Agapanthus is a perennial herb from southern Africa, widely cultivated for its showy flowers.
Its usual growth habit is to form clumps of plants, each up to 75 cm (2.5 ft) tall and made up of deep green, arching sword-shaped leaves in a fountain-like arrangement. The underground parts are thick rhizomes and fleshy roots spreading in all directions.
The flowers are funnel-shaped, up to 5 cm (2 in) long and either deep blue, lavender or less commonly white. They are held in rounded clusters high above the plant, atop tall green stems, and come into bloom from spring through summer, extending into autumn in some areas, depending on the prevailing climate.
Fertilized flowers are followed by small, elongated seedpods becoming brown when dry and contain tiny, glossy black seed with a wrinkled, papery surface.
Agapanthus is commonly cultivated as a ground-cover, border plant or in garden beds for its showy flowering display. It is also ideally suited for growing in large tubs, containers and pots.
The flowering stems are suitable for floral arrangements and are cut when the flowers have started to open. Stems with the flowers falling off when shaken are usually too old and should be avoided. After cutting, the stems are placed cut end in cold water with a floral preservative added to increase longevity. Their vase-life is about 4 to 7 days. If being shipped, they should be kept at between 4 and 8 °C (39 and 46 °F).
Although naturally adapted to cool climates, Agapanthus grows and flowers reliably in moderately humid subtropical and tropical mid- to high-elevation climates, generally in areas with annual lows of 8 to 20 °C, annual highs of 17 to 29 °C and annual rainfall of 500 to 2500 mm. However, plants may fail to flower in areas where the average low of the coldest month is above 15 °C (59 °F).
New plants are usually started from divisions but can also be raised from seed. Seed germination is best when lightly covered and in a free-draining potting mix. They germinate in about four to six weeks and seedling plants start to flower when about two to three years old.
Agapanthus performs best on rich, free-draining loam and sand soils of a moderately acid to neutral nature, generally with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, and on sites with full to partial sun exposure.
Agapanthus is recorded as having naturalised in more than one country, but there does not appear to be any record of it anywhere as a serious weed or invasive species. It is assessed as a low weed risk species for Hawaii, by the Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment project (HPWRA).
Adams, C. D. 1972, Flowering plants of Jamaica, University of the West Indies, Mona, Greater Kingston
Chaplin, L. T. & Brandies M. M. 1998, The Florida Gardener’s Book of Lists, Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas
Howard, T. M. 2001, Bulbs for warm climates, 1st ed, University of Texas Press, Austin
Hunter, N. T & Mitchell, H. 1994, The art of floral design, Delmar Publishers, Albany, New York
Iremonger, S. 2002, A guide to plants in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, University of the West Indies Press, Kingston, Jamaica
Jones, R. 2001, Caring for cut flowers, 2nd ed, Landlinks Press, Victoria, Australia
Mackey, B. & Brandies, M. M., 2001, A cutting garden for Florida : grow marvelous flowers for bouquets in your Florida home landscape, 3rd edition, revised and expanded, B.B. Mackey Books, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Oakman, H. 1995, Harry Oakman's what flowers when : the complete guide to flowering times in tropical and subtropical gardens, University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, Queensland
Perry, F. & Hay, R. 1982, A field guide to tropical and subtropical plants, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York
Randall, R. P. 2002, A global compendium of weeds, R.G. and F.J. Richardson Press, Melbourne
Randall, R. P. 2007, The introduced flora of Australia and its weed status, Cooperative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management, Glen Osmond, South Australia
Smith, P. P. 2018, The book of seeds : a life-size guide to six hundred species from around the world, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago
Standley P. C., & Steyermark J. A. 1946 to 1976, Flora of Guatemala (25 volumes), Botany series, Publication, Chicago Natural History Museum, Chicago
This website is provided for general information only. Iplantz makes no statements, representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this website and does not accept any liability to you or any other person for the information which is provided or referred to on this website.
In particular, Iplantz does not represent or warrant that any dataset or the data it contains is accurate, authentic or complete, or suitable for your needs. Changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of datasets and their contents.
To the maximum extent permitted by law, Iplantz accepts no liability whatsoever to any person arising from or connected with the use of or reliance on any information or advice provided on this website or incorporated into it by reference, including any dataset or data it contains. No responsibility is taken for any information or services that may appear on any linked websites.