Eucomis bicolor

5 Aug

Eucomis bicolor flower (16/07/2011, London)

Eucomis bicolor flower (16/07/2011, London)

Position: Full sun 

Soil: Well drained soil

Flowering period: Summer

Eventual Height: 50cm

Eventual Spread: 60cm

Hardiness: 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b

Family: Asparagaceae

Eucomis bicolour is a deciduous, summer flowering, perennial bulb with a semi-erect, tufted habit. Wavy margined, basal, strap-shaped leaves emerge in a rosette around an often purple-spotted erect stem. This stem bears a dense raceme composed of pale green, star shaped, purple edged flowers, which is topped by a cluster of leaf like bracts.

Eucomis bicolour, commonly known as the Two-coloured Pineapple Lily, is native to South Africa and is usually found growing at higher altitudes than other wasp pollinated species of Eucomis.

The etymological root of the binomial name Eucomis is derived from the Latin eu meaning ‘good’ and comosa meaning ‘having many leaves’. Bicolour is derived from the Latin meaning ‘of two colours’.

Eucomis bicolor (16/07/2011, London)

Eucomis bicolor (16/07/2011, London)

The landscape architect may find Eucomis bicolour useful as a low maintenance and relatively frost tolerant plant that can appear tropical in our temperate climate.

Ecologically, Eucomis bicolour is pollinated by members of the Sarcophagidae family of insects, which are attracted to the sulphurous compounds released by the flowers.

The Royal Horticultural society gave Eucomis bicolour their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 2002.

Eucomis bicolour will tolerate almost any soil conditions; it will be happy at neutral, acid or alkaline pH levels, in loam, chalk or sand based soils in a sheltered, south, east or west facing aspect. The RHS recommends that it should be moved to a sheltered location during the winter months when grown in colder parts of the UK, this may be easier don if grown in pots.

Eucomis bicolour requires little maintenance. Dead leaves may be removed in autumn or if the bulbs are being dried out overwinter, the leaves and flower heads may be cut back once they become untidy.

Davis Landscape Architecture

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