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Eukomis (Eucomis), or eukomis, or pineapple lily is a flowering monocotyledonous bulbous plant from the Asparagus family. There are 14 species of this plant, but only 4 of them are grown in culture. The main feature of eukomis is that it looks decorative, both during and after flowering.
Description of eukomis flower
Eukomis is a herbaceous perennial with oval-shaped bulbs in diameter that reach 8 cm. Leaves are basal and shiny, have an ovoid or belt-like shape. Peduncles up to 1 m high and cylindrical in shape, somewhat similar to pineapple inflorescences. The flowers are wheel-shaped purple or brown, the perianths are lanceolate. The apex consists of a flower arrow, which is covered with green perianths. The fruit is a flat-rounded three-ribbed capsule. Seeds are round or ovoid, black or dark brown in color.
Planting eukomis in open ground
The most suitable time for planting eukomis in open ground is late May-early June, at which time the soil will warm up enough, and night frosts will definitely not return. If the spring is too cold, then it is best to first germinate the bulbs in pots, and only then plant them in open ground.
The site for planting eukomis should be in a sunny part of the garden, where there are no strong winds and drafts. The soil should be light, loose and fertilized with humus and well-drained. In order for the soil to be well permeable to moisture, coarse sand or gravel must be added during transportation. It is necessary to deepen the bulbs by 2-3 cm during planting.The distance between the bulbs should be at least 15 cm, and between the rows at least 30 cm.
Caring for eukomis in the garden
At first, after planting the bulbs in the ground, scanty watering is needed. When the plant begins to grow actively, the meager watering needs to be changed to more abundant and regular. After each watering or rain, be sure to carefully loosen the soil around the plant and remove weeds if necessary. After the eukomis flowering period ends, abundant watering should be changed to moderate. When the leaves turn yellow, you must completely stop watering the plant.
Top dressing and fertilizers
In order for the plant to be healthy, lush and pleasing with abundant flowering, it is necessary to feed it once every 2 weeks with a solution of a complex mineral fertilizer. You need to choose such complexes in which the minimum content of nitrogen, since this element will not benefit the plant.
Eukomis care and transplantation are fairly easy procedures. They do not require a lot of time and any special knowledge. The plant needs to be replanted annually, as it does not tolerate winter cold. In late autumn, before the onset of frost, it is necessary to dig up the bulbs and store them in a warmer place, and plant them back in the spring.
Eukomis in winter
After the end of the flowering period, the arrows need to be cut off, but the leaves should not be touched, since the plant should receive nutrition in the autumn. In mid-September, the leaves themselves will turn yellow and wilt, and the bulbs will begin to prepare for winter rest. In southern latitudes, you do not need to dig up the bulbs for the winter, you just need to cover them well with dry foliage or spruce branches. But in regions with harsh winters, it is better to dig up the bulbs, as they will not survive the frost. The bulbs must be carefully dug up, the adhering soil must be removed and treated with Maxim's solution, then thoroughly dried and put into cloth or paper bags. Store bulbs in a cool, dry place with good ventilation. If there are few bulbs, then they can be stored in the refrigerator, as long as there are no apples next to the bulbs. Bulbs are perfectly stored in pots with soil at room temperature, they need to be watered occasionally. Watering should be moderate.
Diseases and pests
Most often, eukomis suffers from rotting of the bulbs. Such a disease may appear due to waterlogging of the bulbs during growth or due to improper storage during the dormant period. Fight this disease with a solution of fungicides. In order for the disease to finally go away, 2-3 careful plant treatments will be required.
Harmful insects that can infect a plant: whitefly, spider mites, aphids, or mealybugs. You need to fight pests as soon as traces of their presence appear. This will help special preparations for processing, for example, Aktar or Actellik.
Reproduction of eukomis
Eukomis can reproduce vegetatively or by seed. The vegetative method is good because it can be used to preserve species and varietal traits from mother plants. During the season, several babies form on the bulbs. When there is a dormant period, the children will need to be broken off, and the cut sites will be treated with coal powder. And then, during spring or summer planting, the children need to be planted along with the rest of the bulbs.
As for the seed method, the seeds should be planted in containers with soil immediately after harvest. After about 4-6 weeks, the first shoots will appear, you need to care for them in the same way as for ordinary seedlings. Choosing this method of reproduction, you need to remember that eukomis grown from seeds will bloom only in the third or fourth year.
Eukomis also reproduces with the help of leaf cuttings. To do this, you need to cut off the sheet at the base and divide it from the bottom into 4-6 parts. Then plant in a substrate that should consist of equal parts of peat and sand. Cover the planted leaf with a cut plastic bottle, thereby creating a greenhouse environment, sometimes removing it for a few minutes to ventilate. After about 2 months, bulbs will begin to form at the edges of the leaf, which must be carefully detached and planted in pots so that they grow a little. When the bulbs are well grown, they can be planted outdoors.
Eukomis in landscape design
The pineapple lily will become a real decoration of the garden. The inflorescences are strong and clear, thanks to this the plant looks great, both independently and in combination with other flowers. Eukomis looks interesting in combination with gerberas, soil-bearing annuals and perennial conifers. Eukomis in combination with geyhera looks original against the background of alissum and lobelia. Eukomis, planted on rocky areas, also looks beautiful. In principle, pineapple lily looks beautiful in combination with any plants, it is more important to choose the right shades of them.
