Agapanthus / Lily of the Nile

Flamboyant, long-lasting summer flowers for garden, container, or vase, Agapanthus are summer-flowering perennials, also referred to as Lily of the Nile or African Lily.

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The Agapanthus genus contains summer-flowering perennials, commonly called lily of the Nile or African lily. In frost-free regions, lily of the Nile may extend its summer bloom well into fall. Borne on stiff, fleshy, leafless scapes, spherical clusters of funnel- or bell-shaped flowers tower above dense tufts of long, strappy, arching leaves, which are typically dark green, but some varieties have variegation or a bluish hue. The flamboyant flowers range in color from white and pale blue to deep violet blue. Nectar and pollen rich, the  long-lasting blooms attract pollinators to the garden, but they also make lovely cut flowers.

Agapanthus is a genus of 6 species of herbaceous, fleshy-rooted, rhizomatous plants: A. africanus  and A. praecox  (sometimes called A. orientalis or A. umbellatus) are evergreen species (USDA Zones 8-10) that are similar in appearance and most often grown in home gardens; A. campanulatus, A. caulescens, A. coddii, and A. inapertus are deciduous species that are not readily available commercially. However, there are numerous hybrids (hardy in Zones 7-11), and when grown in close proximity, agapanthus easily hybridize with each other. The plants range in size from dwarf species that grow to about 18 inches tall to large cultivars that reach around 4 feet tall. In mild regions, lily of the Nile varieties are shown to best effect when grouped or massed in landscapes, but they also make great accent and container plants, which allows them to be brought indoors for winter. In fact, they bloom best when rootbound, so they shouldn’t be repotted until they are growing out of their pot.

Agapanthus grow easily in sunny to partly shady locations with sandy to loamy soil. Although the plants tolerate heat well, afternoon shade may be beneficial in hot summer climates. They do not tolerate waterlogged soils but do resist disease and pests, including deer.

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