Agapanthus: outdoor cultivation

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Agapanthus: outdoor cultivation
Agapanthus: outdoor cultivation

Characteristics of the agapanthus plant, how to plant and care in open ground, recommendations for reproduction, pest and disease control during care, interesting notes, species and varieties.

Agapanthus (Agapanthus) belongs to the genus of plants with a perennial growing cycle and included in the Agapanthaceae family. The natural distribution area falls on the territory of the central and southern regions of the African continent, in particular, many species resemble the Cape Province (South Africa). Based on the information provided by The Plant List database from 2013, there are nine species in the genus. They became the basis for breeding work for breeding many beautiful varieties and hybrids.

Family name Agapant
Growing period Perennial
Vegetation form Herbaceous
Breeds Separation of rhizomes, jigging processes, occasionally with the help of seeds
Open ground transplant terms From the second half of May
Landing rules Saplings are placed at a distance of 50 cm from each other
Priming Loose, moisturized and nutritious
Soil acidity values, pH 6, 5-7 (neutral)
Illumination level A place with good lighting or partial shade
Humidity level Watering plentiful and regular
Special care rules It is recommended to apply fertilizers
Height options Up to 1 m
Flowering period July to October
Type of inflorescences or flowers Umbrella inflorescence
Color of flowers Snow white, blue, lilac or bluish-lilac
Fruit type Seed capsule
The timing of fruit ripening Late summer to October
Decorative period Spring-autumn
Application in landscape design Group planting in flower beds and flower beds, for growing flower borders, for cutting
USDA zone 5 and more

Agapanthus got its scientific name due to the fusion of a pair of words in Greek, namely "agapi" and "anthos", which translates as "love" and "flower", respectively. Due to this, the plant is referred to as "flower of love" or "favorite flower", but due to its natural origin, people can hear such a nickname as "African lily", "Nile lily" or "Abyssinian beauty".

All agapanthus species are characterized by a herbaceous form and can be either evergreen or deciduous. Such plants have fleshy rhizomes located shallowly near the surface of the soil. Creeping rhizomes, because of which the bush can grow in width over time. Despite the fact that the "flower of love" is a perennial, but when cultivated in our latitudes, it is grown as an annual or they are engaged in transplanting bushes for the winter period in pots for keeping indoors. Only if the cultivation of the African lily is carried out in the southern regions, then for the winter it is left without digging in the garden.

Agapanthus leaves are distinguished by their density and belt-like outlines with a sharpness at the top. The length of the leaf plate varies in the range of 50–70 cm. A root rosette is formed from the leaves, which decorates the plant even when there is no flowering, since the bush is constantly growing deciduous mass. The growth of the outlet, even in the first year, proceeds rather quickly, forming a colorful bush of the “flower of love”. The color of the leaves is a rich green or dark emerald hue.

The flowering process of the African lily begins in mid-summer and ends in October, but on average it lasts 1, 5-2 months.At the same time, a flower-bearing stem is drawn from the leaf rosette of the agapanthus, which in height can approach meter indicators (on average 50–120 cm). If a specimen of the "Nile lily" is already an adult, then its bush can have up to 100-150 flowers, each attached to its own peduncle. At the tops of the peduncles, umbrella inflorescences are formed from the buds. The diameter of such an inflorescence is 25–40 cm. The buds that make up the inflorescences do not begin to bloom at the same time, which makes the flowering seem rather long.

The length of each flower is about 3-5 cm. In agapanthus flowers, the outline of the corolla resembles a bell, funnel or gramophone with division into lobes at the very top. Usually there are three pairs of lobes, the bases of which are spliced ​​into a tube. The petals can be white, blue, lilac or bluish-lilac. Often in the central part of the petal there is a strip of a more saturated color scheme than the background itself.

After the flowers of the agapanthus are pollinated, they will tie and the fruits, which look like a seed capsule, begin to ripen. It is interesting that during cross-pollination, both natural and artificial formation of hybrid plants with rather colorful inflorescences occurs.

This representative of the flora is not too demanding in care. However, with agapanthus, a problem arises due to the fact that it will not be able to survive our winters even when using a shelter, so you will have to grow it as an summer garden or transplant it every time to save the bush in pots.

