I have several Ellamae and a couple of Elaine Agapanthus in our gardens in Austin. We are experienced gardeners who do soil preparation to beds and have a reputation for spectacular gardens. Yet we cannot seem to coax one single flower from our Agapanthus. Why? They get light shade in the afternoon, good drainage, and the plants themslves are robust and healthy.
Was in Anaheim, CA recently and they don't seem to thin them out. San Diego areas as well. Although, pretty, I think they are over planted out there, too many of them everywhere. They grow into massive clumps 3-4 feet tall and bloom profusely.
I think its a freeze problem from my experience. It cripples the plant. The few that have come back for me this year, are dinky little things that won't produce flowers, and will be mid summer before they get much foliage.
I have a similar problem with the African Iris they sell around here. Looks great and blooms when you plant them, but they struggle to come back after the freeze, and not much in flowers. Tried a couple again last year, and they are only about six inches tall, and sparse blades. Further south, they do very well without a severe freeze.
These past two years we've had freezes, but for several years prior to that our lowest winter temp was no less than 26 and that not long enough to damage a plant. Freeze back may be part of the answer, but I'm still puzzled. There are gorgeous blooms all over Austin.
There is a newer variety I've seen in nurseries in recent years that promise blooms all summer. The older varieities (like mine) tended to be spring bloomers, with sporadic late summer blooms. Perhaps you've seen the newer variety around town.
What is the newer variety? Agapanthus tends to be poorly labeled in local nurseries. I purchased these from Plant Delights. Tony Avent is good about sending out healthy, good-sized plants that are accurately labeled. Mistakes are rare and he gets cultivars ahead of the general nursery trade. I've asked neighbors who grow them who've done nothing, but purchase a few pots at Lowe's and throw them in the ground. They get beautiful performance year after year. I'm beginning to think that Lily of the Nile is one rare species of plant that has a particular dislike for me. LOL
jessileigh, did your agapanthus bloom this year? Mine haven't bloomed in several years. I, too, got them from Plant Delights, and they are good sized, healthy looking plants. I think I have 'Storm Cloud' and 'Elaine'. They use to bloom, but 5 years ago we moved them from a previous home. And like you, other people in my neighborhood, who I'm sure just go to HD or L for their plants, had great blooms. I have read about preferring to be crowded. And about preferring sun. This spring I moved them to a sunnier bed. The bed they've been in for the last 4 years has slowly become shaded in late afternoon. So I'm trying to address the sun issue to see if that helps for next year.
I'm having the same problem in Bellaire (inside Houston). A few isolated plants bloom; the rest do not. I have some that are crowded and some that are not. I've tried different locations as well. I'm about ready to yank them all out!
Agapanthus enjoy the company of their kind in the wild...the bulbs touch and often appear to crowd out each other when the blooms are the most spectacular...I only have one agapanthus hybrid, so I can not confirm my theory...but the lack of blooming may be a result of space between the bulbs.
I know that when I used to pull and divide the plants, I would naturally replant them 6-8" apart...it took me a while to break that habit and plant the bulbs right next to each other...I have no problem with blooming...even after the awful winter die-backs.
Leslie...I hope you don't pull out our ags, but if you do...I will be happy to trade for them!
I'm so glad to read I'm not the only one. Mine are in a pot, and have been for years. I think I'm going to take them out and put some good fresh soil in it and put it back. Maybe relocating to a different bed will make a difference. I like the foilage anyway, just wish they would bloom too.