Exotic beauty’s Patio Plant of the Year 2018
This year’s a first for me growing Agapanthus, mainly because I couldn’t resist a Thompson & Morgan sale offer in January (as always).
I’ve ended up with three Queen of the Ocean (blue) and three Polar Ice, supplied as bare roots and coming away nicely.
If you fancy buying some Agapanthus potted and ready to flower, they have been voted Patio Plant of the Year 2018 by the Flower Council of Holland. As their experts are far more knowledgeable than me, they have supplied this handy how-to-buy the perfect plant guide.
They have elegant stems, long green leaves and blue or white flowers made up of a host of small calyxes, looking like floral fireworks – ideal for a tropical look.
Also known as the African lily, its exotic looks belie the fact that it’s easy to care for, flowering from late June to the beginning of October.
Most Agapanthus on sale are derived from A. africanus and there are evergreen and deciduous varieties. Breeding has produced cultivars which stay compact, ideal for patio pots.
Agapanthus is native to South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique, although cultivated escapees mean it now grows wild in Australia, Mexico and Europe. African women traditionally wore dried roots as an amulet to ensure healthy babies.
An ideal present for a loved one, Agapanthus symbolises love, the name derived from the Greek word ‘agape’ (love) and ‘anthos’ (flower) and in the garden, symbolises a happy home.
How to buy Agapanthus
The Flower Council of Holland advises:
- The larger the pot size, the older and more richly flowering the plant is.
- Compactness can vary considerably between plants. A healthy Agapanthus has long stems, foliage at the base and buds at the top.
- The plant must be free of pests and diseases – avoid specimens with yellow leaves, which is a sign of soil which is too wet.
How to look after Agapanthus
- Plants like a sunny and sheltered spot in a mixture of potting compost and sand.
- Place Agapanthus in a spacious pot with a drainage hole.
- Always ensure slightly damp soil, particularly during the growing season.
- A bit of plant food every month helps promote growth and flowering.
- Agapanthus is not fully hardy and is best placed in a cool shed or cellar if the temperature drops lower than a couple of degrees below freezing.