Planting and caring for agapanthus in the open field

Agapanthus blooms
  1. Landing place "Abyssinian beauty" in the garden should be well lit, but with protection from drafts, but agapanthus can grow normally in a little shade. It is important that there is enough light for the plant, since a lack of light will lead to stretching and thinning of the stems and possible breakdown of peduncles, and growth will slow down, and there will be no flowering. You should not plant in a place where moisture stagnation from precipitation or melting snow is possible. In case of high soil moisture, it is recommended to build high beds or apply a sufficient drainage layer.
  2. Priming when growing agapanthus, it must be nutritious and usually gardeners are engaged in preparing the soil mixture on their own. To do this, it is recommended to mix leaf and clay-sod substrate, humus and coarse sand in a ratio of 2: 2: 1: 1. But in order to prevent waterlogging of the soil during planting, it is necessary to use drainage, which is taken as a fine fraction of expanded clay, pebbles or crushed stone. In order for the plant to please with its rapid growth and flowering, it is recommended to select the soil with neutral acidity (pH 6, 5-7).
  3. Planting anapanthus in the open field it is carried out only when in the spring, stable warm temperatures are established. Since the root system of the "flower of love" is rather fragile, all manipulations are recommended to be carried out very carefully. If the roots are damaged, the seedling may even die. The planting hole is dug no deeper than 6–8 cm. If agapanthuses are planted in a group, then it is recommended to leave a distance of about half a meter between the seedlings. When the planting holes are ready, the seedlings are carefully removed from the containers (but if the plants are in peat cups, then they can be placed in the hole immediately). The soil around is filled up and slightly compacted. After that, abundant watering is carried out, and the soil around the agapanthus seedling is mulched with peat chips or humus so that its surface does not dry out quickly. By the way, such a layer will inhibit the growth of weeds. If you need to transplant a "flower of love", then this can be done no earlier than three years have passed.
  4. Watering in the process of caring for agapanthus, it should be carried out often and abundantly, since the plant is a real "water bread". This is especially true for dry summers.But it is important not to bring the soil to acidification, so that moisture does not stagnate in it, otherwise this will entail rotting of the root system. However, as soon as the cold autumn season comes, the moistening of the soil is gradually stopped. Spraying the deciduous mass of the "flower of love" is not worth doing, since the plant copes well with low air humidity.
  5. Fertilizers when caring for agapanthus, it must be applied to the ground throughout the growing season twice a month. It is recommended to use both organic and mineral supplements. Well-rotted manure, chicken droppings, mullein or compost can act as organics; complete complexes, like Kemira-Universal or Fertika, are suitable as mineral agents. It is recommended to alternate such fertilizers, applying every 10 days.
  6. Transplant when growing agapanthus, it is recommended not to do it again without special need, since the plant reacts very badly to a change in location, growth may slow down, flowering becomes scarce. Transplanting is recommended only if the bush has grown very much and then it is possible to combine this operation with division. Usually, this should only be done when the “flower of love” is three years old. The new landing is carried out according to the rules of the primary.
  7. Wintering when growing agapanthus in open ground, it is possible if in the region the thermometer in the winter period does not fall below 5 degrees Celsius for deciduous plants and at least 10 degrees Celsius for evergreen species. But even so, the bushes of the "Abyssinian beauty" are recommended to be covered with a layer of dry fallen leaves. In colder areas, it is recommended to transplant shrubs into pots as soon as the temperature drops to +5 degrees. Then the pots are transferred to rooms where they will be kept until spring, waiting for replanting in the garden.
  8. Preparing for wintering indoors. Usually, in our latitudes, when growing agapanthus, the plant should be transferred to rooms. To do this, when the moment has come that under the influence of a strong frost, the entire upper aboveground part of the plant is destroyed (that is, it has withered), then the leaves and stems are cut. The roots of the "flower of love" are carefully removed from the soil and cleaned of soil parts. You can rinse the roots in running water and conduct an inspection. If dry, damaged parts are found on the roots of agapanthus or there are old processes, then they are removed. Then it is recommended to rinse the prepared root system in a weak solution of potassium permanganate and then dry it. After that, all roots are stored in wooden or plastic containers until spring, kept in a cool but dry place, for example, in the basement. Some gardeners place the African lily roots in potato crates where they are kept until spring planting.
  9. General advice on care. When growing agapanthus in the open field, it is recommended to periodically inspect the plantings in order to remove dried leaf plates that spoil the appearance of the plantings and wilted flowers. Also, after rains, you need to regularly gently loosen the substrate.
  10. The use of agapanthus in landscape design. Among other flowering representatives of the garden, the plant occupies one of the important positions, due to its long and lush flowering. Since one bush in itself can contain up to two hundred buds, which will open gradually. At the same time, it can be noted that on any flower bed, both in the garden and in the city park, the "Abyssinian beauty" will look organic. The best solution would be to plant agapanthus alone, that is, to form a group of these plants alone. But if the site allows, hydrangeas and peonies, as well as multi-grates, will look good nearby.

