Agapanthus, a tender perennial also known as African lily, is a member of the lily family (Liliaceae). Grown directly in the garden in southern locations or as a containerized houseplant in the North, agapanthus is easily propagated by division or seed. After several growing seasons, the fleshy, tuberous rhizomes become crowded and the plant begins to flower less. This is an excellent time to propagate agapanthus. Once divided, new plants will flower the following year. Plants grown from seed will require up to three years to bloom.
Divide agapanthus in early spring. Water the plant thoroughly to reduce transplant shock. This also makes the soil softer and easier to dig.
Use a sharp scissor or pruning shear to cut back any withered or dried foliage and remove spent flower heads. Cut back healthy foliage by half.
Insert a sharp, pointed shovel or garden spade around the perimeter of the clump, approximately 4 to 6 inches from the base of the plant. Cut around the entire plant to a depth of at least 12 inches.
Use the shovel to pry the plant up, cutting the roots beneath the plant if needed. Pull the clump up and out. Shake off any excess soil.
Cut the roots into separate clumps with a sharp knife. The clumps will be intertwined and very difficult to separate by hand; cutting the rhizomes will not harm the newly propagated plants.
Collecting Agapanthus Seed
Collect agapanthus seed after the plant has flowered. Allow the flowers to dry on the plant.
Slide a small paper bag over the dried flower head and hold it tightly over the stem. Clip the flower stem below the bag.
Shake the bag vigorously to dislodge the seeds. Empty the contents onto a clean white surface. A sheet of copy paper works well.
Separate the small, black seeds from the dried plant material. Keep the seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dry place until ready to plant.
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Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on eHow.com, GardenGuides.com and VetInfo.com.