Caring for Agapanthus


Agapanthus is a striking plant, native to Southern Africa. Agapanthus, also known as lily of the Nile or African lily, will produce brilliant blue or white blooms atop sturdy, slender stems, surrounded by clumps of attractive, bright green foliage. Agapanthus blooms will attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden, and work well in cut flower arrangements. Although agapanthus is a warm-weather perennial, it will survive cold winter climates with proper protection.

Step 1

Plant agapanthus where the plant will be protected from hot afternoon sun. Agapanthus will do well in full shade, or where it will be exposed to filtered light or morning sunlight. Agapanthus will grow in nearly any soil, as long as it is well-drained.

Step 2

Water agapanthus immediately after planting, and keep the soil moist until you see the emergence of new growth. Agapanthus is drought-tolerant, and once established, will only require water during hot, dry weather.

Step 3

Fertilize agapanthus every spring, using a water-soluble fertilizer for blooming plants. Read the package directions carefully for specifics.

Step 4

Cover agapanthus with a mound of straw or leaves in early winter if you live in a cold winter climate. Place a large plastic tote or basket over the top of the agapanthus. Weigh the tote or basket down with a large rock or brick to keep frost from nipping the leaves, and to keep the mulch from blowing away. Remove the mulch in the spring so the agapanthus can grow freely.

Step 5

Divide agapanthus every four to five years. Dig the clump of agapanthus and divide the clump into smaller sections with a shovel or garden fork. Be sure each division has a healthy root system. Discard any weak or non-productive areas, and plant the agapanthus divisions in a spot that has been prepared ahead of time.

Things You'll Need

  • Water-soluble fertilizer for blooming plants
  • Straw or leaves
  • Plastic tote or basket
  • Large rock or brick
  • Shovel or garden fork


  • University of Florida: Agapanthus orientalis
  • University of Wisconsin: Agapanthus
  • Texas A&M: Agapanthus (Lily of the Nile)
Keywords: agapanthus, lily of the nile, african lily

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.