Also, with the help of the "flower of love", you can green the borders, decorate the shores of artificial and natural reservoirs or dwarf varieties, it is possible to distinguish between flower and garden zones.Such plantings of agapanthus around spread a sweetish pleasant aroma, due to which whole flocks of butterflies fly to the site, which becomes even more a decoration of the garden.

Recommendations for breeding agapanthus

Agapanthus in the ground

In order to grow a new plant of "African lily" on the site, it is possible to use the vegetative method, namely to divide the rhizome or plant root shoots (daughter rosettes), but occasionally seed propagation is used.

Reproduction of agapanthus by dividing the bush

This operation is best done in spring or autumn, that is, before the flowering process begins, or when it is completely completed. The bush of the "Abyssinian beauty" must be dug in a circle and removed from the ground using a garden pitchfork. After that, the root system is washed from the lumps of the substrate. When dividing plants, they try to ensure that each of the divisions contains 2-3 rosettes of leaf plates. It is recommended to cut the rhizome with a well-sharpened and disinfected knife. After that, all sections must be sprinkled with crushed charcoal (if this is not the case, you can notice the pharmacy activated one).

The planting of agapanthus cuttings is carried out after 2-3 days, but until that time the plants are kept in a moistened soil mixture or wrapped in a cloth moistened with water. At the end of this time, planting in a flower bed or in a pot is carried out according to the rules of primary planting. Until the moment of rooting, watering is recommended for the "Nile lily" to be done moderately, but when the signs of rooting are evident (new leaves appear), then moistening can be done as usual.

Propagation of agapanthus using seeds

This should be done in early March. Before planting, it is recommended to carry out a pre-planting seed treatment. For 2-3 hours, the seeds should be soaked in a container filled with cold water. For planting, a wide seedling box or garden container is used. The substrate should be light, loose and nutritious; a mixture of equal parts of sand and peat chips is suitable. A drainage layer is placed on the bottom of the container, before pouring the soil, so that the soil does not become waterlogged. Small pebbles or expanded clay can act as drainage. The height of the drainage layer should not be more than 3-5 cm.

After that, the prepared soil mixture is poured into the box, which is well moistened by spraying from a spray bottle. Pits are dug in the ground, into which one agapanthus seed is placed. Crops should be sprinkled with a thin layer of the same soil and squeezed a little. To create greenhouse conditions, it is recommended to wrap the planting container with plastic transparent film or put a piece of glass on top. When caring for the crops of the "flower of love", it is necessary to ventilate daily for 15–20 minutes and monitor the state of the substrate, if it begins to dry out, perform spraying.

After 7-14 days, you will be able to see the first shoots of agapanthus, at which time the shelter can be removed. When the second pair of leaves unfolds on the seedlings, a pick is made in individual pots using a more fertile substrate. If there is a desire to facilitate the subsequent planting of seedlings in open ground, then it is better to use pressed peat containers for picking. Then the seedlings are not pulled out of the peas, but put together with them in the planting hole in the flower bed.

Young agapanthuses, after planting in a permanent place in the garden, will please with flowering only after 5-7 years.

Reproduction of agapanthus by shoots

When the specimen of the "African lily" becomes old enough, then next to the main rosette of leaves, young shoots - babies - begin to form. These parts of the plant can be detached and transplanted into a new location in the garden. However, you should be very careful, because when digging up the baby, you can damage the root system of both the mother bush and the "young" and then the loss of all specimens will be inevitable.After the children are separated, they are planted according to the rules of the primary planting or as in the case of reproduction by dividing the bush.

Pest and disease control when caring for agapanthus in the garden

Agapanthus grows

The biggest problem when growing "African lily" in the garden are slugs and snails, gnawing young shoots of the plant, and often damaging even the roots. To protect the plantings of agapanthus, 2-3 handfuls of wood ash can be scattered between the plants, which will not only scare away gastropods, but also serve to saturate the soil with potassium. It is also recommended to use metaldehyde chemicals such as Meta-Groza, which destroy pests.

