Water pineapple lilies when the top few inches of soil are dry.

The Care of a Pineapple Lily

by Jenny Harrington

Pineapple lilies (Eucomis bicolor) feature a rosette of strappy leaves that resembles pineapple foliage, but the tall flower spikes are the real showstoppers. Each stem is covered in small star-shaped blooms, giving the plant a full yet feathery appearance. Pineapple lilies grow from bulbs in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, although you can grow them in any climate if you overwinter the bulbs indoors. With proper care, these pest- and disease-resistant plants will flower from midsummer through early fall. Plant pineapple ginger in a well-drained bed with soil rich in humus or organic matter. Grow the bulbs in a location near a south-facing wall to ensure warm soil and six or more hours of daily sun.

1 Feel the soil near the bulbs before watering, and only water when the top 2 inches begins to dry. Supply enough water to moisten the top 6 inches of soil when watering.

2 Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch over the soil to help conserve soil moisture and reduce watering needs. Mulch also prevents weed growth and insulates the bulbs during winter.

3 Spread a 10-10-10 slow-release fertilizer over the soil, applying 1 tablespoon per 1 square foot, in spring when growth resumes. Mix the fertilizer in with the top 2 inches of soil and water immediately so the nutrients can begin soaking into the root zone.

4 Reduce watering in fall when the foliage begins to yellow. Continue until the plants die back completely. Clip off the dead foliage and spread 2 inches of fresh mulch over the soil to insulate the plants over winter. In USDA zone 7 and below, dig up the bulbs after the foliage dies back and store them in dry peat moss at 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

5 Replant overwintered bulbs in early spring after frost danger has passed. Plant the bulbs with the bottom of the bulb, which is the flat end, 6 inches beneath the soil surface, and space the bulbs 12 inches apart in all directions.

Items you will need

  • Mulch
  • 10-10-10 slow-release fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Peat moss

Tips

  • Pineapple lilies grow well as potted plants. Set the pots outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and bring the pots indoors to overwinter before the first hard frost in fall.
  • You can also treat pineapple lilies as annuals in USDA 7 and below.

Warning

  • Store pineapple lily bulbs out of the reach of children. The plant is toxic if ingested.

About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images