PlantFiles: Lily of the Nile, African Lily Agapanthus africanus
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Hardiness: USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F) USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F) USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F) USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F) USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F) USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F) USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Danger: Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction
Bloom Color: Blue-Violet
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer Mid Summer Late Summer/Early Fall
Foliage: Evergreen Smooth-Textured
Other details: This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds Flowers are fragrant Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Soil pH requirements: 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
Patent Information: Non-patented
Propagation Methods: By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets) From seed; sow indoors before last frost
Seed Collecting: Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
On Jul 31, 2012, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:
Blooms in 4-5 years when grown from seed. I'm wondering if the reason some of the posters don't see blooms is b/c they were sold immature plants. But as long as they have nice, green foliage, they should probably let them be.
When propagated by division, blooming is not delayed.
Not only when potted, but even when planted inground, they seem to thrive when crowded. This year I've scattered my fresh seed close to the mother plant. Took less than 5 min. to sow but will take years to see a show.
I got a bulb from the chicago flower and garden show in early spring. I put it in a pot and placed it outside. It was doing very well as it put out 5 stems. I was very excited. It reached the stage where it was about to flower; however I've noticed that it has stayed in that stage for weeks and the buds won't open and they are now drying and falling off. I've been giving it the required sun, water, and feed regimen. What happened?
I have several blue and white standard and have never had a problem blooming though we are in the San Diego area and the climate here is similar to the native South Africa. The reason for the neutral rating is the seemingly invasive roots. I have dug up nearby plants to find Agapanthus roots wedged well through them from two feet away. It seems that the roots are fairly agressive and therefore should only be planted in beds of similar Agapanthus, isolated from other sensitive bed plants. Other than the roots, I must given them praise as very showy border plants that are easy to grow and expand (I simply split them with a shovel in between new growth. Given the strong roots, this makes a good a plant for a hillside where you want to prevent erosion.
On Mar 2, 2012, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:
Agapanthus is a typical flowering bulb used in British gardens, especially cottage type gardens, it usually flowers well (with a little moisture). I feel that it's common name allows people to think it will take mega droughts, but in leaf it needs plenty of water, but the bulbs are there to induce dormancy under drought conditions, or in colder climates, during winter.
In Britain, in milder coastal sites this plants has started to spread a little. I noticed this in Llandudno although it hasn't gone far. In the Isles of Scilly however, this plant has got free, self seeding on walls? anyway in coastal areas these often stay evergreen but inland they will die back and come back the next year.
I planted several agapanthus last spring. Several in afternoon sun, and one in dappled shade (in pot). No blooms last year. This spring I fertilized with a time release (12-3-13). May 1st, I was about to give up. I added some super bloom (desperation), lo and behold one morning there were 5 - 3 foot spikes with bloooms on those planted in the sun. Since then 3 more have popped up. The one in the shade has nothing but green. I guess I was being impatient. They are so beautiful. I'm moving the pot out of the shade and going to see what happens. Lesson, don't give up. If they don't bloom, try moving them and keep trying.
The only problem I've had is snails. The bait took care of them!
On May 3, 2011, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
I'm sure glad to read that other people have trouble with these plants blooming. I've had three plants bought at different places for three seasons now. They don't freeze which is good, they look pretty healthy, but only one has ever bloomed and that was one flower last year.
I'm ready to dig mine up, this year is their last chance. They get morning sun and afternoon shade, plenty of water, fertilizer and even some organic compost. The ones that are planted in the middle of the roadways by the City landscapers are blooming, wonder what they use?
On Apr 27, 2011, SecretShadow98 from Universal City, TX wrote:
The thing about this plant is that you either have absolute success with it or fail horribly. I don't know exactly what tips the scales but you have about a 50-50 chance of getting this plant to bloom.
On Apr 19, 2011, jazzy1okc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:
Here in OKC, this lovely plant likes to be crowded into a pot or a micro climate. They do well as containerized pond side or bogish plants. Most folks grow them in containers and bring them into the garage do go dormant for the winter. A few folks I know who have plant them on the west side of their brick homes, where they can have shade in the late afternoon, have been able to keep them in the ground for several years if they are in confined spaces.
On Oct 18, 2009, 22miracles from Olympia, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:
I have read all the posted comments. This appears to be a plant with mysterious blooming requirements. I have had several plants for about 5 years scattered in my garden. They bloomed a bunch the second or third year but ever since there has been only one bloom (or none) per plant. I assume that they are root bound because I have not divided them. They are all well drained and get water and fertilizer regularly. They look healthy, and I love the foliage, but it's the flowers I lust after. The city has them planted in the median on the way to town and they bloom profusely. I really, really wish I could figure them out!
