Planting Agapanthus

Agapanthus is a perennial that showcases clusters of blue or white flowers on long stems in the summer. The common name is Lily-of-the-Nile, although these flowers are neither lilies nor are they native to the Nile River region. The genus Agapanthus includes several species, which originated in southern Africa. Accordingly, they prefer warmer climates in zones 7 - 10. Plant them toward the back of a sunny border for spectacular mid-summer color!

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What You Need To Plant Agapanthus

  • Shovel or garden spade
  • Compost 
  • Sunny location
  • Water source
  • Frost-proof container

Where to Plant Agapanthus

Agapanthus requires full sun, with at least 6 – 8 hours of direct light per day. They prefer rich, moist, well-drained soil and will not tolerate waterlogged soil. They are not picky about the soil pH level, except Agapanthus africanus, which prefers soil on the acidic side. Plant them approximately 2 inches deep, just deep enough to cover the rhizomes. The pointed ends of the rhizomes should be facing up in the planting hole.

Agapanthus Spacing

Space your agapanthus plants approximately 12 – 18 inches apart, center on center. This plant looks best planted in groups, and you can mix and match different color varieties. Clumps will expand over time and can be divided. Give them plenty of space from neighboring bulbs, as agapanthus roots can outcompete other plants.

Steps To Plant Agapanthus

To plant an agapanthus, dig a hole deep enough to cover the rhizomes and wide enough to accommodate the root ball. Top dress the root zone with high quality compost, which will feed the soil and reduce moisture evaporation. Saturate the planting hole with water to allow the soil to fill in any air pockets around the roots. Continue to water regularly during the growing season to establish a strong root system.

Step 1 - Select a sunny, fertile location

Step 2 - Dig a shallow hole for the rhizomes

Step 3 - Root crown should be facing up

Step 4 - Cover the hole with soil

Step 5 - Topdress with organic compost

Step 6 - Water thoroughly

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When to Plant Agapanthus

The best time of year to plant an agapanthus is in the fall. Plant in the cooler hours of the morning or evening to reduce stress from the drying afternoon sun. They can be planted other times of the year, as long as the soil temperature is above 50 degrees, and the risk of frost has passed. Planting in the summer will require vigilant watering to ensure that the roots do not dry out.

Transplanting Agapanthus

Agapanthus clumps can be divided every 3 – 5 years. The best time to divide plants is in the fall, but it can be done at other times if there is no risk of frost. Lift the entire clump out of the ground and cut it into sections with a sharp knife. Each new clump should have some roots attached, and the foliage can be cut back before transplanting each section. Agapanthus can also be started from seed, sown in spring. Agapanthus usually takes 1 – 4 months to germinate, so be patient as you watch for sprouts.