Eucomis 'Dark Star'

Common Name: pineapple lily 
Type: Bulb
Family: Asparagaceae
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Plum purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful

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 is a genus of about 15 species of bulbous plants native to South Africa and tropical southern Africa. They are commonly called pineapple lily or pineapple flower for their showy spikes of flowers topped with a rosette of leaves.

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.

'Dark Star' is a dwarf cultivar with a vigorous clumping habit of dark purple, almost black leaves topped with plum-purple, pineapple-like flowers. Careful breeding by Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc. involved the dwarf Eucomis zambesiaca and Eucomis vandermerwei.

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.