Tugela Ruby Pineapple Lily

Last year on our trip to the Campania showroom we took a field trip to Terrain, an amazing and expansive garden center.  There was a striking display of Eucomis Pineapple Lilies that I fell in love with.  I knew that it would be impossible to carry the plant back with me on the plane, along with all the other carry-on items and purchases, so I left them behind and took with me the knowledge that I would find one in Oklahoma.  When the Bustani Plant Farm’s fall catalog came out there was an entire article on Pineapple Lilies saying that they would have several varieties in the spring!

The first spring date they were open I was ready to make that drive to Stillwater to get my lily.  Alas, it was also my son’s school piano performance (where he played Kuhlau’s sonatina #2 in G major), so I had to wait one more day.  Early the next day we were on the road to make our purchases.

The Bustani Plant Farm is so much fun; it is easy to get overwhelmed and over buy.  My goal was the Eucomis; I would take ANYone, but I wanted the Tugela Ruby.  I thought that they would surely be sold out because I wanted it so much.  Each year there is always a plant that I obsess over.  In years past I have wanted a ginkgo tree, a paddle plant, and bee balm that I perennially kill.  I excitedly looked around—they had loads of lilies!  I got my single Tugela Ruby Eucomis Pineapple Lily after waiting eight months.

With the fear of last year’s awful hail storm, every storm that came through the city I would dash outside and bring my precious lily in.  Last year my paddle plant survived the hail, but sustained major leaf damage.  The one big hail storm we had this spring, I was outside and made a dash to try to move my car to safety and forgot my lily; one leaf took a hit.  On our buying trips I worried that its tiny pot would dry out in the 100 degree temperature; with the help of my son’s watering and the few rain storms we had, it survived.

When I first brought my lily home, there were just a few strap-like leaves.  I watched as it developed a small growth in its center.  Fairly quickly a tall shoot sprouted, about a foot and a half, with a top that resembled a pineapple.  Lots of tiny star-shaped flowers came up along the shoot in a pretty pink hue; but I was most excited about the tiny yellow accents on the flowers, almost like fiber optic lighting!

Several days ago I noticed what I thought would be a second shoot and more flowers, but take a look.  I think that this could be secondary plant growth.  If another shoot comes up, I will take pictures and show the amazing progression.  I highly recommend these South African zone 8 plants!  Christy


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