5 Tips for Beautiful Agapanthus Flowers
Agapanthus (also known as the African Lily) are flowering herbaceous perennial plants that produce a flourish of vibrant flowers each year, usually in shades of blue but sometimes purple or white. They look best planted in borders, flowerbeds or larger containers. Agapanthus can be a bit of a nightmare to look after. However, the reward is definitely worth the effort!
This guide walks you through some of the common problems that gardeners face growing Agapanthus to help you get truly sensational flowers without any of the headaches.
Varieties of Agapanthus Plants
Being such a popular plant, Agapanthus has several specially cultivated varieties that all grow well in the UK. The most common is the Agapanthus Africanus, which has the most stunning blue drum-headed flowers, but there are also white and violet types available as well.
Deciding which Agapanthus you want will likely come down to a few factors.
- What colour do you want?
- Is it evergreen or deciduous?
- Do you need a hardy type?
Once you have answered these questions you should be able to pick out your Agapanthus from our handy list.
This variety produces blue flowers, is evergreen and isn’t considered a hardy type of agapanthus. The Agapanthus Africanus does have sub-varieties including the Double Diamond which actually has pure white flowers and the ‘Peter Pan’ which has light blue flowers.
The Twister Agapanthus plant produces glorious trumpet-shaped white and purple flowers. It is a deciduous plant that is fully hardy to around -10ºC. Although this Agapanthus plant will drop its leaves in winter, the seed heads remain attractive and can be left in place to provide interest during the colder months.
Agapanthus Silver Baby
With its beautifully delicate white and silver blue blooms, Silver Baby is one of the evergreen varieties of Agapanthus plants and flowers from mid-summer to early autumn. Silver Baby is one of the smaller members of the Agapanthus family and makes an excellent choice for a large patio pot or container.
Agapanthus Star Quality
Another of the deciduous varieties, Star Quality lives up to its name with clusters of small light purple flowers blooming from tall straight stems. This Agapanthus flowers in the warmest months and provides valuable late summer interest to the garden.
How to Plant Agapanthus
5 Tips to Help Your Agapanthus Flower Beautifully
The first thing you need to know about Agapanthus is that they dislike cold weather… a lot. Hardy types will tolerate temperatures as low as -15 degrees but the other varieties won’t tolerate much below freezing. This means our first tip is that you’ll likely need to house the evergreen type in a warm location, such as a greenhouse, during the frosty months of winter and early spring.
The deciduous types will, of course, enter a dormant phase as temperatures fall but be warned; if you have a particularly cold winter, this might kill your Agapanthus.
Our second tip is to plant Agapanthus in the area that gets the most sunlight over the winter months. This will hopefully prevent too much cold damage from affecting your plants.
You will find that if your Agapanthus gets too cold or wet over the winter, it won’t flower in the summer, which can be incredibly frustrating. For this reason, our third tip is to find a sun-kissed area of the garden to plant them that also benefits from a bit of rain shelter. This normally consists of planting near a sun-facing fence and should encourage fresh new growth as well as more flowers.
Our fourth tip is that you don’t need to worry too much about the soil type with Agapanthus. They will happily grow in pretty much any UK soil. The only thing that you should ensure is that they are planted in a well-draining area of the garden in soil that doesn’t retain moisture.
Our fifth and final tip should help prolong the Agapanthus interest period. You can do this by allowing flowers to form seed pods during autumn. When these pods have gone over, cut back your Agapanthus to encourage new growth.
Agapanthus as Indoor Plants
An often-overlooked way of growing Agapanthus is to do so indoors, and it is actually a little bit of a no-brainer as Agapanthus thrives in warm and dry conditions. Container-grown specimens can be moved around to make the most of the full sun streaming in the different windows throughout the year.
There are a few tips to make sure your agapanthus grows well as a houseplant.
Plant Agapanthus in a Larger Pot
Agapanthus has a root network that likes to spread, so starting in a larger pot will prevent the need to re-pot as often, or at all. You shouldn’t need to re-pot Agapanthus if it is in a larger container and don’t worry about it being root-bound either as Agapanthus remains healthy like this also.
If you start with a small or medium container, you will likely need to re-pot a few years into growth. Typically two years for a small pot, and four years for a medium pot. Of course, pot sizes and plant sizes vary, so these are just rough guides.
Agapanthus loves to be bathed in light, especially during its growing seasons. Placing your plant in direct sunlight will promote an impressive show of Agapanthus flowers come summertime. If you have a deciduous Agapanthus, then you will want to keep the plant in a dark, dry, and cool environment over the winter, this ensures it goes into its natural dormant phase.
Remember, the dormant phase is a large predictor of how good the summer bloom is, so the drier and cooler the environment, the more Agapanthus flowers you’ll enjoy.
Evergreen types can be kept in their normal position year-round and will do remarkably well when grown indoors.
Agapanthus likes hot summers and mild winters. Many gardeners move Agapanthus outdoors for the summer months to bask in the glorious sunshine. Evergreen Agapanthus plants are particularly sensitive to colder temperatures so make sure you bring them inside and keep them in a warmer room during the winter. If an evergreen Agapanthus gets too cold, it can die, so be careful.
This is the one that many people get wrong because unfortunately, expert websites tell people to water the Agapanthus regularly without defining what ‘regular’ means. You should ensure that the plant has damp but well-drained soil during the warmer months of spring and summer. Anything more than that will damage the root network and cause ongoing problems with the plant.
A common problem with indoor potted Agapanthus is a lack of area for the water to drain and run off, meaning the plant is often left in sodden soil conditions. If you have no catch tray or drip tray, then it is best to let the soil become dry to touch before re-watering. Surface soil will always dry before the internal soil, so you won’t need to worry about the plant not having enough water.
Agapanthus can require a little more TLC than other plants but the stunning bell-shaped flowers and long thin mid-green leaves make it worth the effort. Planting Agapanthus should only be done after some consideration of situation and conditions, whether out in the garden or inside the home. But once you’ve picked the perfect spot, it is very satisfying to grow Agapanthus and watch these beautiful African Lilies flourish.
Our full Agapanthus range can be viewed here.