Types and varieties of eukomis
Only those species that are grown in culture will be listed below.
Eukomis point, or eukomis crested (Eucomis punctata = Eucomis comosa) - grows 30-60 cm in height. A plant with flat, grooved leaves, lanceolate or linear, growing up to 60 cm in length and 7 cm in width. There are brown spots on the bottom of the leaves. Greenish flowers are collected in fish bunches of 40-100 pieces. This species has varieties that have purple or pink flowers.
Eukomis bicolor (Eucomis bicolor), or eukomis bicolor - grows up to 1.5 m in height. Chroma have an interesting striped color, purple stripes. The flowers are light green, the perianths have a purple border. The fruits of these species are dark red in color.
Eukomis autumn (Eucomis autumnalis), or eukomis otumnalis - unlike other species, it is more resistant to frost and in regions with warm winters can winter right in the soil. Chroma grows 20-30 cm in height. Flowers collected in fish brushes are white or creamy white in color. This species blooms a little later than others.
Also, sometimes in the culture, the eukomis Zambezian, Pole Evans, red-stemmed and wavy are grown.
If the planting, cultivation and care of eukomisoch are correct, then the flower will grow incredibly beautiful, lush and healthy, and will certainly delight you with a long and abundant flowering. Since caring for the plant is quite simple, even inexperienced growers can grow a beautiful and unusual flower.
A site about a garden, a summer residence and houseplants.
The genus Eucomis belongs to the asparagus family. That is, eukomis is a relative of domestic asparagus and garden asparagus. He is also a relative of the hyacinth, which is striking when considering the flower arrow of our hero.
It comes from South Africa. And it got its curly name for its unusual appearance: a ground rosette of leaves, a peduncle decorated with a brush of densely sessile flowers, and finally, by the same tuft of bracts, so similar to the top of a pineapple.
The most common in culture - eukomis punctate (the wrong side of the leaves and the peduncle are covered with a scattering of contrasting dots), its variety Stricta it also bears longitudinal stripes of red-brown color on the inside of the leaves.
In addition to it, 4 more species can be found in the gardens.
Eukomis autumn (Eucomis autumnalis) - more pood-flowering and more cold-resistant, with creamy or pure white with a greenish tinge inflorescences up to 30 cm high, but at the same time very large bulbs (8-11 cm in diameter).
Eukomis bicolor (Eucomis bicolor) - the flowers are framed with a purple stripe, and the seed pods turn purple as a whole, and there are comtrost stripes on the peduncles. Interestingly, in the Alba variety with greenish-white flowers, the peduncles and foliage have a simple green color.
Eukomis crested (Eucomis comoso), perhaps, the most prominent, in terms of height - the peduncle can reach 90 cm, and the inflorescence itself pleases almost 30 cm of pure beauty.
Eukomis pale-flowered (Eucomis pallidiflora), besides them, there are other relatives, but go try to find at least those listed ...
Eukomis translated from Greek means "beautiful whirlwind (whirlwind), beautiful-haired." There is also another name for this plant - a tufted lily, that is, almost a curly forelock from a sentimental song popular 100 years ago.
I was lucky to get acquainted with eukomis thanks to my wife. Once she asked to pick up a certain order in one postal service. When asked what exactly should I get, the answer was: "Plants for the garden."
Since the "nerd" in our family, only I was a legitimate question - what exactly was there. It turned out that among other things, pineapple lily bulbs were waiting for me.
I then very much doubted his (eukomis) ability to grow in the suburbs. But as it turned out after the whole season, he doubted in vain.
So, the order was received, and in the package, rather large bulbs were opened to me, similar in many respects to those of hyacinths (the relationship manifested itself clearly and inexorably).
I must say that the spring of 2017 was strange in terms of the weather. It was not possible to plant a thermophilic plant directly into the ground either on the basis of its biological characteristics, or according to the reviews of experienced gardeners. They recommended planting the bulbs in March-April, growing them to an acceptable state, and only then relocating them to open ground. But the bulbs came a little late, and the weather was not good either.
As a result, only in May I planted the bulbs directly in the garden. At the same time, I took into account that the plant requires a fairly large volume of fertile soil, good lighting, moderate watering and periodic feeding. Just a plastic container of 100 liters with an extra volume was found, which was given to the pineapple lily. But 5 onions in this volume would be like lonely orphans.
I had to consider the issue of overseeding annuals to decorate the foot of the eukomis. The seeds of the eschscholzia, adored by our family, were at hand. Its bluish openwork foliage and further varied flowering (it was a mix) created a wonderful background for the pineapple lily.
Although I think that shorter annuals, such as alissums (and this is also a pleasant honey aroma), would look better “at the feet” of eukomis, as well as when growing (like mine) in a large container some creeping or ampelous plants - lobelia, purslane , nemo-fila, coreopsis, bidense (sequence), dichondra, nolana, scovola and others in the same spirit.
