Flower Friday – Eucomis

I have two pots of pineapple lilies – Eucomis – one has green leaves and the other purplish leaves. I love these South African natives; their common name comes from the tuft of tiny leaves that appear at the top of each flower stalk which resembles green pineapple leaves. I purchased a single bulb of each variety about 20 years ago, and they continue to delight. The bulbs have multiplied and I’ve transplanted them three or four times each and now there are a half dozen bulbs in each pot. The thing is, I can never predict when they’ll bloom! The purple one sent up a single stalk early last fall – I cut it when it threatened to topple the whole pot, and stuck it in a vase with some zinnias – you can see it here.

They stay in a sunny window indoors most of the year, although I like to bring them outside, onto the mostly shaded back porch, for a few months in the summer. They can continue to produce leaves year around if you like or, as I did with the purple one that bloomed in October, you can treat them in a similar way as an Amaryllis bulb by letting them go dormant (stop watering, cut off the leaves and bring it to a dark cool spot) until you want new growth.

The green one, though, hasn’t gone dormant for many years now; nor has it flowered. I suspect that may be because it didn’t get enough sunlight. In any case, I put it in my sunniest window last fall and it rewarded me with three large flower stalks. When their size because a nuisance I cut them off and put them in a simple vase – much easier to admire now! The individual flowers open from bottom to top, last a LONG time and, even when the pink petals fade to green, have an interesting look.

This is the pot the flowers grew from. Sunny west window.


  1. As it turns out, the pineapple lily that I mentioned months ago really is a Eucomis of some sort, so it is grown here, generally as a potted plant or houseplant. They just do not look as pretty as yours. I asked someone at work about it, since I was not certain. Incidentally, an unidentified perennial at work is supposed to be a Eucomis of some sort as well. It is quite big, but with loose foliage. It has been there for many years, but has not spread much. I would like to get a piece to move to a more prominent situation. The main plant is rather out of the way. No one knows where it came from, or what species it is, but it is intriguing. It really looks like a Eucomis, but I have my doubts.

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    1. Does the one at work ever flower? I imagine you could dig the whole thing up and separate the bulbs…I’ve seen photos with Eucomis bordering walkways – for many metres – and it looks quite attractive although low. And I imagine if the leaves spill out over the path and they get walked on it wouldn’t be pretty.

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      1. It flowers, but unimpressively so. The floral stalks lean over, and are not proportionate to the big and bold leaves. They are more interesting than pretty, and would be more impressive if the foliage were not so bold. I intend to divide a few bulbs for my own garden, but without digging up the entire colony. Although it is not much to look at, it has been there for years, and is an oddity that I do not want to bother. I suspect that it will grow better in my garden or one of the landscaped areas, and can be divided later.

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