Agapanthus - Agapanto - Liliaceae - How to care for and grow Agapanthus plants



Headbourne hybrid






: Angiosperms


: Monocotyledons











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Agapanthus includes perennials, native to South Africa, known as African lilies or agapanthus, very easy to grow that produce spectacular flowering throughout the summer.

They are plants with rhizomatous roots and form real bushes with their ribbon-like, robust leaves curved downwards. There are deciduous and perennial leaf plants which are the most widespread and known with wider and longer leaves than the previous ones and larger inflorescences.

The flowers of Agapanthus are bell-shaped and gathered in inflorescences at the apexes of long flower stems, mostly of a more or less intense blue color, often tinged with purple even if there are varieties with white flowers.


We have numerous species of Agapanthus which can be deciduous or perennial but even more numerous are the hybrids that make the world of Agapanthus extremely varied:


(deciduous leaf)

L'Agapanthus campanulatus (photo below) is certainly the best known and most widespread species with its numerous hybrids known with the name of Headbourne by way of showy inflorescences.

Among the different species it is the most robust plant and usually reaches a height of up to one meter. They are deciduous in the sense that the leaves are lost during the winter season and the plant overwinters as a rhizome.

It is a plant that blooms in the summer.


(deciduous leaf)

L'Agapanthus inapertus (photo below) is a deciduous species native to South Africa with more or less intense blue flowers that bloom during the summer


(perennial leaf)

L'Agapanthus africanus (photo below) is also known as Agapanthus umbellatus. It is a not very widespread species, native to the south west of the Cape Province, fairly abundant with white or more frequently dark blue flowers up to one meter high which appear at the beginning of autumn.


(perennial leaf)

L'Agapanthus praecox (photo below) is a species with perennial leaves that produces flowers of a more or less intense blue color.


In Italy the Agapanthus more common are those with perennial leaves with much larger leaves and inflorescences than those with deciduous leaves.

It is important to know, at the time of purchase, if it is a deciduous or perennial species in order to understand the cultivation needs of the plant to arrange it in the right way as they are plants that do not like to be handled.

Plants of Agapanthus deciduous leaves can be kept outdoors all year round only in areas where temperatures do not drop below zero degrees centigrade for very short periods. In this case it will be enough to protect the earth with leaves or peat to ensure the survival of the rhizomes. If this is not the case, then it is necessary to take the pot to repair and place it in a dark area of ​​the house in a place sheltered from the cold. In both cases, however, irrigation during these periods must be extremely limited, just enough not to completely dry out the soil. So if the pot is kept outdoors, also protect it with a transparent plastic sheet.

The Agapanthus perennial leaves, on the other hand, can be kept outdoors during the winter only in areas where they are infrequent and long-lasting. Otherwise, even in this case it is good to keep the Agapanthus in pots and not in the ground and sheltered during the winter.Only in areas where winter temperatures do not drop below -2 ° C, plants can be kept in the ground. At the most you can damage the leaves that can turn yellow and fall but the rhizomes are able to withstand these temperatures.

They are plants that are generally sold directly in pots and the transplant must be done in late spring. In consideration of the fact that they are plants that do not tolerate being transplanted, place it at a distance of at least 60 cm between one plant and another for medium-sized cultivars. In this way, for at least 3-4 years you can do no further transplants.

Starting in spring, when the risk of spring jellies is averted, Agapanthus plants can be transplanted outdoors or the winter protection can be removed.

The rhizomes are to be placed in the ground for a good 8 cm of depth by placing a single agapanto in a 20 cm diameter pot and no more than 2 in a 25 cm diameter pot as it must be taken into account that the plants branches abundantly.

A good soil can be formed by a part of fertile soil, one part of peat and one part of sand in equal parts, taking care to place numerous pieces of earthenware on the bottom of the pot to facilitate the drainage of irrigation water.

