Pineapple Lilies Shine During the Last Gasp of Summer

Eek! It's September! Nothing throws me into high gear like the turning of the ninth page on the calendar. Make that medium gear--I don't hurry at anything when it's above 80 degrees. Besides getting some plants ready for their new homes inside, I'm consciously listing plants that pleased or disappointed me.

Eucomis 'Katie' on July 12.
Those with the highest disappointment potential are planted from seed, corm or bulb. This is because you find yourself in anticipation mode even before you see anything above the ground. So far I haven't seen my ever-longer-awaited flowers of two types of Tuberose: a double flowered form, and a lavender variety called 'Cinderella'. I planted them on April 17 and, although they have sent up a multitude of leaves, I've seen hide nor hair of the flowers. I'm holding out hope they'll emerge before it gets frosty. AND THAT'S IN ABOUT six weeks!

The three Eucomis 'Katie', also from Easy to Grow Bulbs, have performed quite well, staging themselves so that as one flower spike matures, the others are coming into their prime.

Eucomis 'Katie' on Aug. 4.

As the summer wanes, it takes longer for plants like Eucomis to grow a flower. While it looks as though the third bulb is putting out some effort, it just might not be enough. That's okay. 'Katie' has delightful blooms consisting of waxy white flowers with deep pink centers that grow larger as it matures. I'd have a hard time finding another plant that put on a show for so long.

Another pineapple lily I am growing this year is Eucomis montana. I found a sale price at Brent and Becky's Bulbs, so I was able to afford one to try. And I have to say: Yowza!

This species has similar flowers along its spike, but they are half again as large and pack the stem much more fully. It takes more than a week to open up completely from bottom to top of the stem. In another week, it looks even fuller, and will likely maintain its dignity for several more weeks.

I would definitely recommend Eucomis montana for its spectacular display, ease of growing and long bloom time.
Eucomis montana on Aug. 11

Eucomis montana on Aug. 4.

Still good-looking on Aug. 19.

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