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Eucomis Dark Star

Eucomis Dark Star

Eucomis 'Dark Star'

Item # 35590

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Eucomis, a member of the Asparagaceae family, is commonly known as Pineapple Flower, Pineapple Plant, or Pineapple Lily, all because of the beautiful form of its flower spikes. These spikes bear a striking resemblance to a pineapple, with football-shaped bodies packed with buds and a tuft of sword-shaped foliage at the top. The pineapple-like raceme is a distinctive and beautiful feature for months, from bud to seed, but it reaches the height of its beauty when it blooms in August and September, opening colorful little blooms to the world.

'Dark Star' blooms with hypnotic burgundy flowers on a hardy and dependable dwarf body--but that is not even its main feature! Unlike most Eucomis, where the flower spike is the focus, with 'Dark Star' the leaves are such a distinctive burgundy-black that they get all the attention! The fleshy, sword-shaped leaves come on a purple so deep it is practically black, then lighten as they mature, eventually becoming a burgundy color spotted and striated with green. The margins of these leaves are wavy and rippled, with some leaves more intensely rumpled than others. The longer you look at this plant, the more there is to see! All the different colors and ripple patterns make each leaf look slightly different than any of the others!

This South African Native has a reputation for being tender, but careful breeding has made it hardy from zones 6 to 10. With the proper care this exotic beauty can not only survive, but thrive in most of the US. At just 14 inches wide and 9 inches tall, this Pineapple Lily is an excellent candidate for a container plant. You don't need a particularly deep pot for Eucomis--wide and shallow is actually better. With your Eucomis potted you can easily bring it inside to overwinter. Eucomis go into dormancy from November through March, during which time they require no light and almost-no water. This makes it very easy to simply tuck them away in a closet, garage, or cold greenhouse until the weather perks up again. Alternately, you can plant them in a bed or a border. With a warmer climate and a good mulching they can survive in the ground, and in colder climates it is relatively easy to dig the dormant plants back up and overwinter them indoors.

After a dormant winter, the erect, fleshy leaves spring back more vigorous than ever. The sword-like leaves quickly form their dense clump, and soon the flower stalk will rise once again to put out its trademark raceme of flower pods crowned with little leaves. What a miraculous rebirth!

Plant 'Dark Star' in part to full sun in a place with good drainage--either use a container or put a little sand in the hole before planting. This Eucomis is not too picky about soil composition and has fairly low water needs: let it dry out moderately between waterings. Zones 6 to 10.

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