Botanical Name: Eucomis comosa
Showy flower heads topped with tufts of green bracts make Pineapple Lily a favorite of Southern gardeners. But did you know that you can grow this dazzling beauty indoors? Pineapple lilies grow wonderfully in containers.
This South African native grows in a ground-hugging rosette of smooth, lance-shaped leaves that grow to 2 ft (60 cm) tall. The upright flower stems are typically yellow-green, sometimes flecked with dark-red spots. Those stems are sturdy enough to hold up heavy flower heads and won't need staking.
Give Eucomis comosa plenty of light. Some full sun is needed to make this tropical beauty bloom. And when it does -- several flower stems will send up spikes of star-shaped blossoms in summer.
You can expect flowers mid-summer that last about 2 months.
No blooms? Your Pineapple Lily isn't getting enough sunlight. If you don't have a sunny window for it, move the container outdoors to the porch or patio for the warm months to give it the sunlight it needs. Allowing soil to dry out between waterings will also help to promote blooming.
Repot in spring only when necessary. This flowering plant blooms best when pot-bound. Use a pot with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil.
Overwinter E. comosa in a sunny window. Cut back on watering, but don't allow the soil to dry out completely. Stop fertilizing after flowering is over. In early spring, resume normal care.
If you've never grown pineapple lilies, give them a try. Growing these tender perennials in containers is easy and you'll enjoy their gorgeous flowers year after year.
You'll find Eucomis comosa for sale at some online nurseries. It may be difficult to find in garden centers unless you live in a tropical or sub-tropical climate.
Several varieties are available with white, pink or red flowers. Bright-pink 'Aloha' is one of my favorites, and 'Sparkling Burgundy' is a popular cultivar with burgundy-tinged foliage.
Origin: South Africa
Height: 2 ft (60 cm)
Light: Pineapple lilies thrive in bright locations with some direct sun, making them ideal potted plants for the sunroom or any room that gets full sunlight. Turn the pot each week to give each side light exposure.
Water: Water generously throughout the growing season, allowing the potting soil to dry out a bit before watering again. Water sparingly after flowering is finished. Yellow leaves are a sign of over-watering.
Humidity: Try to maintain a minimum of 40-50% relative humidity. Closed-up homes with A/C or central heating can cause indoor air to become extremely dry. Discover easy ways to increase humidity for your tropical plants.
Temperature: Average to high room temperatures 65-80°F/18-27°C. If you scoot your container to the patio or porch for the summer, don't worry -- it can take the heat. But bring it back indoors when the temperature drops...these tender perennials will not tolerate temps below 50°F/10°C.
Soil: Good-quality, all-purpose potting mix
Fertilizer: Feed monthly in spring and summer with a high-phosphorus water-soluble fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Plant new bulbs with the pointed end barely sticking above the soil; wait to water and fertilize after new growth appears. Divide offsets in spring every 4 years or when needed.