Until the first shoots have appeared, the pot with the plant kept in a sheltered place and should be watered in moderation. During this period it is also advisable to fertilize every two / three weeks using a liquid fertilizer diluted in the irrigation water.

Generally sunny positions are optimal for the agapanthus plant but it would be preferable that during the hottest hours of the day the direct sun does not arrive.


L'Agapanthus during the vegetative period, therefore starting from spring and throughout the summer, Agapanthus is watered generously but avoiding excesses, waiting for the soil to dry between one irrigation and another.

During the other periods the waterings must be considerably reduced, just so as not to completely dry out the soil.


They are not plants that like to be handled so repotting is not done often but only when a real need arises because the pot has become too small to contain the plant.


Starting from spring agapanthus a liquid fertilizer diluted in the irrigation water is administered every 2-3 weeks until the birth of the new shoots.


To have abundant flowering it is important to fertilize the plant every two / three weeks until the buds appear, which for most species occurs during the summer period.


They are plants that cannot be pruned. Only the leaves and flowers that gradually dry up are eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.


It is multiplied by division of the plant which must be done in March / April or by seed but in this case it must be borne in mind that it will take several years before the plant blooms.


They are not plants particularly prone to diseases and the most frequent enemies can be:

Snails and snails

Snails and slugs damage the green parts of the agapanthus by devouring large pieces of leaf.
Remedies: if you cannot find them and eliminate them mechanically, use the appropriate poisoned baits, easily available from a good nurseryman.


When handling Agapanthus It is advisable to use gloves as they contain toxic substances that could cause irritation of the skin and mucous membranes.

How to grow agapanthus

It is a plant that is often seen in the gardens of many houses, especially around roadside entrances, but probably few know what it is. In fact, when you see luxuriant bushes, with very long leaves, with flowers that stand out vertically, with typical bluish colors, you are certainly looking at a agapanthus plant.

Not only beautiful, but also very rich in meaning, it is known above all for the characteristic flowers that arise from it. So if you want to enrich your green thumb knowledge, looking for an original plant that is aesthetically harmonious with the flowers of your garden, you can't do without this pseudo bush that will surely surprise you.

Characteristics of the agapanthus

Known and often referred to as "African lily", L' agapanthus it is very simple to grow and is capable of producing one amazing flowering during throughout the summer. Its peculiarity is to be provided with a rhizomatous root and to be formed by real bushes, characterized by ribbon-like, robust leaves curved downwards. There are also plants a deciduous leaf it's at evergreen leaf.

THE Agapanthus flowers they are bell-shaped and gather in inflorescences at the apexes of long flower stems.

In the dwarf varieties these perennials are able to reach a height of 20-30 cm, while the taller ones can reach a height of 130 cm.

Generally the agapanthus has a more or less intense blue color and often has a purple tinge. However they exist beautiful varieties with white flowers.

How to divide an Agapanthus

Dividing agapanthus plants is easy. All you need is a garden fork or shovel, a large kitchen knife and a new garden ready to receive transplants. Here's how to divide an agapanthus:

  • Press the garden fork or shovel into the ground just outside the root of the plant. Pressing gently, lift the entire clump of agapanthus roots off the ground.
  • Once the root pile is out of the ground, cut out the remaining flower stems right at the base and cut out any old or faded leaves.
  • Divide the main lump into several smaller clumps with your large kitchen knife. Keep in mind, however, that the smaller the new clumps are, the longer it takes to flower.
  • Before you start transplanting the clumps, scrape the leaves off about two thirds and cut out the dead roots.
  • Return them to the sunny, well-drained location you have prepared for them, and water them thoroughly.

