It's no secret we think Agapanthus should be declared a national treasure. These #WaterWise indigenous gems grow in full sun to light shade and are remarkably tough. There are many new varieties available in so many shades of blue to purple it will be hard to choose your favourite.
Agapanthus are also known as the African Lily or the Lily of the Nile but they are definitely indigenous to South Africa and definitely not a lily. They are endemic to most parts of the country but mostly to the Western Cape.
Where to plant them
Agapanthus are extremely water wise and drought hardy. Best flowering will always be where they get more sun but in true versatile fashion they also grow well in a partly shady spot. Common old fashioned Agapanthus grow the largest of all the varieties getting the iconic tall flowers in midsummer and look great planted along a border or in clumps through an extended border. Agapanthus will truly grow anywhere but can burn in direct frost. Frost will knock them back but it won't kill them.
The modern hybrids have been bred to repeat flower. They start flowering through late spring and continue up and down right through to the next winter. Tall flowering and short flowering varieties are equally as popular and they look really great when planted as a specimen plant or focal plant in a bed.
Agapanthus also grow exceptionally well in a container as they don't mind being a bit root bound. A larger container will see them fill it as a vase and when they flower it really makes a stand out statement.
Agapanthus can be divided and replanted every few years to rejuvenate the clumps and to spread them along but they do equally well if they are just left and fertilised regularly.
Agapanthus are not hungry plants unless they are a well mature clump or in a container, then they will benefit from being fed regularly to keep them lush. To prepare for planting a bed or even a single agapantha always add liberal compost to get the soil conditioned. Followed by Bone Meal for strong root growth in the early stage. Once planted feed them with BioGanic All Purpose especially if it's a clump that you divided and are replanting.
Through the summer months feed to encourage flowering and strong flower stems. BioOcean is best as a complete flowering fertiliser and it's organic so it won't burn.
Great results come from healthy well fed plants. That said Agapanthus are one of those indigenous rock stars that will grow and flower relatively well even thrive when they are neglected..
Being tough they are seldom affected by disease. The main culprit is found on established clumps. The plants seem to rot in the middle and fall flat. This is the Agapanthus caterpillar that burrows into the core of the plant and can decimate a clump if left unchecked.
Clean out the clump as much as possible, sometimes it's worth lifting and dividing the clump and discarding the damaged parts. Alternatively a drench with a systemic insecticide such as Efekto Plant Protector will sort it out. As an alternative spraying with an organic insecticide such as the Margaret Roberts Insecticide will act as a deterrent and keep them at bay or from spreading to neighbouring plants.