Eucomis

Common name: Pineapple flower

Eucomis is a member of the lily family and is native to South Africa, where it can be found growing wild.

It is slightly tender but it can be grown in the border in all but the coldest parts of the UK.

In exposed and or very cold areas it is advisable to grow them in containers so that they can be moved into a sheltered spot during the winter months.

The vertical hyacinth like flowers appear as a column of striking starry-green flowers above tufts of narrow green leaves which die back in winter.

They grow to around 400mm (16") high and spread to around 300mm (12")

To perform at there best they require a sunny spot in fertile well drained soil.

Avoid planting them in a situation where sunlight is screened from them by other plants as this can affect flowering!

Ensure that plants are kept well watered during the growing season, never let them dry out as this can also affect the flowering capability.

Cultivation

Week 9: Sow seeds in pots /trays of seed compost and germiante at around 18°C (60°F)

Germination should take around five to seven days.

Week 12: Prick out seedlings into individual 75mm (3") pots of potting compost and grow on in a well lit spot.

circa Week 20: Top dress established plants with a general fertiliser to the manufacturers specification,which is usually 60-80 gms (2-3oz) per sq metre.

Established plants can be divided at this time and should be immediately re-planted in their final quarters after splitting.

Plant out new bulbs 150mm (6") deep and a minimum of 150mm(6") apart.

The top of the bulb should be just below the surface of the soil.

circa week 26-30: Take leaf cuttings and treat them in a similar manner as you would Streptocarpus (see related links)

circa Week 38: Collect seed if required, allow them to dry then store in a cool frost free place until required.

circa Week 40: Pot up the bulbils that have formed along the bottom edge of the leaf sections into individual 75mm (3") pots.

Aftercare:

Keep the young plants in a frost-free greenhouse, for the first two winters, fetching them out into a sunny spot during the summer months.

Check the pots periodically to ensure they are not becoming root-bound.

Pot on into larger pots as necessary!

Plants from cuttings can take up to five years to flower!

circa week 40: Remove any dead leaves then cover established plants with a 100mm (4") thick organic mulch.

Alternatively, lift the bulbs, allow them to dry, then store them in a frost free environment.

Keep them quite cool during this period, avoid areas that can get excessively warm.

Similarly,plants that have been grown in containers can be moved to a frost free area for the duration of the winter.

You can allow the containers to dry out and the bulbs will become dormant.

Begin watering again circa week 13/14





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