Garden designers recommend the proximity of eukomis with gerbera, heuchera and some conifers. Eukomis (especially undersized ones) in ro-hazels will look harmoniously. The main thing is the agrotechnical compatibility of neighbors.
The container itself could also be decorated: either with planks, or, more simply, with cut reed or bamboo mats, which have been on sale in some garden stores for quite some time. Hands have not yet reached ...
And then the lily bloomed ... A lot of greenish flowers appeared on the peduncles, gathered in a spike-shaped flower arrow. It was unusual but attractive. And she bloomed, or rather, they, because there were 5 bulbs, until the moment threatened by frost.
And then the bulbs, along with the foliage and peduncles, were dug up and placed in a place where they were not threatened by negative temperatures. When the "tops" wilted and dried up, they were cut off, and the bulbs were sent to the "cellar" for storage. By the way, if you grow eukomis in containers that are dropped in the garden, then after removing the latter, you could enjoy the flowering of the pineapple lily for another month or two, since flower stalks with seed pods on still growing plants are also decorative.
By the way, I remembered the method proposed, probably more than three decades ago, to improve the safety of tubers and bulbs in winter. It is based on the extremely beneficial effects of lysozyme contained in egg white and has a powerful antibacterial effect. It is necessary to dip the tubers and bulbs in liquid chicken egg white.
In this case, after drying, a thin film is formed that protects against the effects of various disease-causing influences. Objects should be stored either in peat or in coniferous sawdust at a temperature of about 10 °.
Thus, the algorithm of actions with eukomis bulbs is as follows (based on my experience and the experience of my colleagues).
We plant in March-April in containers (pots).
When the threat of frost has passed (or a little earlier, subject to shelter), we plant it in the ground or in larger containers in a sunny place protected from cold winds.
Until we observe the beginning of active growth of the plant (the appearance of that very "forelock"), watering should be more than moderate in order to avoid rotting of the bulbs.
If there is a threat of return frost or it is simply cold and uncomfortable, you should cover the container with eukomis with non-woven material (overnight), although protection can be left during the day.
At the beginning of active growth, plants should be fertilized every 2 weeks, avoiding excess nitrogen, and watered regularly.
For 2-2.5 summer months (May-August) we enjoy the eukomis bloom and remember with a kind word South Africa and the one who sold us this miracle.
When the peduncle and leaf rosette wither, watering should be stopped and the bulbs should be removed over time for storage (taking into account advice and analogies with other tuberous and bulbous ones).
Bulbs left in containers (pots) can be stored as they are, observing closer to spring for the emergence of sprouts, after which watering is resumed and the containers are exposed to the light of God.
Repeat everything next spring!
And you can grow it on the balcony and admire the intricate beauty of the flower stalks for a long time. The soil for planting eukomis requires light with the addition of coarse river sand, rich in humus and always well-drained. As a drainage, I personally like the moderate size of expanded clay fraction, broken brick is also suitable.The container should be chosen larger, because the span of the root rosette of the belt-like leaves can reach 60 cm. And do not forget about feeding. And it should be remembered that as an African, eukomis is picky about the level of lighting. Warmth and light are the keys to success!
Planting a pineapple lily
In order for a flower culture to delight with its exotic appearance throughout the summer period, some nuances must be taken into account before planting. For all its unusualness, eukomis is completely undemanding to the conditions of planting and care in the open field:
- For a perennial for comfortable growth, a bright area is selected with one hundred percent access to sunlight, but protected from gusty winds.
- The tropical plant prefers light soil and a large amount of drainage layer. It can be fine gravel, pebbles or large brick chips.
- Before planting, a certain amount of river sand is added to the soil.
- Protect the seat from moisture stagnation. Eukomis tolerates drought well, but not a large amount of water.
Planting activities begin with the treatment of bulbous material with disinfectants. This protects the plant from possible infectious diseases. Next, the bulbs are washed with clean water, slightly dried and planted in the prepared soil at the beginning of May. Deepening is carried out so that about one centimeter of soil remains above the upper part.
Each plant should be spaced 30-40 centimeters apart. In good weather conditions, the first shoots appear within a week. Further, a rosette, a stem and a peduncle will form, which very quickly begins to strive upward.
Watering and fertilizing the soil
At the beginning of the growing season, it is best to keep the soil slightly moist. Once the plant has a few leaves, start watering it regularly, keeping the soil relatively moist until flowering. Watering eukomis is desirable in the evening.
When caring for pineapple lilies, the use of artificial fertilizers is not required. But you can fertilize with organic fertilizers in early spring. Pineapple lilies also appreciate mulch. It should be scattered around the base of the plant. This is especially useful in late autumn.
If you plan to move your bulbs indoors during the winter, leave the foliage untouched for as long as possible so the plant can store solar energy and store enough nutrients to keep it flowering next season.
Old leaves and flower stems should only be removed after they turn yellow. In this case, the flower must be pulled out of the soil. Then each dug out onion is placed in a cool dry place for a week. After that, you need to wrap the onion in newspaper and place them in a paper bag or cardboard box. Plants grown in containers should preferably be kept in a dry room for the winter, where the temperature exceeds 0 ° C.