Eucomis comosa
Common Name: pineapple lily
Type: Bulb
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Southern Africa
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Greenish-white tinged with purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy

Culture

Best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some shade, but best flowering and foliage color occur in full sun. Not reliably winter hardy in the St. Louis area where bulbs should be (1) grown in pots/containers which are brought inside in fall to a cool, dry location or (2) planted in the ground in spring, but lifted in fall each year and overwintered indoors in a cool location in a dry medium (e.g., peat). Adventuresome St. Louis gardeners who wish to grow pineapple lily in the ground year-round should plant bulbs 4-5" deep in spring in a protected location, such as on the south side of a home or garage, and apply a thick mulch in winter. For containers, plant bulbs in spring with their tips at the soil surface.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Eucomis comosa, commonly called pineapple lily, is native to South Africa. It features a basal rosette of strap-shaped, linear, wavy-edged, purple-spotted, dark green leaves which spread upward and outward to 24". From each rosette, a thick, purple-spotted flower stalk rises to 24" tall in mid to late summer bearing masses of tiny, starry, greenish-white flowers typically tinged with shades of purple. Flowers appear in a dense cylindrical raceme topped by a tuft of greenish leaf-like bracts. Raceme flowers bloom bottom to top over a long 6-8 week bloom period. Overall flower effect is reminiscent of a pineapple fruit, hence the common name. Persistent purplish seeds prolong the ornamental effect of the bloom. Synonymous with Eucomis punctata.

Genus name comes from the Greek words eu meaning good and kome meaning hair and implying a beautiful head for the tufted leaves crowning the flower spike.

Specific epithet means furnished with a tuft, sometimes of sterile flower or, in this case, with a tuft of bracts.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Winter hardiness becomes a major concern in the St. Louis area if bulbs are to be left in the ground over winter.

Garden Uses

Protected locations in borders and around the home. Good container plant.