Even if the blooming lily is not winter-proof here, it is often cultivated outdoors or in a tub, because this is where the distinctive flowering plant can develop well. The onion flower not only impresses with its shiny, often wavy or dotted foliage, but above all with its magnificent blossom, which looks like a pineapple. This is where the name pineapple flower comes from. Depending on the species, its greenish flower is outlined in red and has a light green tuft of leaves at the top. Flower lilies can only be grown outdoors between spring and autumn.

Short profile

  • botanischer Name: Eucomis
  • other names: pineapple lily, pineapple flower
  • belongs to the asparagus family (Asparagaceae)
  • Height: 40 to 70 cm (sometimes higher)
  • Leaves: Leaf rosette of lanceolate, glossy leaves, partly wavy
  • Flowers: grape-like, light green, often fragrant flowers with tufts of leaves
  • Flowering time: depending on the species in February or from July / August

Species and occurrences

The ten or so species of the blooming lily are native to Africa and grow there in the summer rainy areas at higher altitudes than perennial, herbaceous plants with heights between 6 and 120 centimeters. In the soil they often form large onions with a dark brown layer in which they can store water and nutrients. The lanceolate leaves of the Eucomis are arranged in rosettes and arise close to the ground. The most popular varieties are:

  • Eucomis bicolor: light green leaves with slightly curled edges, flowering in July to August
  • Eucomis comosa: smooth leaf margins, brown spots on the underside of the leaf, dotted flower stem, white flowers (as early as June)
  • Eucomis autumnalis (wavy cape lily): shorter leaves than other species, flowers appear as early as March to April, so it must be potted earlier (from September)
  • Eucomis montana: Height of growth 60 to 80 cm, dotted underside of leaves, pink, unpleasant smelling flowers
  • Eucomis vandermerwei: small-growing variety, up to 30 cm in height, but very intensely colored in a dark red-brown


The flower lily can be found in the garden as an exotic flowering plant. But it is also very suitable for year-round indoor culture, apart from the slightly unpleasant carrion odor of some varieties that the flowers give off. Both indoors and outdoors, the potted lily appreciates a light, airy location without the blazing midday sun.

  • Light requirement: bright, preferably with shade at noon
  • outdoors from mid-May to September
  • can also be cultivated as a houseplant all year round (by 20 degrees)
  • Soil: fertile soil with loam and humus
  • Wind protection necessary

Tip: Suitable companions for the interesting asparagus family are, for example, aloes, agaves or the zantedeschia, which also comes from Africa.


With most species of the blooming lily, the dry, overwintered onion is brought to light at the end of the winter months and slowly poured again in sips. An exception is Eucomis autumnalis, which should be driven as early as September. A slight warmth of the soil is important for the expulsion. The onion doesn’t like it too warm either. Usually about 10 to 15 degrees are sufficient for driving.

  • Time: February to March
  • the bigger the pot, the better the plants can develop
  • a pot with a diameter of 30 cm is enough for about 3 plants
  • Plant spacing: about 10 to 15 cm
  • Substrate: normal standard soil or a mixture of compost and peat
  • Planting depth: about 15 cm
  • set up brightly, without direct sunlight
  • Temperature: 10 to 15 degrees
  • the onion should only be watered very little at first
  • slowly get used to more sun
  • Avoid midday sun
  • Put or plant outdoors from mid-May
  • first harden during the day


After about four years, the potted lily should be repotted in a slightly larger planter. To do this, as much of the old earth as possible is removed and fresh substrate is poured in. It is essential to keep the same planting depth as in the old pot. Suitable substrates are:

  • potting soil mixed with a third of sand
  • Cactus soil mixed with peat
  • high quality potted plant soil

Tip: If the flower lily is cultivated in a pot or bucket, it should be placed on a saucer and not in a planter so that excess water can be easily recognized and poured away.


If the onion is put back into the substrate in spring, it should only be watered a little at the beginning. Since the onion has hardly any roots with which to absorb the water, it would otherwise mold or rot very quickly. It is completely sufficient to slightly moisten the soil once and then wait until the first leaves appear. Since the lily shouldn’t stand too warm anyway so that it sprouts, the evaporation rate is rather low during this time. Only when the pineapple flower has formed the first leaves does it need a little more water. The plant is then watered abundantly over the summer. Waterlogging is to be avoided at all costs. The soil in the pot should only dry out but not dry out over the summer months. As soon as the pretty flower begins to wither, watering is again very cautious.


