With its’ large rosette of glossy leaves and column of delicate flowers, you could be forgiven for thinking that Eucomis bicolor could be difficult to grow, a bit of a prima donna. But believe me, this is a plant that you must have in your garden.
The strap shaped leaves often don’t emerge until the end of May, then it soon gets going, producing a purple spotted stem with a small pineapple-shaped flower on top which continues growing, reaching its’ full splendour in July and lasting until September.
The flowers are very pretty, waxy and pale green with a delicate deep purple edge and centre, the whole thing is topped by a little green tuft.
It originates from South Africa and our winters can be a bit harsh for it, it can be left in the garden with a nice thick blanket of compost over it, but I prefer to grow mine in a pot and store it in my unheated greenhouse over winter. With this treatment, mine just reliably soldiers on, year after year.
60cm tall x 40cm wide
plant the bulb 12 cm deep
place it in sun and water it well during the growing season and add a potash- rich fertiliser like tomorite every couple of weeks.
before you store it away, clear the dead foliage which will be soft and mushy, then carefully scrape the top inch of soil away and replace with fresh compost.
You can order bulbs here ready for planting in spring.
all images: Jill Anderson