How to grow Agapanthus
Showy flowers in shades of blue, purple and sometimes white or pink Agapanthus flower for a long period, mid-
summer to early autumn A good border plant.
Suitable for containers Thrives in sun Plant in spring, from the end of March into April
Some agapanthus are evergreen
There’s a lot of variety in agapanthus so, when selecting the right one for you, it helps to bear in mind the following
Agapanthus range in height, some are quite small 20-60cm (8in-2ft); while others can grow up to 1.5 m (5ft).
Use the shorter ones at the front of the border, taller ones to the middle of the border. All sizes can be grown in
Flower colour is key. There are inky blues, pale sapphires, purples and whites.
Choose a shade that you like and works with the plants you plan to put it next to
Deciduous types which loose their leaves are the toughest, hardest agapanthus. However, some agapanthus are
tender (mainly the evergreen types) and these are best overwintered in a cool greenhouse.
Flowers are mainly rounded with trumpet shape.
The more unusual agapanthus have pendant blooms in rounded flower heads
Go for agapthaus that have recieved the RHS Award of Garden Merit as these have been tested and perform well in
average garden conditions
Evergreen or deciduous?
The agapanthus’ other common name, Lily of the Nile, is misleading for they don’t grow near the River Nile. All the
species are found in South Africa and some are evergreen (Agapanthus africanus and Agapanthus praecox) and
others deciduous, depending on which side of the Cape they grow on.
The Eastern side of the Cape has a wet summer season lasting four months, between November and February,
when rainfall averages 5 inches per month (125m). The winters, between May and August, are dry and cool
however. As a result agapanthus species found on the eastern side of the Cape tend to do their growing in the
summer and then die down in winter. This deciduous habit makes them hardier than the evergreen agapanthus.
The western Cape has a Mediterranean climate with moist damp winters, between May and August, followed by a
dry summer between November and January. Agapanthus species on the western side grow in winter when
moisture and warmth is available so they like to keep their foliage in winter, but are not generally as hardy as the
The other thing to be aware of is that native agapanthus experience abundant rainfall in one season of the year,
whether deciduous or evergreen, and this promotes growth. In other words they are thirsty plants so British
gardeners need to water agapanthus well during between April and August, especially if they are in pots. The myth
that agapanthus do well if you neglect them and starve them is entirely wrong. They respond to both water and food
and a liquid high-potash tomato food applied every two weeks will pay dividends.
How and where to plant Agapanthus
Agapanthus can be planted at any time during the growing season, ideally in spring. Plant reasonably deep to
protect the plant from frost. If planting Agapanthus in a container leave room for a winter mulch to protect the plant.
All Agapanthus both deciduous or evergreen varieties will survive a winter best planted in soil which is not too wet
and if waterlogged the plants will suffer. For this reason, if your garden is on the wet side the advice is to plant
Agapanthus in containers. Given that Agapanthus do better with some root restriction, if planting into a container,
select a container which is not too large in relation to the side of the plant.
Agapanthus look good in containers as they are tall plant which sit well above the container and add style to a patio
and are an ideal balcony plant. Agapanthus will flower well without feeding, it is more about the right growing
conditions. That said, in many areas of the UK growing conditions are not always ideal and a feed (high potash to
aid flowering, such as Tomato feed,) can only help things along.
The ideal growing conditions for Agapanthus is to be in a sheltered spot in full sun with good soil, which is not too
dry and drains well. Even though Agapanthus like moisture retentive soil, perversely they will establish well in
containers. If grown permanently in containers it is advisable to divide and re plant in fresh compost every few
years. All Agapanthus like sun they originate from warm climates in South Africa.
Agapanthus africanus ‘Twister’
Agapanthus White Heaven
Agapanthus ‘Northern Star’
Scientific Name :
Common Name :
African Lily, Lily of the Nile
Blooming Season :
Plant Habit :
Sun or Part Shade
40 inches (100cms)
Agapanthus Royal Velvet