When should I divide agapanthus (Lily of the Nile)?

Sunset Beach, NC(Zone 8a)

I've got some fairly good size clumps of agapanthus and only 2 bloomed this summer. Some of the clumps were planted this spring and some were planted previous summer. I really planted them too close to each other and I'm wondering if that's why only 2 bloomed. When should I divide these and transplant? Now or spring? (They do die back here in the winter).

Thanks for any help you can give.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I don't know if your Agapanthus are the same species as mine, but I've noticed with mine they take a couple years to really get going (mine are evergreen, but I'm not sure if that's just because of the difference in climate or if yours are a different kind). I had some planted in fall of 2006, and last year a few of them gave me a couple blooms but many of them didn't, then this year they all bloomed. If you planted them too close together then that might not be ideal and it may be in their best interest to move them, but I don't know that they would have bloomed a lot this year anyway.

Sunset Beach, NC(Zone 8a)

I thought about the length of time also. Mine are supposed to be evergreen, but they really aren't in this zone, unfortunately. I have a feeling some should be moved and I don't know whether to do it now or in the spring. Maybe someone will offer up their opinion. Then it'll probably just take them a couple of seasons to really start blooming.

Thanks for your help.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Out here I would move them in the fall, but since you're a little bit colder I don't know if that's still a good idea or not. Hopefully someone from your zone will be able to comment.

Pretoria, South Africa

I wouldn't move them - unless you want to plant something else in the spot where the Agapanthus is. They tend to only flower properly once they have formed a large plant. They hate being moved and divided.
I had some growing for four years before they flowered for the first time. Do they get enough sun? They tend to grow in full sun here in South Africa, putting on a nice show without any sun damage.

Hope that helps,

Hahira, GA(Zone 8b)

I agree with Elsa - Agapanthus hate to be disturbed, & won't usually bloom for a year or two afterwards. If you truly need to move some - maybe you could move alternating plants, leaving the others where they are, so next year you will at least have some blooms. Samantha

Sunset Beach, NC(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the advice. They don't get full sun all day -- maybe they need more. Yes, maybe I'll move alternating ones. They just look so packed in riight now.

Ripley, MS

I visited the town of Forest Hill LA this spring. It is full of nurseries and we went to several. One had a beautiful agapanthus blooming and the nurseryman at that nursery told us that they will bloom better when they are crowded. The pots they had were full and he said to plant them like that and not divide them. I did not buy any, so I have no personal thing to share with you, but wanted to pass that on.

Sunset Beach, NC(Zone 8a)

Thanks, Sandra! So many good thoughts an recommendations. Gonna think about it a bit and decide. I'll let you know what I decide.

Ripley, MS

Like I said, it was just pass along information, I haven't but a couple of agapanthus and they did not even bloom this year.

Williams, CA(Zone 9a)

I have two clumps also that have been in the ground two years, and have yet to bloom-I feel better about mine and will wait and see what happens next year. Thank you all for your input
Dee in Northern California

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Good information. I bought a couple of Agapanthus this year from two different "on line" catalogs. I thought they were both winter hardy to zone 6, but the Headbourne Agapanthus, blue one, is hardy to zone 9 and can grow in zone 6 IF you bring it in every year. That was not real clear when I ordered the bulb.
I put both of them in two separate pots.
The white one, Agapanthus companulatus 'Albus', is zone 6 winter hardy. I had to put it in a pot as the place I was going to put the bulb was full of annual poppies at the time the bulb arrived. The location gets about 30 percent shade. So, maybe I should find a different place to plant this bulb. This bulb is starting to bloom now. Should I wait to plant this bulb in the fall?

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Great info.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

What are we sopose to do with the seeds, they are hanging down from the bloomed away top. I have a two year old Peter Pan, it bloomed this year first time, I like it and would like to know if you can do something with the seeds.?? On the second picture you can see the seeds hanging down. thanks, Etelka

Thumbnail by kiseta Thumbnail by kiseta
Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

You can grow them from seed (I find they seed themselves around a bit in my garden so unfortunately I can't tell you how to start them on purpose--but they must not need much of anything special or else they wouldn't come up on their own without me doing anything). But since 'Peter Pan' is a hybrid there's no guarantee that the seedlings would come true, so you might end up with a regular size Agapanthus instead of a nice small one like the parent plant.

Your seeds aren't ripe yet though so you need to leave them on the plant until the seed pods get older & more dried up looking, otherwise they won't germinate.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Thank you very much, I was told that Peter Pan is dwarf Agapantus, my got to be about 4' tall, it lastad a long time and I think I will get more of it, just did not know what to do with the seeds. Thanks again. Etelka

Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

I've been trying to grow agapanthus for years in a pot. I tried the crowded, neglect method and got nothing. So last year I divided it into 2 pots, which it really needed, it was all roots, almost no soil. I did get one bloom so early in the spring, actually late winter, that the plant was still in my basement under my grow lights and I pretty much missed it. Do people who get blooms fertilize them? I've read in the past that they grow by the side of the highway and really don't need much fertilizer.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I haven't fertilized mine in the 6 yrs I've had them and they do fine. That being said, mine are in the garden and if yours are in a pot they will need some fertilizer since nutrients wash out of container soil. But they don't need a lot of fertilizing.

If you have the hardier kind I think they're OK for zone 7 so I would plant them in the ground. I've found they need to get to a decent size to bloom well so in a pot they may never bloom as well as they would if they were in the ground. Dividing and transplanting/repotting will also typically set them back, so the other advantage of having them in the ground is you can leave them alone for years which gives them the time to develop to the point where they'll bloom really well.

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