On Jul 27, 2009, hollyhouse from Stone Lake, WI wrote:
This 10+ year old plant grows in a 3 gallon pot that I haul in every fall to be stored in my basement. I eliminate the water then and begin watering in March. In April, I begin using weak fertilizer and it blooms every year. By late May, I set it outside. I have divided the plant several times and given it to friends who sometimes lack the patience it takes for waiting for blooms. I agree with the person who said it likes to be root-bound. The more crowded it is in the pot, the happier it is.
On Jun 4, 2009, bjwilson from Kemp, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
Although the instructions say to plant in full sun, I almost lost my Lily of the Nile when I did so. I bought a one gallon pot with 3 plants in it 3 years ago, and the lady at Lowes told me to plant it in the shade... so I did. The next year, it didn't bloom, so I researched what it needs, and found that it should have been in full sun... so I moved it to a sunny spot. It burned to a crisp after about a week. So, I moved them back in the shade, trimmed the damage off, and they thrived, but still didn't bloom last year. However, they multiplied like crazy. This year, I re did another shade garden and moved them again (now 8 plants) to the new area. As of today, I have one bloom, and several more about to bloom. I guess I just need to find where they would be happy.
On Nov 4, 2008, Phytowarrior from Sydney Australia wrote:
A Beautiful, self-seeding border plant that is drought tolerant.
I absolutely love it as it's not only beautiful all year around with it's lush green foliage but it's flowers that come up every summer are gorgeous.
It's low maintenance with only the flower stems needing to be removed after flowering if you want to retain the pattern of grow otherwise they will spread like wild fire to the oddest places you can imagine haha.
It's strong root system is great for keeping it anchored during storms.
On Jun 13, 2008, Isabel56 from Longwood, FL wrote:
I bought 3 large plants and divided them. Last year towards the end of May they we're all blooming. This year they all look bigger and healthier, they're in the same location, but here it is, the middle of June, and I haven't had any blooms yet. I'm in Central Florida (Longwood) and wonder whether they may still bloom. Also, how many times a year do they bloom? They're one of my favorites.
I didnt give them enough credit for hardiness until they went unfazed through our Jan 07 arctic blast. Temps plumetted from high 30s to high teens and low 20s overnight and lasted for 6 or 7 consecutive nights. The agapanthus, which are litterally planted EVERYWHERE (from street medians, to public gardens, to home landscapes) went unfazed and began blooming at their normal time.
On May 10, 2007, texmexprincessa from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I'll say positive, but with a caveat. Outside of regions where they obviously flourish (California), they can be tricky plants and, imo, work best if they are root bound. Also, in my experience, they don't bloom if they move around a lot -- which may explain why some folks have had trouble. Best to stick them in a location and stay with it for a year or two.
This year I have my best bloom yet, and I've had different agapanthus plants for about 7 years now in three different cities. Right now, I have a large one in a big pot on the Southern end of a West facing patio.
In short, they can be demanding but, oh!, the payoff!!!
I've had one planted outside now for about 10 years. I had bought it in the San Francisco area and planted it near my South side foundation and it has done well. It dies back to the ground after we get a real cold snap in winter, but comes back fine in the spring. It also doesn't bloom for as long as the ones in the Bay area do, but it still lasts for at least 1 month in bloom here. I don't even mulch for winter, so I suspect the foundation provides enough ambient warmth for it to be happy.
On May 11, 2006, Connie_G from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
I bought 8 Peter Pan Agapanthus (purple) about 2 months ago from Home Depot. None had blooms or bloom stalks. I just planted them about a month ago and all are blooming continuously. Each plant has about 5-7 stalks. I bought them in 1 gallon pots. They are in great soil and I placed time release fert. in hole and sprinkled more after planting. Thus far...great! I'll buy more!
On Aug 8, 2005, jnana from South Florida, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:
I've had 3 Agapanthus for the past 4 years and have not seem them bloom yet. I've tried everything, moving them to a different location, fertilizer, sun, part shade etc. Nothing seems to work. During our rainy summers the leaves get very pale and I suspect they don't like to be too wet. I haven't given up yet. They were moved to a different location this summer and I'm hoping that next spring they'll bloom.
On Jun 28, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:
I always wanted some Agapanthus and then a family friend gave me two HUGE clumps of them. I was absolutely ruthless when I was dividing them and they all survived!!! Even the bits of rhizome that I snapped off and planted into poorly poorly drained soil sprouted and grew vigorously. I live in an area where we can get up to -8 in winter and they thrive during all seasons--in frost or in dry, hot weather. They also stand up to winds very well. I am about to buy a black-flowered Agapanthus that is quite beautiful. This is definitely one of my favorite plants. pokerboy.
