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Agapanthus (Lily-of-the-Nile)

The South African genus Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile) is well-known for being a great summer-flowering, butterfly-attracting perennial in warm climates. Agapanthus flowers can range from dark purple to light blue to white. Learn how to grow agapanthus.

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More Information About Agapanthus

Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile) is a South African, bulb producing amaryllid genus well-known for being a great summer-flowering, butterfly-attracting perennial in warm climates. Our goal is to find cold-hardy agapanthus plants to expand their use as garden perennials far, we have trialed 93 different agapanthus plants. We've killed several, found others that don't flower in cold climates, and discovered a special few agapanthus that have been extraordinary garden performers in our Zone 7b climate.

Plant Delights currently offers the best agapanthus bulbs from our cold trials for both perennial gardens and summer color bowls. Agapanthus grows into clumps of strappy leaves which are topped in summer with large, exotic, spherical flower heads atop spikes that range from 8" tall to 3' or taller. Agapanthus flowers can range from dark purple to steel blue to white, including a few bicolor agapanthus being the most popular.

How to Grow Agapanthus Plants

Siting & Uses: They are tough, low-maintenance, easy-to-grow plants which makes them perfect for most gardens. They are also heat, drought, and salt tolerant and do well in coastal gardens and Mediterranean climates. Agapanthus also works well in containers and they make great cut flowers.

Sun: You'll need full sun in order to get a good crop of flowers.

Water: Although agapanthus plants are drought-tolerant, they flower much better when the soil is kept moist during the summer months and into early autumn. Too much water during the winter will rot them.

Soil: Well-drained soils are needed to prevent root rot. Most agapanthus do not care what the pH is. (Except A. africanus which prefers acid).

Fertilizer: You'll get the best flower displays if you fertilize well in the spring and early summer.

Wildlife: Agapanthus are great at attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to the garden.

When to Plant: Spring or Fall. Plant the bulbs at least 2" deep...deeper if you are pushing the cold tolerance of the plant.

Clean up: Spent flower heads should be deadheaded to promote the formation of new buds and also to prevent seeding around which is a problem in milder climates like England or New Zealand. After the first few frosts you can remove the dead leaves to make things look tidy.

Winter Care: Some gardeners like to provide a winter cover of mulch, hay, etc., as a blanket to protect against winter cold and minimize winter damage.

Pests: Few. You may notice winter cold damage in the spring. Streaky leaves or flowers are a sign of a virus. The plant will need to be discarded to prevent it spreading.

My Agapanthus does not bloom well. What do I do?: Your plant needs one or more of the following: More sun, More water, Re-potting into a larger pot. Or it may have been recently divided and is still filling out. A newly planted Agapanthus may take 2-3 years before flowering at its peak.