Planting of agapanthus

Get the plants from a nursery or garden center and transplant them into a suitably sized pot in spring (March April). Let them choose vases capacious, in such a way as not to limit the development of plants, preferably in crock.
The topsoil it must be fertile, universal type, and well drained for the latter reason, it is always recommended to to pose on the bottom a layer of gravel or shards broken. THE rhizomes should be placed at a depth of about 8 cm in the pot.
In case you want to create a large vase of Agapanti, the individual plants purchased must be placed at least 30 cm away from each other, considering that over time they tend to thicken and tense. The rhizomes, in fact, tend to widen a lot, especially laterally, forming new tufts.
Given this tendency to widen and given the remarkable vigor of the root system, every three to four years can make it necessary to change the vase, replacing it with a larger one. Alternatively, when the plants have developed by filling the pot too much, you can decide to divide the clumps and obtain more plants in several separate pots.

The first order of business when it comes to agapanthus diseases is self-protection. Agapanthus has toxic sap that can irritate the skin. Always wear gloves, long sleeves, and protective eyewear when cutting agapanthus stems.

Diseases affecting agapanthus are often caused by excess moisture and excessive moisture.

Gray mold

Gray mold is an unsightly fungus that spreads on dying flowers. The mold needs standing water to grow, so avoid this by watering your agapanthus from below and space your plants to allow for good air circulation. If you already have mold, remove the affected parts of the plant and carefully spray the healthy parts with neem oil.


Anthracnose is another of the agapanthus diseases that spreads through water. It causes yellow or brown spots and eventual fall and can be treated the same way as gray mold.


Root rot and rot are both agapanthus problems that begin underground. They show themselves above ground in yellow leaves, withered and sometimes stunted plants. If you dig the plants, you will find decayed and discolored roots or bulbs.

If one of your plants is infected with root or bulbous rot, it cannot be saved. The only thing you can do is discard it to prevent the disease from spreading to other plants. First, cut the foliage to ground level and seal it in a plastic bag. Dig around the roots and lift them off the ground, removing as much of the soil around them as possible. Seal the roots in a plastic bag and throw them away and the foliage. Cover the place with a heavy layer of mulch - this will keep the sun away from any remaining roots and kill them.



Agapanthus, also known as Agapanthus Africanus, is a plant native to southern Africa. Its name means "flower of love" and derives from the Greek agape which means love and anthos which means flower. It has also gone down in history with the name of African lily. When handling agapanthus plants it is advisable to use gloves as they contain toxic substances that could cause irritation of the skin and mucous membranes. Although it is a plant native to southern Africa, it does not fear the cold very much. It is increasingly used for decorative borders and corners.


Lightweight, consisting of vegetable soil with the addition of a little sand to promote drainage, being a very greedy plant, it is good to add seasoned manure or enriched peat to the soil.


Agapanthus has an extremely erect and fleshy stem between 60 and 100 cm tall and produces many blue or blue but also white tubular flowers. It is capable of producing at least 2 or 3 inflorescences each season. The appearance of the inflorescences varies between the different species as they are composed of flowers of different shapes (funnel, trumpet, flat or tubular), up to composing inflorescences of 20-25 cm in diameter and more. The ribbon-like leaves are up to 80 cm long. This plant prefers the heat and goes into vegetative rest during the winter. It tends to grow extremely quickly so in spring it is good to repot it every now and then.


Frequent but moderate. This plant does not need a lot of water, it fears excessive stagnation and humidity. For this reason it should not be watered every day but only when you notice that the soil is excessively dry. We recommend watering once every 1-2 weeks with 1-2 glasses of water.


It adapts very well to the most varied positions, from full sun to partial shade.


Diseases and pests do not particularly afflict this plant. Agapanthus is really very strong and resistant. However, it is known that snails and slugs can be the most frequent enemies as they devour the leaves. In this case, you should contact your trusted gardener.

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Agapanthus flowering and pruning

Usually the plant of Agapanthus it begins to bloom in early summer. It has no specific needs for its maintenance. Pruning is done simply by removing the rotten or withered flowers.

In order not to make mistakes in choosing the best variety for your garden, it is good to contact an expert in the sector who can advise you correctly. To find out more, comment or contact me directly discovering my services at this link.

Video: Growing agapanthus from seed

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