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A Guide to Growing Agapanthus

Agapanthus are perennial plants that produce large, voluptuous flowers in a wonderful array of colours, from blues and whites through to purples and lilacs.

Although native to Southern Africa, the plant has become a popular addition to gardens across the UK, where its rugged nature allows it to survive even the coldest winters, and its colourful blooms shine bright throughout the summer.

There are countless varieties of agapanthus to choose between, each with their own shades of colours and different quirks.

It can become the colourful centrepiece of an ornamental garden, if planted and cared for correctly.

In this guide, we’ll look at how to grow agapanthus and discuss some of the most popular varieties available in the UK, so you can decide which will be best for your garden.

 

What Are Agapanthus?

Agapanthus are a genus of flowering plant that originated in Southern Africa. However, they can be found across the world from the United Kingdom to New Zealand, where they have been deliberately or accidentally introduced.

Misleadingly, there are certain varieties of agapanthus that are also known as the African lily or Lily of the Nile. However agapanthus are neither a type of lily nor are they from the Nile!

Agapanthus are beloved by gardeners because the opportunities for breeding new varieties have proven to be immense.

At Eddington House Nurseries, we stock upwards of 50 varieties of agapanthus, and that’s continually expanding too.

Agapanthus are incredibly variable, ranging in height from 20 centimetres to well over a metre tall. They are characterised by drooping, colourful flowers that generally bloom in mid-to-late summer. They’re hardy, perennial plants that can survive in tough climates, and they flourish throughout the United Kingdom.

The many varieties of agapanthus can be split into two primary groups: evergreen and deciduous.

Evergreen Agapanthus

Evergreen varieties are derived from Agapanthus praecox and Agapanthus africanus. They have large, strap-shaped leaves and bulbous flower stems that rise well above the ground. They are generally taller with much larger flowerheads.

They put their energy into producing one large flower on a thick stem. Evergreens are less hardy than deciduous types, but can still survive down to -10 degrees Celsius.

Deciduous Agapanthus

Deciduous varieties are derived primarily from Agapanthus campanulatus and are hardier than evergreens, surviving down to -15 degrees Celsius. Deciduous types will die back down into the ground and disappear, before emerging again in the spring.

They are shorter than evergreens but very free flowering. Deciduous varieties require less care and attention in comparison to evergreens; despite this, they will produce taller plants and larger flowers when they’re in bloom.

Agapanthus Growing Tips

Location

Agapanthus grow well in the UK climate, but only if they have access to bright sunlight. These border plants love the sun and very sharp drainage, so try to position them well in your garden when you pick up your cuttings from the nursery. Give them maximum sun and make sure they are well watered to give them the best chance of thriving.

Patience

 

You can grow agapanthus species directly from seed, but it can take a long time to see fruition and may need three or four years before they’re ready to flower. Growing agapanthus from division is a quicker way to add colour to your garden, but you still need to patient with them. Agapanthus don’t need too much care or attention, but it can take a long time before they’re at their best.

Pots, or not?

 

Agapanthus are well suited for growing in pots, allowing them to be moved into a conservatory or greenhouse during the winter. They’re also perfect for bordering gardens or flowerbeds, creating a tall yet colourful line of border plants. They require well-drained soil, and you will see the best results when planting them in March or April. It’s a good idea to add in a little compost or plant feed to boost the nutrients in the soil. Overcrowded plants should be re-potted in spring.

 

Feeding

 

For optimum results, apply an Agapanthus plant food to the surface of the soil. It is best done first in March, and again in May and in August. Meanwhile, for those varieties in containers, you may want to try a liquid feed during the growing season or a fertiliser with high potash content.

 

 

Flowering and dividing

 

Plants that don’t flower, or are over-crowded, may be divided in late summer (after flowering) or in early spring. Be careful though; Agapanthus doesn’t respond well to being moved to pots that are too spacious because it will likely lead to leaf growth rather than flower production.

 

Calendar

Different varieties of agapanthus flower at different points during summer. Exactly when your plants flower depends on the species, but as a general guide the earliest begin to bloom in mid-summer from June onwards, and the latest bloomers come into flower in August and continue into September and even October. The length of time that agapanthus plants are in flower also depends on the variety, although most have at least eight weeks of colourful blooms in them. Stems should be cut down after flowering, unless you wish to leave them for winter structure in the garden. During winter, you need to mulch the pots to help protect them from frost. This is particularly important for evergreen types, which aren’t as hardy as deciduous varieties.

