Plant Profile – Agapanthus

Aka: common agapanthus, blue lily,  African lily, or lily of the Nile

The African lily is the Jewel of the July and August garden, Agapanthus come in all sizes, but how do you know which one would be best for you?

Although there are seven species in the genus we tend to concentrate on three main plants, and their hybrids, for growing here in the UK.

Evergreen varieties are generally Agapanthus praecox and Agapanthus africanus hybrids

Evergreens native to Natal and Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, they will grow up to a metre in height.

The deciduous varieties tend to be hybrids of Agapanthus campanulatus and are far more hardy. Smaller than the evergreens they tend to reach a flowering height of 60cm.

Hoylands, the holders of the National collection, recommends a well drained compost, add grit to allow for better drainage. Restrictive planting, plant more densely than you might think necessary as it encourages flowering and give your plants a high potash feed every 2 to 3 weeks from march to Sept.

Protect over winter, if they’re in a pot bring in to a cool dry place like a conservatory or garage if you dont have a glasshouse. If they’re in the ground give them a mulch of barkchippings.

Remember! If you really want to get some attention the quickest way is to plant your Agapanthus right by your gate! That way you can cheerfully accost random strangers, who will politely pretend to care, as you tell them all about it….

*Looks sideways to camera and winks theatrically*

Places to find Agapanthus

  • National collection – Hoylands, 54 Greenside Lane, Hoyland, South Yorkshire, S74 9PZ
  • Eddington house Nursery, Eddington Road, Nettlestone/Seaview, PO34 5EF, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
  • South Shoebury Hall garden – NGS & by appointment only – Shoeburyness, Essex SS3 9DN
  • Trebah Garden Trust , Mawnan Smith, Near Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 5JZ
  • Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Buller’s Way, Abbotsbury, nr Weymouth, Dorset, DT3 4LA.
  • National collection Appointment ONLY – Mr I Scroggy, Bali-Hai Mail Order Nursery, 42 Largy Road, Carnlough, Ballymena, Co Antrim, BT44 0EZ
  • National collection Appointment ONLY – Mike Grimshaw, Craig Garth, Green Street, Cam Green, Cam, Gloucestershire, GL11 5HW
  • National collection – Patrick Fairweather, Fairweathers Nursery, Hilltop Nursery, Beaulieu, Hampshire, SO42 7YR
  • National collection, check for open times – Mrs Ruth Penrose, Bowden Place, Sticklepath, Okehampton, Devon, EX20 2NL

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