Agapanthus - Agapanto - Liliaceae - How to care for and grow Agapanthus plants

Agapanthus - Agapanto - Liliaceae - How to care for and grow Agapanthus plants



Headbourne hybrid






: Angiosperms


: Monocotyledons











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Agapanthus includes perennials, native to South Africa, known as African lilies or agapanthus, very easy to grow that produce spectacular flowering throughout the summer.

They are plants with rhizomatous roots and form real bushes with their ribbon-like, robust leaves curved downwards. There are deciduous and perennial leaf plants which are the most widespread and known with wider and longer leaves than the previous ones and larger inflorescences.

The flowers of Agapanthus are bell-shaped and gathered in inflorescences at the apexes of long flower stems, mostly of a more or less intense blue color, often tinged with purple even if there are varieties with white flowers.


We have numerous species of Agapanthus which can be deciduous or perennial but even more numerous are the hybrids that make the world of Agapanthus extremely varied:


(deciduous leaf)

L'Agapanthus campanulatus (photo below) is certainly the best known and most widespread species with its numerous hybrids known with the name of Headbourne by way of showy inflorescences.

Among the different species it is the most robust plant and usually reaches a height of up to one meter. They are deciduous in the sense that the leaves are lost during the winter season and the plant overwinters as a rhizome.

It is a plant that blooms in the summer.



L'Agapanthus inapertus (photo below) is a deciduous species native to South Africa with more or less intense blue flowers that bloom during the summer


(perennial leaf)

L'Agapanthus africanus (photo below) is also known as Agapanthus umbellatus. It is a not very widespread species, native to the south west of the Cape Province, fairly abundant with white or more frequently dark blue flowers up to one meter high which appear in early autumn.


(perennial leaf)

L'Agapanthus praecox (photo below) is a species with perennial leaves that produces flowers of a more or less intense blue color.


In Italy the Agapanthus more common are those with perennial leaves with much larger leaves and inflorescences than those with deciduous leaves.

It is important to know, at the time of purchase, if it is a deciduous or perennial species in order to understand the cultivation needs of the plant to arrange it in the right way as they are plants that do not like to be handled.

The plants of Agapanthus deciduous leaves can be kept outdoors all year round only in areas where temperatures do not drop below zero degrees centigrade for very short periods. In this case it will be enough to protect the earth with leaves or peat to ensure the survival of the rhizomes. If this is not the case, then it is necessary to take the pot to repair and place it in a dark area of ​​the house in a place sheltered from the cold. In both cases, however, irrigation during these periods must be extremely limited, just enough not to completely dry out the soil. So if the pot is kept outdoors, also protect it with a transparent plastic sheet.

The Agapanthus perennial leaves, on the other hand, can be kept outdoors during the winter only in areas where they are infrequent and long-lasting. Otherwise, even in this case it is good to keep the Agapanthus in pots and not in the ground and sheltered during the winter.Only in areas where winter temperatures do not drop below -2 ° C, plants can be kept in the ground. At the most you can damage the leaves that can turn yellow and fall but the rhizomes are able to withstand these temperatures.

They are plants that are generally sold directly in pots and the transplant must be done in late spring. In consideration of the fact that they are plants that do not tolerate being transplanted, place it at a distance of at least 60 cm between one plant and another for medium-sized cultivars. In this way, for at least 3-4 years you can do no further transplants.

Starting in spring, when the risk of spring gelatos is averted, Agapanthus plants can be transplanted outdoors or the winter protection can be removed.

The rhizomes must be placed in the ground for a good 8 cm of depth by placing a single agapanto in a pot of 20 cm of diameter and no more than 2 in a pot of 25 cm of diameter as it must be taken into account that the plants branches abundantly.

A good soil can be formed by a part of fertile soil, one part of peat and one part of sand in equal parts, taking care to place numerous pieces of earthenware on the bottom of the pot to facilitate the drainage of irrigation water.

Until the first shoots have appeared, the pot with the plant kept in a sheltered place and should be watered in moderation. During this period it is also advisable to fertilize every two / three weeks using a liquid fertilizer diluted in the irrigation water.

Generally sunny positions are optimal for the agapanthus plant but it would be preferable that during the hottest hours of the day the direct sun does not arrive.


L'Agapanthus during the vegetative period, therefore starting from spring and throughout the summer, Agapanthus is watered generously but avoiding excesses, waiting for the soil to dry between one irrigation and another.

During the other periods the waterings must be considerably reduced, just so much so as not to completely dry out the soil.


They are not plants that like to be handled so repotting is not done often but only when a real need arises because the pot has become too small to contain the plant.


Starting from spring agapanthus a liquid fertilizer diluted in irrigation water is administered every 2-3 weeks until the birth of new shoots.


To have abundant flowering it is important to fertilize the plant every two / three weeks until the buds appear, which for most species occurs during the summer period.


They are plants that cannot be pruned. Only the leaves and flowers that gradually dry up are eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.


It is multiplied by division of the plant which must be done in March / April or by seed but in this case it must be borne in mind that it will take several years before the plant blooms.


They are not plants particularly subject to diseases and the most frequent enemies can be:

Snails and snails

Snails and slugs damage the green parts of the agapanthus by devouring large pieces of leaf.
Remedies: if you cannot find them and eliminate them mechanically, use the appropriate poisoned baits, easily available from a good nurseryman.


When handling Agapanthus It is advisable to use gloves as they contain toxic substances that could cause irritation of the skin and mucous membranes.

Video: The Garden Gurus - Dividing your plants