Gardening Q&A: my pineapple lily isn't flowering - what is wrong?

Horticultural advice from the experts at the RHS
Question: I am keen to grow the pineapple lily and planted a Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ bulb this spring in a pot. I've been rewarded with wonderful two-foot reddish brown leaves but no sign of a flower. What has gone wrong?

Answer: Bulbs have such promise, it’s disappointing when flowers don’t arrive. It is only their first year of planting the bulb may need to be slightly larger to reach flowering size, so this season, it may just be establishing itself. Eucomis like to be planted deeply – 15cm in rich soil, so a John Innes Number 3 compost with added sharp sand would be ideal.

Another possible reason for the lack of flowering performance may be that the compost dried out at a critical time in the plants’ growth. Containers are always more stressful for plants and they are more prone to frost damage. Overwinter in a cool, but frost-free position. For easier maintenance, unless your garden is in a frost pocket, plant your Eucomis out in the garden in a sunny well-drained position. Fingers crossed for flowers next summer and autumn.

Send your questions for the RHS to:

Only a few questions per month can be answered. For further advice on handling problems in your garden, visit

Follow us on Twitter @HomesProperty and Facebook