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How to Grow Agapanthus – Ultimate Guide

Agapanthus is popularly known as the flower of love, although it also receives other common names such as African lily. Learn all about how to grow Agapanthus in this article.

Currently, there are about 395 different varieties of Agapanthus, with about 10 different types of flowers, covering a wide variety of colors and shapes.

The genus Agapanthus is very broad, as there are perennial and deciduous varieties, depending on the natural environment where they live and the rainfall in their area.

In gardening, it has many uses, such as creating flowerbeds or borders, but this is not its only application, as it is excellent as a cut flower.

How to Grow Agapanthus – Description

The Agapanthus is a perennial plant with tuberous roots, so it is not exactly a bulb, although it is usually included among the bulbous plants.

It can reach between 39″ and 59″ (1 meter and 1.5 meters) in height, although nowadays we can find dwarf varieties.

Agapanthus Flower

Agapanthus flowers appear at the end of a long, rigid stem. They are dense umbels, which offer 10 to 30 tubular flowers 0.6″ to 1.6″ (1.5 to 4 cm) long.

The clusters closely resemble ornamental onions.

The appearance of the flowers is fleshy and their coloring differs according to the variety, although the most common and popular are the blue and white Agapanthus.

agapanthus flower

Varieties of Agapanthus

The most popular varieties of Agapanthus that we can find for sale are:

Agapanthus africanus: Blue and white Agapanthus.

Agapanthus variegata.

Agapanthus dwarf.

Agapanthus campanulatus.

How to Grow Agapanthus Step by Step

The Agapanthus is a plant of great ornamental value, even when not in bloom, but to keep it outdoors the climate should be temperate. With light frosts, the tuberous roots should be protected with a bed of dry leaves, straw, compost…

It could tolerate cold up to 18 °F (-8ºC), but it would lose all its leaves. In these cases the best option is to plant in pots, so you can play with keeping it in a protected place during the winter.

The only “disadvantage” of potting is that the roots tend to cover the whole pot and break it, so it is advisable to change pot every year.

Its planting time is in early spring so that we will have flowers in summer.

If the Agapanthus has been planted for some time, it will flower in late spring.

how to grow agapanthus step by step

How To Grow Agapanthus in Gardens

To grow Agapanthus in the garden, follow these tips:

  1. If you’re wondering when to grow agapanthus, the right planting time is spring.
  2. The tuberous roots should be planted a few inches above the surface.
  3. The proper distance from the plant to plant is about 5″ to 24″ (13 to 60 cm).
  4. They prefer sunny situations but perfectly tolerate and tolerate semi-shade.

How to Care Agapanthus

Agapanthus can be perfectly naturalized in the garden, (as long as we do not have very strong frosts) offering interesting foliage throughout the year, and its spectacular flowering in late spring or early summer.

They are not too demanding plants, but it is convenient to know the best way to grow them.

how to care agapanthus


They are not very demanding bulbous plants, but they prefer rich and fertile soil, as well as good drainage.

If our garden does not offer these conditions, we can always improve fertility by adding compost and/or mature animal manure. For drainage, river sand, pine bark, gravel…always depending on the composition of the soil of our garden.

Remember that in places with light frosts, it is advisable to protect the roots by adding a layer of dry leaves.

Sun Exposure

Agapanthus prefers sunny locations, where it will offer its best blooms. In very dry climates, it can be placed in semi-shade, where it will also offer very good results.

Watering Agapanthus

Agapanthus watering should be abundant during growth and flowering, coinciding with the growing season.

When winter arrives, watering should be reduced and moderate, to keep the foliage until the following season.

Fertilizing Agapanthus

The ideal time to fertilize is at the end of winter. It is advisable to add fertilizers with low nitrogen content. For a correct growth of the agapanthus we recommend to fertilize them. 

Espoma Organic Bulb-tone 3-5-3 Natural & Organic Fertilizer and Plant Food for all Spring and Fall Bulbs. 4 lb. Bag. Use for Planting & Feeding to Promote Vibrant Blooms
  • FOR USE ON: Use Bulb-tone organic fertilizer for all Fall bulbs like tulips, daffodils, crocus & hyacinths and on Spring bulbs like gladioli and lilies
  • CONTAINS: Bulb-tone is a rich blend of the finest natural & organic ingredients enhanced with our exclusive Bio-tone formula; 3-5-3 Fertilizer analysis with 6% Calcium. Bulb-tone is environmentally Safe - No sludges or toxic ingredients
  • WHEN / HOW TO USE: Best to use Bulb-tone fertilizer when planting or feeding post bloom on spring flowering bulbs; place directly in the planting hole for new bulbs and sprinkle on the soil surface for established plants then water thoroughly. Bulb-tone is ready to use and requires no mixing

How to Grow Agapanthus – Pests

They are quite resistant to pests, as they produce phytoecdysteroids, compounds that repel most insects that could feed on their leaves. As with garlic or onions, agapanthus extract has antifungal properties (preventing fungal attack). In any case, they can be attacked by snails, but they are easy to avoid if we add wood ashes around them or prepare beer-based traps.

How to Propagate Agapanthus Step by Step

Agapanthus can be easily propagated using its seeds or by dividing its roots at the end of the summer. If we decide to multiply by seeds, we will not cut its flowers, we will let them dry in the bush until we observe (towards the end of the summer) that the pods change from green to brown:

  • We will collect the seeds, which we will keep until spring.
  • When spring arrives we will place them in trays, with good compost. Sprinkle the tray with the seeds, cover them lightly and water them well, taking care not to lift the seeds.
  • When the seedlings are large enough to handle, we will transfer them to pots and let them grow. These plants will take two or three years to flower.

The most common way of propagation is by division of the roots towards the end of summer:

  • It is advisable when the plants are very large because they end up leaving little space between each other. This process is done every 4 or 5 years.
  • One of its advantages is that, if we make few divisions, we will have flowers the following year without any problem.
  • The process is very simple, just lift the roots at the end of the summer, when there are no flowers left.
  • Proceed to cut and divide the roots of the plant with a sharp knife. If we make many divisions, it will take longer to flower.
how to propagate agapanthus

Where to Buy Agapanthus?

The price of Agapanthus will vary depending on its variety, even price differences can be observed depending on their colors, the blue Agapanthus is the most common, but we can also find purple, white, yellow, or lilac Agapanthus.

There are many places where you can buy Agapanthus seeds and bulbs. My recommendation is to do it online, as you will find the largest selection of colors and types of Agapanthus.

A good option is to do it through Amazon:

3 Bareroot Blue Agapanthus/Lily of The Nile
3 Bareroot Blue Agapanthus/Lily of The Nile
Beautiful Blue/ Purple Flowers; Height 1-3 ft
Agapanthus Africanus 'Lily of The Nile' - 10 Live Plants - 2' Pot Size - Blooming Groundcover
Agapanthus Africanus 'Lily of The Nile' - 10 Live Plants - 2" Pot Size - Blooming Groundcover
🌱 Robust Growth: Thrives in different soil types, making it easy for any gardener.

We hope this article on how to grow agapanthus will be useful. We recommend our article about how to grow amaryllis step by step.

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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