Pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa), a deciduous bulbous plant native to South Africa, produces broad, purple-spotted leaves that form a funnel-shaped rosette at the base of the plant. A purple-spotted flower stalk rises up to 24 inches above the foliage, bearing tiny, greenish-white blooms tinged with purple in late summer. The flowers bloom over a period of six to eight weeks. After all the blooms appear, the flower stalk looks similar to a pineapple, hence the plant's common name. Because of its tropical origins, pineapple lily thrives in USDA hardiness zones 7 through 10, but it cannot tolerate colder areas of the country.
Things You'll Need
- Organic compost
- Water-soluble fertilizer
- Organic mulch
Prepare a planting site in the spring that receives full sun to partial shade and has moist, rich, well-draining soil for the best results. Although the plant tolerates partial shade, it produces the most vivid color and fastest growth in full sun.
Till the soil with a rototiller to a depth of 12 inches and work in a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic compost to increase fertility and drainage. Plant pineapple lily bulbs 4 to 5 inches deep and at least 12 inches apart.
Water plants about once a week during the spring, summer and early fall. Pineapple lily prefers evenly moist soil during times of active growth and drier soil during the winter months. Cease watering in late fall and resume when new growth occurs the following spring.
Feed pineapple lily once a year in spring, just before new growth begins, if desired. The plant doesn't require supplemental fertilization, but feeding will provide a boost to spring growth. Use an all-purpose water-soluble plant food according to the manufacturer's directions.
Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch to the ground surrounding pineapple lily plants in late fall in areas where temperatures reach below freezing in winter. Straw or fir boughs work best, but any type of mulch is better than no protection at all.
Tips & Warnings
- You can also plant pineapple lily from container-grown plants instead of bulbs. Plant at the same depth in which the plant was previously growing for the best results.
- Grow pineapple lily in containers filled with all-purpose potting soil in cool climates, and bring the plant indoors during winter. Place in an area that receives bright light and cease watering. The leaves will die back. Return the plant to its outdoor location when the danger of frost has passed in spring and resume normal care.
- Remove dead or dying foliage as needed throughout the year. Otherwise, pineapple lily requires no pruning or cutting back.
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture; Pineapple Lily; Gerald Klingaman; 2010
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Eucomis Comosa
- "Perennials"; Susan Carter, et al.; 2007
- "Summer-Blooming Bulbs"; Beth Hanson; 2001
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