 

Why won’t my agapanthus flower?

We are asked often if Agapanthus must be grown with their roots heavily-congested.

The answer is ‘no’ – that’s a myth.

As has been described above, they are hungry feeders, so need a little soil in the pot, and should be watered often.

However, if your plant isn’t flowering, then try the following:

 

  • Change its location to sunnier spot
  • Feed it fertiliser with a high potash content
  • For evergreen varieties, check it is protected from frost
  • Decide if it is over-congested and, if so, divide accordingly

Agapanthus Varieties

There are a wide variety of agapanthus varieties that can be grown in gardens across the UK. Different varieties are most often distinguished by their flowers, which differ in shape and colour.

Here are our favourite types of agapanthus, all of which are well suited to growing in gardens in the UK.

The following guide notes the average height of each agapanthus variety; whether or not it flowers in the first year of planting; if the plant is classified as evergreen, semi-evergreen or deciduous; and whether or not the plant has been given an Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Agapanthus ‘African Sky’

Mid-blue to deep-blue flowers with a large, rounded shape, held on upright stems. Deep green, evergreen leaves make African Sky an attractive variety. Best grown in pots, as they need some protection through winter.

1 metre height
First-year flowering
Evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Arctic Star’

With wonderful white flowers and contrasting black anthers, Arctic Star is a best-selling variety of agapanthus that grows and flowers quickly. Strong, durable, and robust, Arctic Star needs little help to flourish.

65 cm in height
First-year flowering
Semi-evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Big Blue’

A tall, late-flowering plant that produces fantastically ‘Big Blue’ flowers, supported by strong stems.

80 cm in height
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Black Magic’

Dark, brooding, yet strangely beautiful, Black Magic grows deep black buds that open to reveal dark, indigo-coloured flowers. Black Magic flowers slowly but surely, and will leave an unmistakable impression on your garden.

80 cm in height
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Black Pantha’

Black Pantha grows dark globes of trumpet-shaped flowers that offer deep shades of blue and purple. Dark summer flowers contrast with evergreen leaves.

1 metre in height
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Blue Ice’

Beautiful Blue Ice blooms a calming shade of pale blue mid-season. It’s characterised by large flowers that colour wonderfully throughout summer, offering a lovely addition to any ornamental garden.

80 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Bressingham Blue’

Bressingham Blue offers gardeners a clear blue bloom that verges on light purple or lilac. One of the most robust and hardy agapanthus you could choose to plant, with deciduous foliage that springs into life in late summer.

80 cm in height
First-year flowering
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Bridal Bouquet’

If you’re looking for an early season, evergreen flowerer, then Bridal Bouquet could be the best choice for you. Large, open-headed, white flowers come into their own from June to August, and look great in a summer bridal bouquet.

60 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Brilliant Blue’

Small, short flowers that grow in marvellous quantities offering a sheen of ‘Brilliant Blue’ across your garden. Fantastic for smaller spaces, offering deep blues that are incredibly vivid despite their small stature.

50 cm in height
First-year flowering
Semi-evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Celebration’

With pendulous, pale-blue flowers that stand firmly upright on tall stems, Celebration is a striking agapanthus that will stand out amongst other flowers.

80 cm in height
First-year flowering
Deciduous
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Charlotte’

With unique, star-shaped flowers coloured a beautiful shade of blue, Charlotte is an agapanthus that will form quite the sight from late spring all the way through to autumn.

50 cm in height
First-year

Agapanthus ‘Double Diamond’

One of the smaller, shorter agapanthus, what Double Diamond lacks in height it more than makes up for in colour and attraction. This is one of the best selling varieties, fitting perfectly into small pots and complementing any garden with its lovely double white flowers and yellow stamens.

20 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Enigma’

Enigma is a variety of agapanthus that truly is an enigma of colours! Large flower heads bloom in the early days of summer, producing petals that are white at the top but mysteriously turn into a pale shade of blue as they reach the stems.

50 cm in height
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Ever Sapphire’

Spindly, yet elegant stems rise high and support bright blue flowers that need little attention to flourish all through the summer. Early, quick flowering make Ever Sapphire an evergreen that will bring colour into your garden for most of the year.

50 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Ever White’

Ever White has wonderfully long stems that rise to produce large, white flowers. It’s similar in appearance to Ever Sapphire, and the white can complement the blue majestically.

50 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Fireworks’

Fireworks has been the winner of multiple flower show awards over the years, and you’ll quickly realise why when the small yet vibrant bi-coloured petals start to flourish in summer. Bright white tips lead back to dark blue flowers, creating a powerful light-dark contrast.

