- Agapanthus grow well in temperate regions and withstand heat and drought conditions.
- They’re great for edging, as dwarf varieties grow to less than 50cm high.
- Agapanthus need full sun and regular water.
- Some people regard them as weeds. If this is you, avoid seed formation by removing spent flower heads.
Agapanthus – Friend or foe in the garden
There’s nothing quite as evocative of summer as a row of agapanthus in full flower. For those who don’t know aggies, they’re those blue or sometimes white long-stemmed lilies bursting into bloom in gardens everywhere. You’ll even spot them in roundabout plantings.
Agapanthus plants are an excellent choice for landscaping around the pool or to edge a driveway or fence line. The commonly grown agapanthus form clumps up to a metre across and plants in flower can be a metre or more tall.
For smaller areas, and for pots, there are dwarf and miniature agapanthus varieties that only grow to 45cm high in flower. These smaller varieties are also a great choice to edge a garden bed.
However, when you mention agapanthus to some gardeners, you are likely to get a negative response. For many Victorians, agapanthus are weeds. They spread by seed and have naturalised in some seaside areas, particularly along the Mornington Peninsula.
In these areas, restrict the spread of agapanthus further by removing spent flower heads to prevent seed formation. Better still, plant sterile forms of agapanthus such as ‘Black Pantha’, which have stunning dark blue flowers but don’t set seed.
Why don’t my agapanthus flower?
For some gardeners, agapanthus plants are reluctant bloomers. It seems there are always some agapanthus that just don’t flower. If you have flower-less agapanthus in your garden, you’ll be relieved to know there are some horticultural reasons why agapanthus plants don’t flower.
The main reason is lack of sun. Agapanthus need full sun. It is quite common for agapanthus to start life in full sun but end up in the shade. Over the years, surrounding trees and shrubs have grown up, shading a once sunny row of aggies. When this happens flowering diminishes.
The solution is to either move the plants to a sunnier spot, replacing them with clivias or liriopes that can cope with shade, or just enjoy them as a year-round, green groundcover. If you only have small sunny spots, consider planting one of the dwarf varieties, such as ‘Snowstorm’, which can grow in the ground or in a pot.
Plants that are water stressed or have been recently divided or moved may also fail to flower this summer. Some regular water, an application of seaweed tonic and patience bring rewards in the shape of flowers, but they may not bloom now until next summer.
A pretty mauve alternative to agapanthus is a mass planting of tulbaghia, also called society garlic. Tulbaghia looks stunning. It resembles a small agapanthus but with heads of mauve flowers.
The variety ‘Silver Lace’ has pretty, variegated leaves. Needing the same situation as agapanthus (that is, full sun) it only grows to around 30–40cm tall in clumps of around 30cm across.
Like agapanthus, tulbaghia grows readily from seed or by dividing existing clumps. Alternatively, buy pots in flower at nurseries. The strange common name of society garlic comes from the garlic scent of the leaves.
Lead image from Pinterest