Eukomis (lat. Eucomis ) is a highly ornamental bulbous plant with an unusual structure. This crop belongs to the Asparagus family. For the characteristic inflorescence, this flower is often called the pineapple lily. The genus includes 14 species, but only four of them are used in ornamental gardening. The plant is very thermophilic, needs an abundance of sun and frequent watering.
Leaf plates are elongated, lanceolate, glossy, bright green, with straight or wavy edges. Enclosed in a lush basal rosette. Peduncles cylindrical, 1 m long.
Inflorescences – brushes up to 35 cm long , consist of spike-shaped flowers of greenish, white, less often pink, lilac and purple color. Flowering is undulating, lasts for 2 – 2.5 months. The fruit is a round, slightly flattened capsule with three ribs. Seeds are oval, dark brown.
Eucomis punctata ( Eucomis punctata ). Very beautiful view with large long linear leaves of dark green color. There are brown spots on the lower part of the foliage. The surface of the leaf plates is smooth, glossy. The inflorescences are loose, spike-shaped, consist of many small flowers of a pale green hue.
Eucomis bicolor ( Eucomis bicolor ). Lush spike-shaped inflorescences are formed on peduncles, the length of which reaches about half a meter. The flowers are small, pale green, with lilac bracts. The fruits are burgundy, with three faces.
Wavy Eucomis ( Eucomis undulata ). One of the most interesting external varieties. It is a lush bush with large, belt-like, wavy leaves along the edge of a rich green color. Leaf plates are enclosed in a sprawling basal rosette. Inflorescences in the form of a brush consist of 60 – 70 green flowers.
Autumn Eucomis ( Eucomis autumnalis ). A variety with shorter peduncles than those described above. Inflorescence – a loose brush includes a large number of snow-white or creamy-white flowers. The plant is highly resistant to frost, so it can be grown outdoors without the threat of damage in harsh winters.
Eucomis crested (Eucomis comosa) . A variety common in the gardens of domestic gardeners. The bush reaches 1 m in height. It consists of a straight purple-green stem, on which a spike-shaped inflorescence 40 cm long develops. The flowers are small, they can be pale pink, lilac, green, less often white.
Red stemmed eucomis ( Eucomis purpureicaulis ). This species is distinguished by spatulate leaves of a rich green color. The stem is purple or burgundy. Bracts are reddish.
These photos illustrate the description of the flowers of eukomis of various types:
This culture is propagated by seed and vegetative method. In the second case, the plant retains all the varietal characteristics of the parent specimen. During the whole season, bulbs form in eukomis.
They are separated during the dormant period of the flower, using a clean, well-sharpened knife. Places of cuts are treated with charcoal. The resulting planting material is immediately planted in a permanent place in the garden.
Having decided to use the seed method of reproduction, freshly harvested seeds are taken. The seed is planted in a container with a substrate, moistened with a spray gun, then covered with a film.
Sprouts will appear in 1 – 1.5 months, provided that the shelter is removed daily for ventilation. As the soil dries out, watering should be carried out. Flowering of grown plants can be observed the next year.
One of the proven ways to obtain new specimens of eukomis is propagation by leaf cuttings. At the very base of the plant, a healthy intact leaf is cut off, cut into pieces so that the dimensions of each of them are 4–6 cm. The prepared planting material is buried in a peat-sand mixture.
Landings are covered with polyethylene and cleaned in a warm room with a temperature of 19 – 21 degrees. Air at least 1 time in 5 – 7 days, water as the substrate dries. After 2 months, the cuttings should have bulbs, which are carefully separated and transplanted into separate pots with soil, where they will grow to the desired size.
Planting bulbs on the site is carried out with the onset of warm spring days. The threat of a return of frost must be left behind. In regions with an early arrival of spring, this work is carried out in early May, in central Russia – in the first days of June. With prolonged cold spring weather, the bulbs are germinated in pots, and planted in open ground in early summer.
For growing eukomis, places slightly shaded from sunlight, protected from drafts, are chosen. The soil should be loose, well permeable to oxygen to the roots, saturated with nutrients.
It is recommended to add humus to the soil. To improve the friability of the substrate, you need to dig it up and add river sand or small stones. The bulbs are buried in the holes by 2.5 cm. The distance between them should be 15 – 20 cm.
- Watering. After planting, water the bulbs sparingly. As the flower begins to grow, watering volumes can be increased. After water procedures, it is necessary to loosen the soil around the plant, remove weeds. Also, this work should be carried out after rain. At the end of flowering, watering should be gradually reduced to a minimum. After the leaves turn yellow, water procedures are not required at all.
- Topdressing. In order for the plant to form flowers magnificently and for a long time, careful care is required: after planting, eukomis must be fed at least 2 times a month with an interval of 15 to 20 days. Apply fertilizer throughout the growing season and once after flowering, so that the bush regains strength. Liquid mineral complexes with a low nitrogen content are suitable as top dressing. This element is harmful to this culture.
- Transfer. Due to the fact that eukomis does not tolerate frost, it will need to be transplanted annually. Before the onset of cold weather, the bulbs are dug out of the ground and stored in a dry place with a temperature of 1 – 7 degrees. With the onset of warm spring days, they are again planted on the site.
- Preparing for the winter. In order for the flower to successfully winter, it is necessary to carry out work to prepare for the cold season. At the end of flowering, flower stalks are removed, while the foliage is not touched until it fades. This is necessary in order for the plant to continue to receive valuable substances. When the leaf plates become shriveled, the bulbs will go into a dormant stage. In those regions where the air temperature in winter does not drop to negative levels, you can not dig up the bulbs. It is enough to sprinkle them with a layer of mulch in the form of dry foliage. In areas with cold winters, the bulbs are removed from the soil, cleaned from the ground, and placed in cloth or paper bags. Store in cool conditions. Some flower growers plant bulbs in containers with soil and keep them in a room, taking care of them in the form of watering until spring.
Most often, when breeding eukomis, the owners of this flower are faced with such a problem as rotting of the bulbs. The reason for this is excessive watering during the growing season, as a result of which moisture stagnates in the soil.
Another reason for rotting is improper storage of the bulbs. If they began to rot, it is necessary to treat with a fungicide solution, or with a copper-containing preparation. Repeat work after 10 days, then after 2 weeks.
Among the insects that infect this culture, mealybugs, aphids, and whiteflies are distinguished. It is noteworthy that aphids can attack a flower both when bred on the street and in an apartment.
Other pests settle on the plant only when it is grown in a room. To eliminate harmful insects, insectoacaricides are used, for example, the time-tested and effective Aktara drug.
Application in the garden
Eukomis will become a bright accent of any garden plot. He copes well with the role of a tapeworm, because he has long expressive peduncles and a clear shape. Also, the plant can be used in group plantings in combination with any annual ground covers, gerberas and coniferous crops.
Compositions made up of two or three varieties of eukomis look very unusual and impressive. It is also suitable for creating rocky gardens, as its expressive greenery looks very advantageous against the backdrop of large boulders.
Harmonious neighbors for this flower are geyhera, lobelia, alyssums, marigolds, carnations, arabis, thyme, young. Due to the fact that the leaves of eukomis are also of decorative value, the plant decorates the flower garden even after it has faded.
Some varieties of eukomis are grown in flowerpots and large pots.