Plant of the Month by Martin Fish
If you fancy something a little different to flower through early autumn, look out for eucomis. This is a group of bulbous perennials that originate from South Africa and are commonly known as pineapple flowers or pineapple lily. When in flower you can clearly see how they get their name.
Despite coming from a warmer climate, many types of eucomis are fairly tough and will grow perfectly well outside in the UK, either planted into a well-drained soil or in containers. Eucomis bicolor is a popular choice and very easy to grow. It produces long strap-shaped leaves during the summer and from the centre of the rosette flower spikes develop in later summer and continue right through September and beyond if you’re lucky!
The tiny maroon and white flowers are clustered up the stem and topped with foliage. In the winter the plant dies back to the bulb and lies dormant until late spring when it will start to grow again. Bulbs need planting around 20cm (8in) deep for protection and when established they form a clump that look great when in flower.
At this time of the year you can often buy eucomis in flower, especially if you visit one of the flower shows such as the Harrogate Autumn Show in mid-September.
Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.
We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.