Pruning agapanthus is easy and will help your plant look tidy and stay vigorous. Agapanthus species can be deciduous or evergreen. For deciduous types, the foliage will die back over the winter and can be removed to encourage new growth. Evergreen varieties will not die back over the winter and should not be cut back. Agapanthus plants benefit from regular deadheading, which helps them conserve energy. Simply remove the entire flower stem once the blooms have faded.
When to Prune Agapanthus
The best time of year to cut back agapanthus is in early spring. Leaving the spent foliage over the winter can protect the crown from rot during winter rains and insulate the roots from cold temperatures. During the summer, you can help the plant conserve energy by removing spent flowers. Cut back the flower stems all the way to the base of the plant. Deadheading prevents the plant from going to seed and helps the plant store energy in the rhizome. If self-seeding is desired, allow a few blooms to produce seed and ripen on the stem.
You can prune agapanthus at any time of year to remove dead, damaged or diseased foliage. For deciduous varieties, spent foliage can be removed in late fall, but this will leave the crown exposed to the winter elements. Never remove foliage after blooming as this deprives the plant of the energy it needs to overwinter. Deadheading is not absolutely required, but if agapanthus is considered invasive in your area, make sure to remove blooms before they can produce seed and spread.
Why Prune Agapanthus
Light pruning at strategic times of the year can keep your agapanthus healthy and in bloom over the summer. Cutting back the spent foliage in early spring allows room for new growth to emerge and maintains a tidy appearance. Removing spent flowers helps the plant conserve energy by diverting resources away from seed production. Make sure you allow the foliage to die back naturally after blooming because the plant will continue to photosynthesize and put energy back into the rhizome for winter.
How to Prune Agapanthus
Step 1 – Prune spent foliage in early spring
Use a clean pair of pruning shears to remove any spent foliage in early spring before new growth emerges.
Step 2 – Deadhead in the summer
Remove the entire flower stem as the blooms fade using a sharp pair of pruning shears or scissors.
Step 3 – Remove dead or damaged foliage as needed
Trim back broken or dead leaves as necessary to keep the plant looking tidy.
Agapanthus Pruning Tips
- Prune spent foliage in early spring
- Remove dead foliage as necessary with evergreen varieties
- Deadhead after flowering
- Let foliage die back after flowering to allow energy to be put back into the bulb