These charming little flowers are called Pineapple Lilies and they add just the right amount of whimsey and fun to the late summer garden.
Of course, they’re not really lilies (although distantly related) and, shockingly, not really pineapples. Their Latin name is Eucomis, a South African native that are hardy to Zone 7. Here in my Zone 5 garden, I keep them in pots which I bring inside every fall and set outside again by the back step in late May.
You can find Eucomis bulbs in many good spring bulb catalogs or sometimes at better garden centers, usually fairly inexpensive (although there are some fancy ones that can get pricey). I found the purple pineapple lilies at the grocery store florist for heavens sake! It was after a holiday and were in the sale cart, a bit past full bloom, but I knew they would be just fine the next year (A tip: don’t bother buying forced tulip bulbs after they’ve bloomed no matter how cheap; they are unlikely to ever bloom again since forcing them takes too much out of them. Daffodils are a better buy.)
Except for splashing water on them when I’m watering my other containers, they get no special treatment. They return year after year, slowly multiplying in numbers. They’re easy to divide, usually blooming the following year.
A couple years ago I noticed that the flowers had produced seeds (which, duh) and decided to try planting some. Sure enough, I soon had a bunch of tiny pineapple lilies.