On Jun 11, 2004, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
San Antonio, Texas
I have had problems with these not blooming. I have relocated them to different spots trying to make them happy several times over the years and they have only bloomed a couple of times. I see them blooming in many locations here and have no idea why mine are beautiful and healthy looking plants that seem to be shy when it comes to blooming. I am sure it is not the plant, but something I am doing wrong so I am rating them a neutral.
On Jun 10, 2004, BUFFY690 from Prosperity, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:
I have two varieties of these plants the dwarf 'Peter Pan' and the 'Ellie Mae' variety. The Peter Pan has bloomed, and it adds the blue I was looking for in my garden, but Ellie Mae has yet to show me what she's got, flowerwise yet. However, there is still alot of blooming weather left, so I am the 'lady in waiting' for Ellie Mae. They do well here, so I am surprised more people don't have them planted, as there are alot of gardeners in my neighborhood.
On Apr 26, 2004, angelam from melbourne Australia wrote:
I split a large clump (over 20 years old) last year as flowering had really dropped off. There was a rhizome type base to the clump nearly a foot thick in places. I had to use a mattock to get though it and break the clump up. I got over 100 plants every one of which survived and about 30% of which have already flowered some of them out of season. This plant is tough. It is also invasive, at least in Australian conditions, so dead head when the flower is spent, unless you specifically want seed. Clumps are a real snail haven.
They look green and glossy no matter how dry it gets, and flower as well in the meridian strips of local roads as in the most carefully tended garden.
On Oct 30, 2003, Jacquie from Spring, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
A favorite of apartment complexes in the southeast Texas area, they are green year round with great flower display in the spring. Hardy in sun and bright shade with regular watering. I was happy to try them again as I had tried in North Carolina piedmont in bright shade with only green straps-no blooms over a 4 year trial.
On Oct 29, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:
I had these plants growing in my front yard at a rental house in San Francisco, up on a hill just above the fog line. I was very busy working two jobs, and I never did anything to or for them for the three years I lived there, and they all bloomed beautifully. I suspect they had been in the yard for years, out by the sidewalk, which was really a series of big concrete steps, and in the sunniest part of the yard.
Agapanthus grew all over the San Francisco Bay Area when I was living there--in freeway plantings, in street medians, in parks--it seemed the more neglect they received, the more they prospered!
I see this plant for sale here in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, at the big discount garden centers like WalMart and K-Mart, but so far I've been afraid they wouldn't like our very wet summers and occasional Winter arctic blasts. But after reading that they grow well in rainy, and also cold in the Winter, Washington State, I think I will give them a try again after all these years, and remember those busy days in San Francisco when I see them in bloom.
On Oct 28, 2003, wnstarr from Puyallup, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:
Not really a tender tropical at all. I have several different varieties growing in my yard year round. I have some dwarf ones, Peter Pan,& Tinkerbell growing in pots on my deck. They all survive the winters here very well. The large variety die down in the winter to come back in the Spring and bloom in the Summer. The dwarf varieties are all evergreen. Love the blue blooms, and the white are nice but not as striking. Lovely plant from Africa that is living comfortably in Western Washington state.
On Jul 17, 2003, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
The first year our Dwarf Agapanthus (from one-gallon containers) put up one or two stalks of blooms. Now in their second year, the leaf clumps have gotten a bit larger, but each plant has sent up multiple flower stalks, at least 3-4, making for a much better show.
The white dwarf agapanthus did not bloom in the first year at all, and this second year has put forth only two stalks; it seems to be much less vigorous than its blue-flowering brethren.
On Jun 26, 2003, Greenknee from Chantilly, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:
The Headbourne hybrids grow here for me in USDA Zone 6b/7a with a protected location and winter protection of shredded leaf mulch. Just breaking into bloom now, their second year after settling in to a sunny south wall spot. Reminds me of the San Francisco Bay area (California) when in bloom, although they came from South Africa, by way of hybridizing in England for more cold-hardiness.
On Jun 25, 2003, ign from Hayward, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:
These thrive here in northern California (U.S.) I truly like the flowers, but don't care for the slugs and snails they provided great homes for. They do need to be divided about every three years here, otherwise they become a bit much and don't bloom exceptionally well. My favorite is the 'Peter Pan' variety (dwarf) of both the blue and white. They are hardy plants and seem to need little care except for bit of water and sun.
On Jun 24, 2003, rrobins from Granite Bay, CA wrote:
This is an awesome plant to grow, and very easy to divide and propagate. I am currently growing it in full sun to shady areas. It will bloom better in the sun, but the foliage looks great in the shade. To divide dig up plant, use a sharp tool to divide and replant. Give regular water and it will take off.
