African Lily

There are many uses for the lovely African lily.

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Plant type: Perennial
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 to 10

Agapanthus features ball-like clusters of flowers rising on sturdy stems above dark green, straplike foliage. Evergreen and deciduous types available. Blue or white flowers in summer. Grows from rhizomes. Plant size ranges two to three feet tall and as wide.

How to use it: Plant in mass or as a specimen. Use in a mixed perennial border, containers or edging. In colder areas, plant in a container and bring inside for the winter. Cutflower. Dried seedheads also can be used in floral arranging.

Culture: Prefers full sun to part shade and a well-drained soil. When planted in full sun, provide extra moisture. This plant does not tolerate wet sites. Let plants dry out between waterings. Once established, it is drought tolerant. Primarily propagated through division. Divide every five years or so. When planted in a container, African lily likes to be rootbound, so wait until then to divide. No serious problems with pests or diseases, but may have problems with slugs and snails.

Special notes: Native to South Africa. Drought tolerant.

Selected cultivars

  • 'Peter Pan'. Dwarf cultivar that stands one foot tall. Has blue flowers.

  • A. africanus. An evergreen species that offers brilliant deep blue flowers.

  • A. orientalis. Also known as A. praecox or A. umbellatus. Sometimes confused with A. africanus. Evergreen leaves are longer and broader than those of A. africanus. Some selections offer double blooms and variegated foliage. Has blue or white flowers. 'Albus' has white flowers. 'Flore Pleno' produces double blue blooms. 'Variegatus' has striped leaves.

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