Sarah Squire, exploring the origins and caring of the herbaceous perennial Agapanthus.
July should be the hottest month of the year so what better month to consider one of my favourite exotic garden plants the Agapanthus or African Lilly. Agapanthus are naturally found in South Africa. They certainly seem to be the plant of the moment. There have been some lovely examples at Chelsea and there are also some super plants in the garden centres!
There are two groups of Agapanthus, evergreen and deciduous. The deciduous species die back to the bulb each year. In England Agapanthus need to be grown in full sun although in the wild they are usually found in dappled shade. They need free draining soil. They can be grown in pots or in the border. Agapanthus flower better when their roots are crowded. They can withstand dry spells but do better when watered and must never be allowed to become waterlogged. There are a number of varieties available varying in height, some have flower stems reaching up to 1 metre.
Your stock of Agapanthus can be increased by division. Deciduous species should be divided in spring and evergreen species in the autumn. Another good reason for growing Agapanthus is that they suffer from few pests and even when they do, they tend to recover by themselves without the need for spraying.