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Agapanthus - African Blue Lily (Perennials)

Agapanthus campanulatus

A very attractive genus of about ten species. There are many cultivars, at least one of which no garden should be without. The flowers are tubular, usually blue and carried in a globe, up to 20cm (8in) across, at the top of a tall, leafless stem. The foliage is strap-like and erupts from the base of the plant like a fountain. Agapanthus make excellent plants for the border or for containers. They flower in summer and make good cut flowers. The majority are hardy.

Agapanthus ‘Castle of Mey’


Cultivation

They will grow in any reasonably fertile soil in full sun. Although they prefer a moist soil they will tolerate a degree of dryness. In cold areas they will appreciate a warm mulch during the winter.

Propagation

Although they can be grown from seed sown in autumn they are more reliable grown from divisions taken in spring.

Agapanthus africanus

A late-summer species with deep blue flowers. The flower stems reach 1m (3ft) tall S 50cm (20in). ‘Albus’ has white flowers.

Agapanthus ‘Blue Giant’

Excellent blue-coloured flowers carried on tall (1.2m/4ft) stems. S 50cm (20in).

Agapanthus campanulatus

A fine species that has produced a number of popular cultivars. It produces large (up to 20cm/8in) heads of variable blue or white flowers in mid to late summer. H 60–120m (2–4ft) S 50cm (20in). ‘Isis’ is one of the most popular cultivars with deep blue flowers in late summer. The variety albidus has white flowers.

Agapanthus ‘Dorothy Palmer’

Agapanthus ‘Castle of Mey’

This is a shorter variety that carries lovely deep blue flowers. It blooms in mid to late summer, and is excellent placed in a position at the front of a border. H 60cm (24in) S 30cm (12in).

Agapanthus ‘Gayle’s Lilac’

This has lilac flowers so it is good for those who want a paler form. H 60cm (24in) S 30cm (12in). A. ‘Golden Rule’ has yellow edges to its strap-like leaves. The flowers are light blue and appear mid to late summer. H 60cm (24in) S 30cm (12in).

Agapanthus Headbourne hybrids

This term covers a collection of hybrids of varying blues, originally selected by Lewis Palmer for their hardiness. ‘Loch Hope’ is an excellent tall variety. It has deep blue flowers which appear from late summer into autumn. H 1.5m (5ft) S 50cm (20in). ‘Peter Pan’ is a short form, suitable for small pots. H 60cm (24in) S 30cm (12in).

Other plants

There are many more cultivars to explore, including ‘Dorothy Palmer’. Nearly all are worth considering. 

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