50 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Flower of Love’

Few other agapanthus have such a deep shade of blue-purple as the Flower of Love. This flower really causes a scene in the garden and stands out powerfully amongst lighter shades of blue and purple. A hardy plant.

60 cm in height
First-year flowering
Deciduous
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Glacier Stream’

White flowers with a deep purple tinge running through them. The hardy Agapanthus Glacier Stream flowers early in the season.

80 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Glen Avon’

Glen Avon has small flowers found in a large but beautiful mass, blooming a bright blue colour with darker blue stripes from a large flower head.

1 metre in height
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Golden Drop’

Small, compact flowers that bloom blue in summer with golden-edged foliage offer a unique tinge to the Agapanthus Golden Drop.

30 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Goldstrike’

If you’re looking for golden foliage, then no other agapanthus will top the golden-tinged greenery offered by Goldstrike. The golden foliage is marvellously complemented by small but colourful blue and white flowers.

50 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Graskop’

Graskop is a unique, clump-forming agapanthus that produces light green leaves. In summer, Graskop produces almost black buds that droop over before revealing violet-purple flowers.

90 cm in height
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Hanneke’

Pendulous, blue flowers verging on a violet-purple colour form on strong, upright stems that stand tall. Hanneke is an elegant, tall, deep-coloured addition to ornamental gardens.

80 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Icicles’

A tall, elegant, yet extremely hardy and robust agapanthus variety, Icicles produces beautiful white flowers with complementary yellow anthers.

90 cm in height
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Indigo Dreams’

Indigo Dreams is an extremely hardy agapanthus with robust, tall stems that support large numbers of small umbels, which, as their name suggests, are coloured a dark shade of purple.

70 cm in height
First-year flowering
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Inkspots’

One of the hardiest and tallest agapanthus varieties that can be grown in the UK. Inkspots has dark green leaves and long sturdy stems, which support vibrant blue-purple umbels that bloom in summer.

1.5 metres in height
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Jacaranda’

Jacaranda is a tall, hardy, best-selling agapanthus that flowers early in the season. It produces rounded, trumpet-shaped umbels that are blue-purple with a deeper violet stripe running down the middle.

70 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Jessica’

Dark blue flowers grow freely and in large numbers from strong, supporting stems. Jessica is a standout agapanthus that brings bold, dark colours into your garden.

60 cm in height
First-year flowering
Deciduous
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Lapis Lazuli’

With early flowers that last for much of the flowering season in the UK, Lapis Lazuli is a long-lived agapanthus with lovely, light purple flowers that bloom in abundance.

60 cm in height
First-year flowering
Semi-evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Lavender Haze’

With tall stems and wide flowers, Lavender Haze is a classic agapanthus that rises above the competition. The big flower heads support large numbers of blue-purple flowers.

1 metre in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Liam’s Lilac’

Lovely, lilac-coloured flowers supported by stems that can grow up to one metre high make Liam’s Lilac a marvellous agapanthus that stands tall throughout the flowering season.

1 metre in height
Semi-evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Little Dutch White’

Little Dutch White is a hardy, evergreen agapanthus with tall, green stems that support brilliant white trumpet-shaped flowers during summer.

70 cm in height
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Megan’s Mauve’

If you’re looking for size then nothing tops Megan’s Mauve, one of the largest flowering agapanthus you could plant in your garden. Deep purple buds, mauve florets, and dark mauve stripes make this a tall, purple plant that really stands out.

1 metre in height
Evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Midnight Madness’

Large, dark blue flowers supported by tall green stems. This new variety of agapanthus was named Midnight Madness by its original breeder after a car ran into their front garden, causing chaos in the middle of the night!

80 cm in height
First-year flowering
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Moonlight Star’

Evergreen leaves and tall stems support star-shaped umbels with blue-white flowers that have darker, violet stripes down the middle. Moonlight Star is a hardy plant with a relatively late but long flowering season.

60 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Navy Blue’

As its name suggests, Navy Blue produces dark, navy blue blooms. The deep, dark blue flowers are complemented by dark green stems that support large flowering clusters.

60 cm in height
First-year flowering
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Night Sky’

Dark blue, broad flowers extend from the top of tall stems with petals that are lightly striped for contrast. Night Sky makes a fantastic addition to borders, as they’ll stand tall against their surroundings.

