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Hi all, I've had a lovely gift of three 18cm dia Eucomis bulbs, and l need some advice on what to do with them. The planting information given on the pack is minimal. Planting depth says 15 cm deep, does that mean base of bulb that deep or bulb tip. Soil type, I've got John Innis No3, would that be preferable to MPC, l can add grit  for extra drainage. Would all three bulbs be able to share a 45 cm pot and have enough space to thrive. I've not seen these plants in the flesh so have no idea how leafy or tall they can become. Sorry if questions seem to have obvious answers, but they were from a good pal and l don't want to do the wrong thing with them, so thought I'd ask you guys with experience of them. 😀


Planting depth for bulbs is usually around three times the depth of the bulb, so if the bulb is 2" /5cm deep, it needs a 6" /15cm hole, with about 4"/10cm soil above it. It's not an exact science though, just an approximation, so don't worry too much. 

A gritty mix for them. Use a soil based compost if you want to keep them in pots long term, but if not, any MPC will do. They should be fine together in a pot that size, but as they grow, you can pot them individually. They're really striking plants, but not totally hardy, so it depends whereabouts you are as to what you do for overwintering them   

Are you sure you mean 18 cm diameter for the bulbs - that's massive! 

Last edited: 18 February 2017 11:33:32

Oh what a numpty l am, try 18cm circumference, sorry late night. I'm in Devon, but at the bottom of a valley so a bit of a frost pocket even though back garden is south facing. I'll over winter them in the spare room. I think I'll mix JI and MPC with grit and then renew the soil yearly in early spring.😁 


You can leave them outside, tucked against a wall for protection, and fleeced in severe spells, or put them in a cold frame or similar, if you have one.  They don't really need more than that. It's wet that's more of an issue. 

18cm bulb would probably need a 45cm pot to itself   

If you do  a little search, you'll get some images of them, and that'll give you an idea of what to expect when they grow  

I don't have any spare wall to tuck them against, l have a lot of agapanthus tucked in snuggly. I've a small plastic greenhouse, l could maybe fit them in there for the winter. We get a lot of rain down here. Thanks for the advice Fairy girl. 



Excess rain/wet conditions are the real problem for them so a bit of shelter should be fine. If your Agapanthus are ok, I'd reckon the Eucomis will be too.

I couldn't keep mine alive up here over winter in a previous garden, as I had nowhere suitable to put them at the time, and didn't realise I could have tucked them somewhere against a wall with a bit of protection round them  

I've considered getting some for my new border though - against a new house wall, facing south, and in a nice gritty mix. We live and learn....  

Fairy, l think you should go for it and buy yourself some. How lucky you are to have a new border to plan and plant. I need to have a good lift and divide this year, pot some plants up for a charity plant sale l support. Make a bit of space for the annuals l can't resist growing.


Not sure about lucky lily - I have less time for it now! New extension done last spring, so I still have quite a bit of reshuffling and constructing to do, but the bulk is done.

Glad I did most of the garden when I moved in four years ago and I wasn't working so many hours. 

The new bed is for 'hotter' planting and I'm experimenting a bit with it. Some plants are in and I'm growing some from seed. Some to buy as well, and they will be a mix of tried and tested ones I've grown before, and a few new ones. 

Just as well I'm working more hours to pay for it really....

Do you mean hotter as in tropical plants, or hotter as in bold, bright colours. I had a thing last year for deep orange flowers, planted with lots of blues and bright deep pinks. I loved it and so did folks passing by.


Hotter as in colours, yes. Heat is something we don't get a lot of up here! 

I love orange, which many people don't, and I like to team it with purples, which I use right through the garden, with white, cream and simple cool greens. The bed will be slightly clashing colours, but mainly orange, deep reds, purply/reds, and a bit of cerise. 

I have several eucomis Sparkling Burgundy. never a problem and free from pest/slug problems, touch wood.  

here they are as hardy as most anything else.  Ok, "tropical" Cornwall some may say.  No, hardly that But I do leave them outside all year.

they build up quite rapidly so I pull the bulbs apart and pot them up or plant them out.  I make sure at least the bulb size of compost above them.

used to think they were tender so potted them...individually....for the winter and planted out again in spring.  I now realise they are much tougher.