Of other harmful insects that cause problems with care, gardeners, when cultivating this plant, isolate:


sucking nutritious juices from the leaves and manifested by the appearance of brown shiny plaques on the back of the leaf plates. Over time, the leaves turn yellow and dry out; on the agapanthus, you can notice the presence of a sticky plaque that can cover everything nearby. Plaque - fall, these are the waste products of insects and if you do not start fighting them in time, then such a sticky coating will provoke the development of a sooty fungus.

Spider mites

pests that are not so easy to notice in the early stages, but when the colony grows, but a thin whitish cobweb forms on the foliage and shoots. These bugs also pierce the leaves and suck out the cell sap, and all the foliage quickly turns yellow and falls off. You can also see the aforementioned pad. These harmful insects can be fought with as folk remedies - infusions of laundry soap, onion husks or garlic gruel, or water with a couple of drops of essential oil (for example, rosemary) dissolved in it. Such products are milder and do not harm plants, but they do not always have a quick effect. Often it is worth using chemicals - insecticides, like Aktara or Aktellik.

Often, if the landing site was chosen incorrectly and moisture stagnates there from rain or watering, then agapanthus can be damaged by fungal diseases, in which the leaves dry out and fall off. Then, on the leaf plates, you can notice a whitish (usually these are manifestations of powdery mildew) or grayish fluffy bloom (this is how gray rot manifests itself). Then it is recommended to remove all the spoiled parts of the "African lily", and transplant the plant after treatment with fungicides. In the event of the appearance of fungal diseases on the "flower of love", planted at a suitable location, treatment with drugs like Topaz or Fundazol is also performed several times.

Other problems when growing agapanthus in the garden can be violations of the rules of agricultural technology:

  • insufficient lighting, will lead to stretching of the peduncles, but flowering will be poor or the stems will break off;
  • when the soil becomes waterlogged from irrigation, the leaf rosette begins to acquire a yellow color, therefore, it is necessary to limit the moisture content and normalize their regime.

See also how to protect tritelia from possible pests and diseases when grown in the garden.

Interesting notes about the agapanthus flower

Flowering agapanthus

It is curious that if the "African lily" is grown in a room, then the plant tends to accumulate in itself heavy metals present in the air, while the air in the room is purified from both harmful elements and harmful or pathogenic microbes.

Since agapanthus is still a poisonous plant, you should not forget about this when carrying out any operations with it. To do this, it is recommended to wear gloves, and then the robot should thoroughly wash its hands with soap and water.

Since the "African lily" is distinguished by lush and long flowering, the plant becomes attractive to gardeners. The opening of the buds occurs gradually, while a delicate unobtrusive aroma is heard over the plantings of the agapanthus. Flowers are great for bouquets, since such phyto-compositions can stand in a vase for almost 14 days.It is only important to cut the peduncle when the first bud opens. If you dry a peduncle with an inflorescence, then there is an opportunity to make dry bouquets.

Types and varieties of agapanthus

In the photo Agapanthus African

African agapanthus (Agapanthus africanus)

or Agapanthus umbellatus (Agapanthus umbellatus) often found under the following names: African or Nile lily, Abyssinian beauty. In nature, it resembles the territory of the Cape of Good Hope region in South Africa. This species is more difficult to grow in gardens than early agapanthus (Agapanthus praecox), and almost all of the plants sold as Agapanthus africanus are actually it.

The plant has a short stem with a bunch of long narrow arched leaves 10–35 cm long and 1–2 cm wide and a central flower stem 25–60 cm high, ending in an umbellate inflorescence of 20–30 white or bright blue flowers. The flowers are funnel-shaped, each flower is 2.5–5 cm in diameter.

Agapanthus Africanus was introduced (brought and cultivated) to Europe at the end of the 17th century. Unlike the more common early agapanthus, it is generally not suitable as a garden plant and does not tolerate prolonged freezing temperatures and therefore can be grown in rooms or transplanted into pots for the winter.