80 cm in height
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Pretty Heidi’

Pretty Heidi is a pretty, free-flowering agapanthus that produces rich blue flowers in summer. A lovely, quaint, deciduous plant.

60 cm in height
First-year flowering
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Pretty Sandy’

Pretty Sandy is another pretty deciduous tree that produces charming flowers, this time in a light shade of blue-violet.

60 cm in height
First-year flowering

Agapanthus ‘Purple Emperor’

A wonderfully hardy agapanthus, Purple Emperor offers beautifully deep, dark blue and purple flowers through its flowering season.

70 cm in height
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Purple Heart’

Another thoroughly hardy deciduous agapanthus, Purple Heart produces beautiful, lilac-purple flowers in summer.

60 cm in height
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Queen Mum’

Queen Mum is the queen of the agapanthus world, offering tall stems that support large and colourful flower heads. The extra-large flowers are bi-coloured, offering a charming contrast of light blue and white petals that bloom early and last late into the season.

1 metre in height
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Regal Beauty’

Regal Beauty is an agapanthus that’s truly fit for royalty. The enormous flower heads can grow up to 30 centimetres wide, with deep violet-blue florets producing an astounding mass of colour when they are at the height of their flowering season.

1 metre in height
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Royal Velvet’

Tall, deciduous agapanthus with silky-smooth, velvety flowers, Royal Velvet wouldn’t be out of place in a colourful royal garden.

75 cm in height
First-year flowering
Deciduous
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Sandringham’

A tall agapanthus with lovely light blue flowers that are verging on a shade of lilac, Sandringham is a wonderful plant that stands composed, yet doesn’t steal the show.

80 cm in height
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Silver Baby’

A best-selling variety that offers understated yet strangely distinctive silver-white flowers with a subtle blue tinge. Silver Baby is a free-flowering plant that fits well in any surroundings.

50 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Silver Moon’

Hardy and tall, Silver Moon is a free-flowering agapanthus that will quickly fill the space with sliver-tinged petals framing a blue-purple flower.

70 cm in height
First-year flowering
Deciduous
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Snow Cloud’

Snow-white, trumpet-shaped flowers are grouped in wonderfully huge globes above tall, elegant green stems. Snow Cloud is an agapanthus that will stand proudly at the back of any garden. A cut above the rest.

1 metre in height
Evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Snow Crystal’

Snow Crystal has large flower heads standing on tall, green stems, which support vast numbers of small, white flowers that bloom during summer.

80 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘Star Quality’

Fantastically large flower heads support generous numbers of subtle, pale-blue flowers that bloom in contrast to the dark blue stripes that appear down the middle. They truly have a Star Quality!

60 cm in height
First-year flowering
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Strawberry Ice’

This unique agapanthus flowers late in summer, but when it does the white petals contrast beautifully with a deep, pink stripe that gives the plant its name: Strawberry Ice.

60 cm in height
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Streamline’

Streamline has short but strong stems supporting large clumps of green leaves and larger, open flowers that turn light shades of blue and purple in the summer months.

40 cm in height
Semi-evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Sweet Surprise’

Small yet dramatic, Sweet Surprise is exactly what its name suggests. Light blue flowers are framed by a striking purple middle line and supported by short yet defiant stems.

50 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Taw Valley’

Deep blue flowers with stripes are produced in clusters that hang and droop loosely from the tall, straight, but thin stems of the Taw Valley.

80 cm in height
Deciduous

Agapanthus ‘Twister’

A best-selling agapanthus variety, Twister is both hardy and bi-coloured. Large, trumpet-shaped flowers offer white flares at the end, contrasted with a dark blue base. A beautiful variety that certainly stands out.

50 cm in height
First-year flowering
Semi-evergreen
AGM

Agapanthus ‘White Heaven’

A large, tall agapanthus that reaches dizzying heights in the garden, White Heaven has a long flowering season that sees large white blooms brighten up its surroundings.

1 metre in height
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘White Pixie’

Small, pixie-like flowers that bloom a bright white colour in summer top short yet strong stems. White Pixie may be small in stature, but it still makes for a standout agapanthus in the garden.

50 cm in height
First-year flowering
Evergreen

Agapanthus ‘Windsor Grey’

An incredibly tall, hardy agapanthus that can survive adverse conditions, Windsor Grey produces large white-grey flowers that bloom in healthy numbers.

85 cm in height
Semi-evergreen

If you’d like any advice on growing agapanthus or wish to discuss the best varieties to plant in your garden, contact Eddington House Nursery today and speak with a member of our knowledgeable team.