On Apr 10, 2003, Zanymuse from Scotia, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
Easy to start from seed and not prone to damping off. It is possible to grow these in large quantities from seed but it takes 3 to 5 years for them to bloom depending upon conditions. They do well in poor and rocky soil and bloom best when their root mass becomes crowded.
When dividing use a sharp spade or large knife to cut through the root mass and water well until established.
I found these to be the easiest plant I have tried to grow from seed and encouraging for a beginner with bright light from a window and no special equiptment. I just kept them damp and they grew!
On Mar 8, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:
Agapanthus has strap-like leaves, with deep blue violet flowers on stalks 2 feet rising above foliage. Long-lasting flowers; bulbs must be protected in zones 8 and colder. (Headbourne hybrids are somewhat more cold-tolerant than the species.)
I've had mine for two full growing seasons now, and I'm still waiting on blooms. The first year I potted them and sunk the containers in the ground in early spring. In the fall, I dug up the containers and stored them in a frost-free greenhouse all winter.
The second year I failed to get them dug up, so they remained outside. By spring, I knew they had suffered some dieback (and thought it was pretty widespread.) I dug up the containers and salvaged the obviously live roots, putting them in an above-ground container. One of the pots that contained discarded roots started sending up growth, so I think I may have jumped the gun on digging them up, and probably precluded any blooms for another season. But there's always next year!!!
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
, (3 reports) Merikarvia, Dothan, Alabama Glendale, Arizona Golden Valley, Arizona Picture Rocks, Arizona Scottsdale, Arizona , California Bakersfield, California Beaumont, California Carlotta, California Carlsbad, California Chowchilla, California Clovis, California Dana Point, California Fallbrook, California Fresno, California Granite Bay, California Hayward, California Irvine, California Linda, California Long Beach, California Magalia, California Martinez, California Merced, California Mountain View, California Muscoy, California Oak View, California Oakland, California Palo Alto, California Salinas, California San Francisco, California San Jose, California San Leandro, California San Pedro, California Sunnyvale, California Ukiah, California Upland, California Vista, California Highland Acres, Delaware Auburndale, Florida Bartow, Florida (2 reports) Cinco Bayou, Florida Clearwater, Florida Coral Springs, Florida Deltona, Florida Dunnellon, Florida Eatonville, Florida Inverness, Florida Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports) Jan Phyl Village, Florida Keystone Heights, Florida Lake City, Florida Lake Placid, Florida Longwood, Florida (2 reports) Nokomis, Florida Ocala, Florida Ocoee, Florida Orange Park, Florida Orangetree, Florida Palm City, Florida Palm Coast, Florida Pembroke Pines, Florida Saint Augustine Shores, Florida Seffner, Florida South Daytona, Florida Spring Hill, Florida (2 reports) Tampa, Florida Umatilla, Florida Wauchula, Florida Yulee, Florida (2 reports) Cordele, Georgia Guyton, Georgia Marietta, Georgia Martinez, Georgia Stone Mountain, Georgia Honomu, Hawaii Palatine, Illinois Overland Park, Kansas Alexandria, Louisiana Cut Off, Louisiana Gardere, Louisiana Hammond, Louisiana Kenner, Louisiana Kentwood, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Shreveport, Louisiana Trout, Louisiana Zachary, Louisiana Easton, Maryland Florence, Mississippi Pearl, Mississippi Summit, Mississippi Las Vegas, Nevada (2 reports) Woodstown, New Jersey Roswell, New Mexico Concord, North Carolina Elizabeth City, North Carolina Holly Ridge, North Carolina Raleigh, North Carolina Carlisle, Ohio Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Warner, Oklahoma Beaufort, South Carolina Bluffton, South Carolina Conway, South Carolina East Sumter, South Carolina Hilton Head Island, South Carolina Lexington, South Carolina Parris Island, South Carolina Pelion, South Carolina Saint Helena Island, South Carolina Bell Buckle, Tennessee Lenoir City, Tennessee Alice, Texas Alvin, Texas Baytown, Texas Corpus Christi, Texas Cross Mountain, Texas Deer Park, Texas (2 reports) Floresville, Texas Houston, Texas (4 reports) Hudson Bend, Texas Jacksonville, Texas Katy, Texas La Porte, Texas Missouri City, Texas Port Lavaca, Texas Rockdale, Texas Roman Forest, Texas San Antonio, Texas (2 reports) Seven Points, Texas Victoria, Texas Chantilly, Virginia Jonesville, Virginia Des Moines, Washington Edgewood, Washington (2 reports) Fircrest, Washington Kalama, Washington Langley, Washington Olympia, Washington Seattle, Washington Reserve, Wisconsin