I grow mainly for the foliage shape and colour....the flowers less they make fine contrast to blue grasses, yellow foliage etc.

in colder areas lift in autumn and pot can plunge pots in the ground.....and cover with a cloche, sheet of glass or fleece. Plant anywhere in spring where soil is free draining and gets full sun.  the occasional dollop of water during a dry spell helps with their lush appearance

lilysilly, a 45 cm pot is fine for 3 this year.  Next year pot them individually.  A john innes compost for stability and moisture retention.  Your plastic greenhouse is fine.  Keep dry from November on.  I would plant outside in April but pot up and keep inside until then.

there is now another red eucomis available (forget the name right now) ....Paddocks stock them I think.  I am so tempted 

That new eucomis?  Dark Star.  Looks stunning 

Fairy, your flower colours sound gorgeous, right up my street. My bright borders on in my front garden, lining the path. I love how cheery it looks. The back garden is softer, mainly pinks, blues, purples, whites and soft yellows. I didn't like orange flowers at all for a long while. I think it was because of my loathing of marigolds that we had in my childhood garden, couldn't stand the smell at all. Then l fell for geum Totally Tangerine, and the Lady Emma Hamilton rose , and l was converted.

Verdun, thanks for the information about Eucomis, I'm glad to know from you and Fairy it's a bit tougher than l thought. That Eucomis Dark Star is fabulous, quite of another planet if you know what l mean . Go on buy yourself some, then show us your pictures. Ooh whilst your here Verdun, how do l start my salvia guanajuato back into growth. I've had it potted up, but kept dry in the spare room all winter, should l trim off the old stems and treat as a dahlia, does it re shoot from the base? Cheers.


I certainly wouldn't leave Eucomis in the ground here lily, but my climate and conditions are totally different to that of the south of England.  They'll still be potted if I decide to grow them. 

Good luck with yours.  Nice gritty mix and yours should be fine  

Oh l wouldn't risk them in the ground here Fairy. I even lift my dahlia tubers, can't risk it , we can get a lot of rain, and I've lost a couple to rot in wet winters. Also the slugs are a nightmare, I've found loads already this morning and have had a very satisfying snipping session. My garden seems behind many of you folks up country. E.g. Doves hellebore Tutu is flowering it's pretty little head off and mine is only an inch through the soil. 



Our average annual rainfall is about four feet in the west of Scotland, lily. It's been much drier this winter, but the ground takes a long time to warm up (clay) so many plants are susceptible, even when loads of grit etc is dug in. It's simply too cold and wet for too long a period of time. It doesn't get as hot either (thankfully!) - we have an average of below 20 in summer. Even overnight temps struggle to stay in double figures, so things like tomatoes have  to be grown undercover. Great for raspberry growers! 

We're used to it though. At least we don't usually have to worry about watering.... 


salvia guanajuato is very tender.  More so than other similar varieties like the usual patens.

refrain from watering at all for now.  it will rot if you do.

 I find it to regrow later than most everything else.  it is slow to show signs of growth, could be end of March before you see anything.  at the end of March move it into a light position and as warm as possible.  Shoots or not you can SLIGHTLY water it then

yes, shoots from the  a dahlia......and you can trim off all the stems.  

Patience with it.  Do not rush it.  it will grow vigorously from mid to late spring.  All worth it lilysilly.

actually Dark Star and Sparkling Burgundy will look great with guanajuato in summer 

Cor Fairy four foot rainfall is damp indeed. I've had a look at the met office site and it says where l am the average is 800mm, up to double that on Dartmoor and Exmoor. My soil dried out too quickly last summer, it's a real suntrap in the back garden. So last October l put on a really thick layer of well rotted horse manure. I've been out gardening today and had a tidy up and a gentle fork over, the soil looks so much richer and there were dozens of worms . I tend to water each plant really well and then mulch, often with grass clippings in the hottest part of the summer. I recycle the water used when preparing veg and salads, and have a large water butt system set up, using the hose pipe is always the last option, it can be a pain lugging the watering can around, but then l choose to plant so intensely, and have so many pots. This summer I've decided to not have pots of petunias or the like, l don't have time to dead head properly anymore, and no more hanging baskets to fret over. I'm just going to have my agapanthus on the patio, and pop my home grown annuals in the borders with my permanent planting.

Verdun, thanks for the salvia information. I'll wait a while then . I'm not going to buy the Dark Star Eucomis, until I've seen how well yours do!😉

Ordered Dark Star lily 

Thought you would Verdun, you seem to be tempted by the unusual, special varieties of plants. You must have bought the last in stock from Paddock Plants, no longer available 😔 . Please take a pic or two of the foliage and then the flower spikes for us to marvel over. What are going to plant them beside for dramatic effect?