donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)February 7, 2008

Hi, all. I am preparing my bulb order and am looking at Pineapple lilies. I have never grown them, so have some questions.

Do they have a long bloom time, or is one bloom it?

Can one bulb make an impact, or do I need several in a clump?

Do they increase easily? (and how?)

I want to incorporate them into a blue and yellow border for their spiky blooms. I am considering autumnalis (light green flowers) and bicolor (chartreuse green flowers edged with purple). Any recommendations?

I am also looking at a purple foliaged one. If you have grown this, please tell me how purple the foliage is in the height of summer. Does it fade to greeny brown or does it stay really truly purple?

Thanks in advance for the advice! Donna

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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Hi Donna, I have many, many species and cultivars...I love them!! The flower spike easily lasts 4-6 weeks, but you get one per bulb. They offset from the base quite liberally. Yes, the purple leaves will stay purple in full sun, but not in anything less than that. For me, bicolor is very late to get out of the ground....a full month behind many others and the flower is not as certain in zone 6. Others are much earlier and more reliable. If you want a nice arrangement, maybe a nice purple flowered one like sparkling burgundy which is pretty good size and then a smaller one like Joy's purple and then toss in a small white one like zambesiaca (this is a species) to go with the standard autumnalis....maybe even a true giant at the back like pallidiflora. They are all easy in my opinion and are really lovely in the ground or in pots. I posted tons of pics of mine last year on a different forum and plan to buy a few more this year :o) Dan

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 6:49PM
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They're great plants - wish I had room for more. Here's a photo I took last summer on a visit to Plant Delights in Raleigh; it's a mass planting of "Sparkling Burgundy" backed up by, among other things, a selection of Mimosa (Albizia) that has burgundy foliage. It was spectacular.

It's true that you get one bloom per bulb annually, but it's interesting for at least two months, from the bud stage through seed formation. I grow a couple of clones of E. bicolor, including "SB", zambeziacum, and last summer added "Pole-evansiae", which topped out at 6' in bloom.

An interesting discovery (not mine -read it somewhere years ago) is that these can easily be reproduced by leaf section cuttings (sort of like Sanseverias- just make sure to plant the cuttings right side up); I now have dozens, and not enough room to grow them comfortably - story of my gardening life!

There's lots of good info on these written by Ellen Hornig at her Seneca Hill Perennials website - she's a font of information re. South African bulbs in general, among many other subjects.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 4:04AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Thanks, you two. There's nothing like hearing from someone who grows them. I had read somewhere that they needed partial shade and was ready to give up until reading your posts. Bubba, are yours in full sun?

I'm glad to hear about they can be propagated by leaf cuttings. That sounds like a great way to get some nice clumps going, and I can invest in more than one kind!

There's a cultivar of purple eucomis out there called "Oakhurst". Do either of you have any experience with it? Can you compare it to Sparkling Burgundy? If I plant these in a border, how should I place them to take advantage of their purple foliage? Near the front? Mid? etc.

I have also found one called Tugela Jade (comosa), with chartruse flowers that sounds nice. Any thoughts? From nursery to nursery the plant size estimates vary pretty widely, which makes me wonder if some are including flowers and others not in the height quotes.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 3:56PM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

I have both Oakhurst and Tegula Jade. Oakhurst is definately a smaller plant than most of mine so I would go toward the front with that one. Tegula jade is not the greatest looking flower to be honest, but it does have some nice height to it so more toward the back. Here is a link to my Tegula Jade and you can see lots of my pics at PhotoBucket by searching Eucomis:
Best of luck with these :o) Dan

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 11:00PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Your photos were very helpful indeed! I need a larger purple one, so it's Sparkling Burgundy that I think I want. I only saw one photo of its foliage and it's amazing. Will its foliage remain that vivid purple all season, or does the sun bleach it out to purpley green as the season progresses?

I rather liked the blossom pictures of Tugela Jade, but it's too short for my purposes. Can you recommend one that has chartreuse or cream colored blooms that will stand two to three feet high when in bloom?

Thank You ever so much for your help!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 10:14PM
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Hi Donnab.-

Thought I had responded earlier, but I guess it didn't "take". All of mine are in full sun, as are the ones at Plant Delights in NC. Sparkling Burgundy isn't "burgundy" for me unless it gets enough light.

It sounds to me as if any of the cvs. of Eucomis autumnalis or straight species comosa might suit your purposes.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 3:34AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Thanks, you two! I decided to make it easy on myself and ordered some of autumnalis, comosa, and bicolor. Will try the Sparkling Burgundy next year. (1SB$=6 of the other)

I can't wait for spring!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 3:14PM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

I've been looking at these to put in a couple of the pots on either side of one of front steps at my father's place.

Been wondering if they'll bloom first year but not sure now even though bluebonsai101 is half a zone colder than we are here.

I'm having a heck of a time figuring out what to put down those steps that deer, rabbits & groundhogs won't eat.

Not sure if Four O'clocks have poisonous foliage or just the seed is poisonous but was thinking about them for one step.

I've been taken with the Eucomis bloom for couple of years and like the Sparkling Burgundy foliage.

Whole porch and steps are white/light gray background so I want some color all the way down each side.

Was also going to try crocosmia in pot on another step but they'd clash with Sparkling Burgundy foliage. Gotta find a place for crocosmia but some web sites say they're not guaranteed to bloom first year either.

We had record NJ snow last week and it's up to 70F now.

Weather has me all disjointed with gardening/clean up chores... on which I'm very behind as usual...LOL.

I've read canna can be started early indoors. Can same be done with Eucomis under lights in hopes of speeding up bloom for first year?

I looked through catalogues trying to find "poisonous" plants to try and ward off animals but they don't specify if it's just seed and/or foliage. Sound like a heartless gardener, I know, but I'm so tired of having plants eaten to nubs.

Have to start spraying bulb foliage NOW since deer have already been eating it (including daffs) and groundhogs have woken up and are hunting for food...mangy little sons of a gun!

Any info from zone 6 on Eucomis first year bloom would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 7:32AM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Hey newbie, If you buy nice large bulbs they will bloom the first year no problem. Absolutely no need to force these Eucomis.......they will start growing in my garage when they are ready and not before......water does not seem to speed them up to be honest......they start growing in dirt as dry as the desert and then I water.......they bloom from mid to late summer depending on species/hybrid. The nursery I bought from before above sent large blooming size bulbs that bloomed the first year.....that being said, there are no of luck with your decisions :o) Dan

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 11:45AM
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newbie_in_nj(6b E/Central NJ)

Dan, you convinced me to splurge and get a few Oakhurst.

Once I saw that a Tiger Swallowtail was checking one of your Eucomus blooms for nectar that sealed the deal!

Thanks so much for your info.

I overwintered Gladiolus Muriele in the garage and most of them are soft right now. It gets below freezing in garage so guess I should have stored them in the basement or given them a good peat blanket in which to spend the winter. As I hate to buy Eucomis as an annual only I'll try to overwinter them but will take more care they don't freeze in garage next winter.

Just one little promising post from you convinced plant eyes are bigger than my planting knowledge, space and time yet I persist. :)



    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 11:19AM
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I decided to branch out this year and try a few bulb/corm/rhizome type tender plants that I've never grown before. Eucomis is one of them.

I just bought one inexpensive single bulb from Lowe's, and I've got it potted and under lights right now... I hope it turns out half as pretty as the flowers in the photo that Bubba posted! Those are wonderful!

I didn't realize there were so many varieties! Just what I need... another bulb addiction! LOL!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 11:33AM
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