There are the following varieties (subspecies) of the umbelliferae agapanthus:

  1. Agapanthus umbellate "Ovatus" (Agapanthus umbellatus "Ovatus"). The plant reaches a height of 1.2 m with a bush width of about 60 cm. Stunning large lilac-blue flowers in mid and late summer are formed on powerful blue-green, rectilinear stems from the center of leafy green leaves, similar to long stripes. This African lily can be grown in a large pot or in moist but well-drained garden soil. In autumn, according to the advice of gardeners, you should move the potted plant Agapanthus Umbellifera "Ovatus" to a sheltered place or apply dry mulch in winter if it is grown on the border.
  2. Agapanthus umbrella "Donay" (Agapanthus umbellatus "Donau") is a late-flowering variety with large lilac-blue, white or blue flowers on tall, dark, upright stems. Exotic-looking herbaceous, perennial with long peduncles growing from the center of a rosette formed by long, belt-like leaves. When fully expanded, the flowers of Agapanthus "Donay" resemble small lilies. After pollination, drooping seed pods ripen, which open up to release flat black seeds. For best results, grow in moist but well-drained soil in a sunny location. In colder regions, it is recommended to mulch the roots to protect them from frost in winter. Alternatively, plant Agapanthus "Donau" in large pots and travel to a sheltered location in the fall.
  3. Agapanthus umbellatus "Blue Giant" (Agapanthus umbellatus "Blue Giant") is an evergreen subspecies. Plant height is up to 1, 2 m, with a width of 60 to 90 cm. Herbaceous. During flowering, umbellate inflorescences are formed from flowers with bell-shaped corollas of blue color. At the beginning of the year, usually from January to the end of March, these plants can be shipped in 9 cm pots to ensure timely shipment. Agapanthus "Blue Giant" can suffer from foliage and stem death during harsh winters in cold regions. The plant can withstand temperatures as low as -10 degrees, but it is recommended to apply mulch for winter in colder areas. It is best to transplant into pots by transferring it indoors. An open, sunny location is recommended for growing in the garden. Natural origin from the territory of South Africa (Western Cape).
In the photo Agapanthus early

Early agapanthus (Agapanthus praecox)

may be found under the local names common agapanthus, blue lily, or also African lily or Nile lily. The species is highly popular among gardeners around the world, but the most common is found in Mediterranean gardens. The native range falls on Natal and the Cape of Good Hope (lands of South Africa).Most of the plants actively used in culture from the genus Agapanthus were obtained by hybridization or are varieties bred in the process of selection work. Usually there is a division into the following subspecies: subsp.praecox, subsp.orientalis and subsp. minimus.

Agapatnus early is a variable member of the genus with open flowers. It is a perennial with a lifespan of almost 75 years. The stem reaches 1 m in height. The roots are very strong and can crush even concrete surfaces. The width of the belt-like sheet plates reaches 2 cm with a length of about half a meter. Umbrella inflorescence. Summer bloom, during which flowers are revealed, taking on blue, purple or white tones. After pollination, capsules (capsules) are formed, inside which small black seeds are contained, which are recommended to be kept in cool sand until sowing.


  • Agapanthus praecox subsp. praecox. Similar to the eastern region of the Cape (South Africa). Stems often vary from 0.8 to 1 meter in height, the rosette has 10-11 leathery leaves. This agapanthus has a flowering period from December to February when flowers with blue petals open up. In flowers, perianth segments are measured a little more than 5 cm.
  • Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis or Eastern agapanthus… This subspecies is found in the Eastern Cape and southern KwaZulu-Natal. Although the heights are about the same as subsp. praecox, it has up to 20 stripe-like leaves that are curved and not leathery. In length, leaf plates of this agapanthus subspecies reach from 20 to 70 cm and from 3 to 5 cm in width. The flower color ranges from blue to white. The shiny black seeds are produced in tricuspid capsules. They have perianth segments less than 50 mm long. Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis is highly regarded for its resistance to sun and heat, long bloom and is a favorite of many gardens in Australia and is also found everywhere, such as along roads and other public places that are not frequently watered. This subspecies of agapanthus is still widespread in nature, but in some areas it is a weed, and planting, therefore, such bushes have been discontinued, although in general the subspecies is not considered highly invasive.
  • Agapanthus praecox subsp. minimus or Agapanthus minimus. The plant is found in the southeastern part of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, this subspecies is the smallest, its height varies from 30 to 60 cm.This agapanthus has a longer flowering season, from November to March. The color of the petals in flowers includes white tint and various shades of blue.

Related article: Growing liverwort in the open field, care rules.

Video about growing agapanthus in the open field:

Photos of agapanthus:

Photo Agapanthus 1 Photo Agapanthus 2 Photo Agapanthus 3 Photo Agapanthus 4 Photo Agapanthus 5

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