Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Tiny Piny" dwarf Pineapple Lilies

Terrific new varieties!  New shorter-growing Pineapple Lilies from New Zealand are coming into the USA this spring. This is the first year of introduction in North America and B&D Lilies is pleased to be able to offer four clones suitable for the garden or for smaller containers.  (Photo shows a standard sized cultivar in back for comparison.) Plants were bred from Eucomis zambesiaca hybrids and were chosen specifically to be shorter growing plus have beautiful colors.

Standard size - 'Katie'
Part of the intrigue of Eucomis is the little tuft of leaves on top of the blooming stalk, such as in this picture of 'Katie', a full size cultivar, which gives them their common name "Pineapple Lily".  Leaves are fleshy like a succulent, but sometimes have quite pronounced wavy-edged leaves that may even have an outline of pink for contrast.  Stems might be pink, brown or tan - with some species sporting large spots or mottled markings.

'Tiny Piny Coral'

Individual florets which make up the flowering stem open from the bottom up, like the stem shown in the front in this photo of 'Tiny Piny Coral'.  When all of the stem's individual flowers are open and have been pollinated by bees or other insects, the lower buds begin to set seed pods (or "berries") with large black seeds within.

'Tiny Piny Ruby'

Deep colors are very popular right now, both for true lilies and also Eucomis.  Most of the varieties with dark color foliage are very dramatic when they first emerge ('Tugela Ruby' and 'Sparkling Burgundy' for instance) but as the flowers begin to open the foliage lightens to green with just a hint of pink, somewhat losing the startling impact in your garden.  A compromise might be to simply use darker pink/reds so the color in your garden will stay more consistent.  Darker colored flowers also tend to have darker colored seedpods as well.

'Tiny Piny Opal'

'Tiny Piny Opal'  has an unique twist in that the flowers dramatically change color as the buds open fully and mature.

These new shorter growing plants generally only reach 8 to 10 inches in height with a spread of about 12 to 14 inches and so are perfect for diminutive gardens or small patios in full sun. 

Planting:  Cover the “Tiny Piny” Eucomis bulbs with an inch  of soil and keep on the dry side until top growth appears, then move into bright light and begin watering regularly. Keep soil slightly moist, not soggy to avoid rot. Use FRESH potting soil each year for best results. We have found that the high-nitrogen soil mixes sold in most “box stores” are not found pleasing to Eucomis and recommend you avoid them. The excess nitrogen tends to rot the bulbs. The soil product ‘Black-Gold’ has been very much to their liking here on the farm. Use a very low nitrogen fertilizer or mild balanced formula as you would for cactus.

Want to know more about growing Eucomis?   

We did a posting recently about Pineapple Lilies for late bloom have REALLY long-lasting flowers and Easy Steps Using Pineapple Lilies (Eucomis) in a Floral Arrangement using the standard height cultivars.  The new dwarf cultivars are too short for floral arrangements of any size, but make terrific container plants that stay in bloom just as long as their garden-planted, taller siblings.


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