1 Free seed + 6 years = 7 Attaboys

Some people say that seed starting is complicated or that it requires way too much patience but I’m going to disagree.  Patience is waiting for a 5 year old to tie their own shoes when you’re already late.  If you can make it through that without any permanent blood pressure spikes, you can start a seed.  It’s as simple as kindergarten math… assuming you’re not dealing with Common Core of course…

Six years ago I received some Eucomis seed from author Nancy Ondra.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, Nancy is the author of several excellent gardening books and also the force behind an amazing Pennsylvania garden showcased on her Hayefield blog, and the seed was part of an annual giveaway of curious and exotic seeds she had collected throughout the growing season.  Her act of generosity resulted in one tiny Eucomis seedling sprouting and then surviving years of on and off neglect to finally reach a size large enough to bloom.  I think it’s pretty cool.

eucomis Oakhurst seedling

A Eucomis seedling grown from a seed off Eucomis ‘Oakhurst’.  I believe that gives it the fancy name of Eucomis comosa ex Oakhurst…. I think.

Sure I could have just bought one along the way and saved a bunch of time but it’s not like I spent every day wishing it would grow just a little bit faster, you just enjoy it for what it is.  It’s not patience at all, it’s you looking forward to every spring when it sprouts up even bigger than the year before and then you every fall digging the bulb to see just how much more plump it’s become.  It sure doesn’t hurt that the dark leaves make for a very nice foliage accent in my summer planters.

eucomis Oakhurst seedling

Eucomis are also referred to as pineapple lilies.  They’ve got the same leafy bottom  plus the pineapple shaped flower which sprouts up is topped by a tuft of leaves, just like a real pineapple.

So thanks for the seeds Nan and now I’m off to the next pineapple lily adventure.  I hear they’re one of those odd plants which grow easily from leaf cuttings.  Just cut off a leaf, stick it in some soil, and new plant!  I’ll have to wait until next summer for the best chances but it sounds like I’ve got something to keep me entertained until 2022 😉

18 comments on “1 Free seed + 6 years = 7 Attaboys

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    What an achievement (both with the Eucomis and teaching your kindergartener to tie shoelaces)! It’s beautiful!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Eliza. I think in the end the kindergartener taught herself, since my shoe tying patience ran out way before she was showing progress. She likes having things done for her and now that she’s older it’s a constant struggle to get her to pour her own drinks and clean up her own things. She’s either lazy or much more sly than we give her credit for!

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You must have the patience of a saint. This is a beauty, well worth the wait.

  3. Indie says:

    Beautiful! That is a long wait. I grow a lot from seed, but thankfully most of my perennials will bloom at least by the second year!

    • bittster says:

      As long as you’re already starting seeds it’s so easy to throw a few three or four year seeds in there as well. You’ll be so distracted by all the fast growers you won’t even notice it took five years for your lily seeds to bloom!

  4. Maybe I should get a five-year-old to help me learn patience!

  5. Peter/Outlaw says:

    A beautiful reward for your patience!

  6. Cathy says:

    Congratulations on your first homegrown Eucomis! I have definitely not got enough patience for anything that takes so long to flower, but it is rather pretty. 😉

    • bittster says:

      People give me far too much credit for my patience. I used to have tons of it as a youth but as I get older it’s evaporated… almost completely. Fortunately my kids have a ton of patience with me. They just sit there with blank looks as I go on and on yelling about why I shouldn’t ask them again and again to do the same things and why I’m constantly picking up after them. They really do let me go on.

  7. Lisa Rest says:

    Wow that is amazing, isn’t it, to plant a seed and have something like the Eucomis come up (no mistaking it either). I’m sometimes amazed by what seems to plant itself in my yard, but even more so by things coming up years later after I’ve forgotten I ever planted them. The started plants are great for feeling proactive, but I guess I like the mystery of seeds even better.

    • bittster says:

      I was thinking nearly the same thing this weekend. Something flowered which I’d forgotten all about and if it weren’t for the buried label I’d really have thought I’m losing it. On top of that I had a few surprise seedlings turn up which I know I didn’t bring in. Good to know there must be some other gardens or wild spots around which are sending the seeds out, I’m tired of all the invasive weeds which normally show up!

  8. Best definition of patience I’ve read yet. What about seeds that take two cold periods to germinate? I’ve yet to successfully grow colchicum from seed. Someone must be able to do it, otherwise how are all these hybrids coming to market?

    • bittster says:

      I’ve wondered the same thing! I used to collect colchicum seed and donate it but was afraid I was just spreading disappointment. Maybe it’s time to collect a few for myself and see about getting them sprouted. Like you said, someone must be managing it!
      I wonder if I can cross a few this fall…

  9. hb says:

    Well done! It’s a very good looking Eucomis, too.

    I’m hoping a no longer tiny deciduous Agapanthus will bloom someday. It’s only been three years. The proverbial five year old may be in college by then.

    • bittster says:

      Haha, my Eucomis was practically a weed compared to your agapanthus. They are a little more difficult to convince to flower around here, often they just multiply and multiply but no blooms.
      I do have a “hardy” agapanthus planted this spring which promises to flower. I’m astonished to say the least but hopefully this won’t be the first and last time!

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