If the first leaves show up around the beginning of April, you can carefully start fertilizing. Since the pineapple flower grows very quickly and needs a lot of energy and nutrients for this, it makes sense to give it fertilizer twice a month. However, the distinctive plant should only be fertilized with about half the usual dose of fertilizer for flowering plants. From August or at the latest when the flowers begin to wither, fertilizing is completely stopped.

Tip: If repotted annually, no additional fertilization is necessary.


Flower lilies can be propagated both vegetatively and generatively. Both methods are promising and not difficult. However, plants that have been propagated from daughter bulbs will flower faster than plants grown from seeds.

1. Growing bulbs
When repotting or removing them from the ground in autumn, one often notices with older plants that the larger mother onion has formed small bulbs on the side. These so-called daughter onions or brood onions can be carefully peeled off and planted in separate pots. The planting depth is about 5 cm.

2. Seeds
In plants that are outside over the summer, numerous seeds usually form on the fertilized flowers, which can be removed in late summer. This is not always the case with purely houseplants, unless insects have strayed into the apartment or the plant lover has lent a hand with the pollination. At room temperature, the fresh seeds germinate relatively quickly and usually grow without any problems. However, it must be expected that it will take around two to three years for these clover lilies to bloom for the first time.

  • Plant seeds in autumn or the coming spring
  • Substrate: potting soil or cactus soil
  • Planting depth: about 0.5 cm
  • cover with fine sand
  • Germination temperature: 20 – 23 degrees
  • Germination time: 3 to 6 weeks
  • Keep the substrate slightly moist
  • set up brightly, but without direct sunlight
  • Cover the pot with a glass or freezer bag
  • occasionally ventilate


Even if some species are offered as frost hardy, most Eucomis varieties are not really hardy in our latitudes. Some cultivated species can certainly tolerate a little more cold than others, but you can only be on the safe side if you ask how hard the frost is. This is best done in a nursery that cultivates and propagates its own bulbs.

Eucomis spends the winter as a dormant onion. After flowering, the flower lily is only watered cautiously and no longer fertilized until its above-ground parts of the plant dry up. Then, usually around the beginning of October, the dried up parts of the plant are cut off. Be careful not to cut too deep into the juicy onion areas. From now on it will be overwintered in a dark or light place at cool temperatures. The onion can stay in its usual pot and does not, like many other onion plants, have to be taken out of the ground and stored in straw or newspaper. Temperatures between six and nine degrees are ideal. During this rest period, the onion must not be watered or fertilized.

Even pure indoor plants need a rest period in winter. During this time, the plants must by no means be above the warm heater. If you cannot provide a cool spot below 15 degrees in your apartment, you can put it in an unheated cellar or a frost-free garage. Since the pineapple flower does not require any maintenance at this time (fertilizing and watering will be discontinued), dark, remote places are also preferable to the warm living room. However, in spring you should not forget to put the pot back in the light, otherwise unsightly light shoots will form.

Tip: Specimens planted in the garden must be dug up by the end of September at the latest and moved to a frost-free place. This is very easy, because a larger tub with a bit of sand fits several poppy lilies at the same time, as their bulbs are not particularly large.

Diseases and pests

The exotic flower lily is not particularly susceptible to disease or pests. Only aphids are among the recurring parasites that attack the plant. It is best to wash the aphids off the plant with a garden shower. Brown leaf tips appear more frequently, which means neither a disease nor a pest infestation. In most cases, mistakes in care are to be blamed here, because if the plant is not watered enough during the growth phase, this often only manifests itself later in dried-up leaf tips. If you water your pineapple flower too much, you risk root rot. In this case, it is necessary to immediately remove all of the soil, cut off all rotten roots and plant them in fresh substrate. In many cases, however, the plant can unfortunately no longer be saved.


The exotic flower lily is a decidedly seasonal plant, the bulb of which is driven in February. After the leaves have formed, the spectacular flowers, reminiscent of a pineapple, follow in early summer. After that, all the above-ground parts of the plant die and only the bulb overwinters in the substrate in a frost-free place.

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