A pineapple flower, or pineapple lily, is a decorative perennial flowering plant in the hyacinth family. It is usually grown in gardens or kept indoors as a potted plant. The pineapple flower is indigenous to South Africa and generally prefers to grow in warmer regions of the world. It is a bulbous plant, meaning that it is grown from a bulb, and is also herbaceous, meaning that its foliage dies off at the end of its growing season. These plants are best known for their large, showy clusters of flowers whose growing pattern resembles the scaly surface of a pineapple fruit.
The name "pineapple flower" is applied to many different species of plant within the genus Eucomis, including E. autumnalis, E. bicolor, and E. comosa. These plants all have a similar appearance, with the most common difference being the color and blooming period of their flowers. A pineapple flower plant typically grows to a height between 18 and 24 inches (45 and 60 centimeters), and has long, pointed, smooth leaves that are usually a deep green with hints of red or purple coloring. The flowers grow in a globular formation at the top of a long stem, and can be white, cream, green, pink, or purple in color. Flowers can bloom as early as late winter or as late as midsummer, depending on the individual plant species.
Growing and caring for a pineapple flower is relatively simple. Plants grown in an outdoor garden may be started from bulbs, which should be planted during the spring. The pineapple flower may also be grown from seedlings that are started indoors and transferred to an outdoor location or a pot in the late spring. Throughout their lives, the plants will require regular watering, but should also not be over-watered.
These plants generally prefer to grow in full sun conditions. Intense afternoon sunshine can cause them to wilt, however, so the most ideal spot for growing the plants outdoors is one that receives partial shade at midday. Potted indoor plants can simply be moved out of the intense sun to a shadier spot. The pineapple flower also prefers slightly sandy soil, and thrive when planted in a mixture of sand, soil, and compost. Plants grown indoors in pots can sometimes grow quite top-heavy, depending on their species, so the flowering top portion of the plant may need to be propped up on a supportive structure.