No summer garden is complete without Agapanthus. The blue varieties are perfect with dark red Dahlias, brown Heleniums, yellow or red Hemerocallis, and all manner of Kniphofias. I plant white varieties with silver Artemisias.
Agapanthus in containers are also a must for summer. Plant them in tubs or large pots. Their bold architectural heads of flowers make a perfect backdrop for Pelargoniums. After flowering Agapanthus seedheads, first bright green, later turning brown, continue to provide invaluable bold graphic shapes into the late autumn.
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AGAPANTHUS. . (Liliaceae). Agapanthus, despite their misleading English common name: “Lily of The Nile”, are native to South Africa not Egypt. They have long been cultivated in this country; the first Agapanthus to have flowered in England was recorded at Hampton Court in 1697.
Agapanthus like full sun and rich, moist, well-drained soil. They detest dry sand. Agapanthus make excellent subjects for pots and tubs.
In general the largest flowered and broadest leaved Agapanthus tend to be tender and should be grown in containers and be brought in for the winter. Smaller flowered varieties with narrower leaves are much more hardy and suitable for planting in the open garden. In coastal and London gardens all varieties can normally be considered hardy - for instance the magnificent A. White Heaven grows happily in gardens in Woodbridge and Chelsea.
Agapanthus make excellent subjects for pots and tubs. Hardy varieties in pots can be left outside all year but should be lain on their sides in winter - this will stop them getting too wet. Tender varieties in pots can be brought into a heated conservatory where they will continue growing through the winter - evergreen varieties produce larger flowers and taller stems if kept in continuous growth. Agapanthus in pots should be repotted each year in April into a larger container.
Over a period of years Agapanthus will make large clumps and may require splitting. Agapanthus may be split in early April. When dividing Agapanthus, it is advisable to divide only into a few large multicrowned chunks. If split into small pieces Agapanthus will take time to recover and recommence flowering.
Contrary to gardening folk law, Agapanthus for optimum flowering should not be pot bound. If excessively pot bound Agapanthus can actually refuse to flower. The essential conditions for an abundance of flower are:
Agapanthus only flower well as mature plants.
Agapanthus must be grown in a rich fertile soil - they detest thin sandy soils.
Agapanthus need some sun but will still flower in part shade.
Agapanthus need to receive an abundance of water in the lead up to flowering, ie May-July.
During May, June and July, Agapanthus should be fed with Tomato fertiliser every two weeks.
Agapanthus seedheads are decorative - I never cut them off till they disintegrate and this does not seem to weaken the plants or decrease the flower count in the following year.
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