
The plant needs plenty of light, full sun or a little partial shade if you want it to thrive. If grown indoors, place it in a south-facing window.
You can grow Eucomis indoors in almost any region if the plants get enough light. The plants can tolerate temperatures just above freezing (40 degrees Fahrenheit) during the winter, which makes the plant able to grow in a variety of climates.
NOTE: If the ground freezes in your region, take the bulbs indoors during the winter and replant them in the spring.
Watering and Feeding
You don’t need to frequently water the pineapple lily, especially when it goes dormant in the winter. It can tolerate some dry periods, but shouldn’t be allowed to completely dry during the warmer months.
For best results, give water and fertilizer to the lily plant throughout the spring. In the summer, keep pine apple lily watered to enjoy a longer bloom time.
In the winter, you should only need to water about once per month.
Soil and Transplanting
The Eucomis grows in regular potting soil in a pot with drainage holes. However, add some pumice can help increase the drainage, which is useful if you tend to overwater your plants.
These lilies shouldn’t need repotting unless you’re moving the plant indoors for the winter. Store bulbs in a cool location from November to early spring.
You may also want to wait until the summer to move it back outdoors. Allow the delicate flowers to bloom and then place it outdoors so it can get some fresh air.
Grooming and Maintenance
The pineapple lily sheds its leaves before resting for the winter. When the flowers fall and the leaves wither, remove the dead growth.
Removal helps ensure that the plant soaks up as many nutrients as needed for the winter.
How To Propagate Eucomis
The best way to propagate Eucomis is by removing the offset bulbs that form around the mother bulb. Carefully pull these bulbs off and plant them in their pots.
Eucomis Pests or Diseases
The pineapple lily doesn’t have any significant threats. But, keep on the lookout for aphids, a common nuisance for many plants.
You can typically remove aphids by washing the leaves with a spray bottle or with a Neem oil pesticide.
If you detect brown tips on the leaves, plants may not be getting enough water during the growing season. The brown tips can also occur when plants get too much fertilizer.
Other than these two issues, you shouldn’t run into many problems with pineapple lilies. It’s easy to grow, easy to care for and isn’t toxic to pets or children.
Suggested Eucomis Uses
If grown indoors, place in a south-facing window. It’s a great decorative plant and conversation piece, especially if you find a variety with purplish leaves.
It also looks great outdoors. Try planting it against the side of the house to bring more color and height to a garden bed. Just remember it doesn’t grow well outdoors in regions that freeze during the winter.