Originating from South Africa, Agapanthus is commonly referred to as the Lily of the Nile. This affectionate flower thrives during summer and adores basking in the sun. It serves as an excellent container plant, perfect for your terrace or balcony. There are both evergreen and deciduous varieties available, with this stunningly flowering plant reaching heights of up to 1 meter.
For more insights into the Lily of the Nile, read on!
Is Agapanthus frost-hardy?
When does Agapanthus bloom?
Planting, caring for, and propagating Agapanthus
What types of Agapanthus are there?
Deciduous varieties tolerate some frost and can be planted in borders. Evergreen types, however, are better suited for pots or containers, ensuring their survival in a less cold environment during winter. Therefore, the Lily of the Nile is moderately frost-hardy, unable to withstand severe frost.
Agapanthus in pots can remain outdoors until the first light frost. This prompts the plant to decay its leaves and go dormant. If temperatures drop below -5 degrees Celsius, it’s advisable to move the plant to a shed or cellar where it’s less cold. Try to keep the soil as dry as possible to prevent root rot. The ideal temperature for overwintering the plants is between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.
Deciduous African lilies can be planted in open ground, but when temperatures dip below -5 degrees, protect the plant from frost by covering it with leaves, straw, hay, or pine branches. A layer of plastic beneath the protective covering helps prevent excess moisture, thus reducing the risk of fungi and root rot.
Agapanthus Blooming Period
Agapanthus blooms, displaying flowers in shades of white, blue, or purple, typically during July and August. If you’ve recently acquired a young plant, like a pot size P9, don’t expect a profusion of flowers in the first year. It often takes a full year for the plant to establish itself, so exercise patience; you’ll likely witness a more abundant blooming the following year. Even after division, the plant might show reduced or no flowers in the immediate subsequent year.
My online research into the toxicity of Lily of the Nile led to an essential clarification: this plant isn’t intended for consumption by humans, children, or animals. While it appears that Agapanthus isn’t inherently toxic, I cannot provide an absolute guarantee. It does feature on various lists as a potentially hazardous plant for cats.
Caring for Agapanthus
As spring arrives and your Agapanthus begins sprouting fresh green shoots, commence its care routine by feeding it fertiliser and watering it once a week. Apply fertiliser once before the blooming season and another time post-blooming. Adequate nourishment is crucial for Lily of the Nile to bloom. Exercise moderation in watering; a weekly watering session suffices. Ensure your Agapanthus resides in a pot with efficient drainage, as it dislikes sitting in excessively damp soil.
Sowing Agapanthus Seeds
Should you decide to sow Agapanthus seeds, do so promptly after seed harvesting. Because the plant isn’t consistent when grown from seeds, anticipate potential variation from the mother plant. However, this unpredictability can bring about delightful surprises! Plant the seeds in a pot or seedbed, allowing ample space for development. Use potting soil with the right moisture level—plant a seed and begin fertilising once the plant starts flourishing.
Agapanthus generally doesn’t require pruning, but you can remove any dead leaves. If the potted Lily of the Nile develops oversized roots, you can divide a segment to create new plants or trim the roots to accommodate the plant better. Alternatively, you may consider replanting it in a larger pot.
Propagating Agapanthus via division is effective, particularly if you wish to maintain a specific variety. After spring or the flowering phase, carefully remove the plant from its pot and separate it into parts, ensuring each segment possesses three growth points. Let them air dry for a day, then individually plant them in potting soil blended with sand to ensure optimal drainage. Whether in a pot or a planting hole for a border setting, dividing your Lily of the Nile every 4 to 6 years allows adequate development time.
Varieties of Agapanthus
Agapanthus species exhibit a rich variety of characteristics, encompassing evergreen and deciduous foliage, an array of flower hues like white, blue, and purple, and varying heights.
Highlighted below are detailed descriptions of some exquisite varieties:
This African Lily boasts spherical blue blooms from July to September. Moderately winter-hardy, it’s best suited for overwintering in frost-free conditions. When in bloom, it stands at a height of 70 to 90 centimetres.
Agapanthus in white: Agapanthus africanus ‘albidus’
A wintergreen variant displaying white spherical flowers blooming through July and August. Thrives best in a sunny location, reaching a height of 70 to 90 centimetres when in bloom. Since this species isn’t winter-hardy, it requires frost-free conditions for overwintering.
Distinct with ‘Amourette’ Blue and ‘Amourette’ White, these variants bloom in blue and white, respectively. These deciduous types aren’t winter-hardy. While light frost protection may suffice in the garden, for potted plants, overwintering in a frost-free environment between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius is advisable. These species reach a height of 40 to 50 centimetres and bloom from June through September.
This evergreen is an easy-to-care-for plant producing large flower clusters. When in bloom, it reaches a height of 100 to 150 centimetres. Available in various white and blue/purple bloom varieties, it can tolerate light frost but should be brought indoors during prolonged frost periods.
A violet-blue flowering variety reaching 60 to 80 centimetres in height when blooming. Thriving in pots or containers, it should be overwintered indoors, frost-free. Its lavish blooming starts in June, continuing through the summer, characterized by a distinctive dark blue stripe on the petals.
Agapanthus ‘Dr Brouwer’
A striking perennial that blooms from July through September, preferring sunny spots in garden borders. Dr Brouwer flaunts blue flowers and reaches about 80 centimetres in height during flowering. This variety sheds its leaves in winter and requires protection from severe frost.
An eye-catching variety with bi-coloured flowers transitioning from blue to vibrant white. Reaching heights between 70 and 100 centimetres while blooming, this deciduous species is moderately winter-hardy. Adequate cover is essential for garden-planted specimens during winter frosts. Potted or container plants should be overwintered in environments with temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.
Exhibiting lilac-purple flowers, the ‘Donau’ blooms between July and September, standing at approximately 80 centimetres in height. For border planting, ensure proper winter protection. If potted, overwintering in a shed is advisable.