The Agapanthus, or Lily of the Nile, is known for its clusters of purple, funnel-shaped flowers that bloom once a year, generally between late spring and early autumn. The blooms of this perennial only last a week or two, at the most, but the long, slender leaves remain green and full year-round, which is why Agapanthus is a popular landscaping flower. Agapanthus require a minimum of care, which begins at the end of each blooming cycle.
Snip flowers off at the bottom of the stalk as soon as they begin to wilt. Leaving dead flowers saps nutrients the plant could use to increase the density of its foliage.
Clear the plant of dead leaves and other debris once the flower stalks have all been removed.
Divide the underground rhizomes and root clumps with a knife and replant. Place the separated rhizomes under 1 inch of soil and 18 inches to 2 feet apart.
Water regularly, enough to keep the soil moist but not saturated, until the plant begins developing new growth -- a sign of a healthy root structure. Keep the plant well watered until the next flowering cycle.
Cut back the agapanthus in spring. Remove dead leaves and any stems from the previous season.
Deadhead the agapanthus throughout the flowering season to keep the plant from producing seed. Use your gardening shears to snip the flower stem into the foliage.
Cut back the agapanthus to within 6 inches of the soil if you live in an area with harsh winters. Dig up the corm, allow it to dry out completely and plant it in a pot of standard potting soil. Store the agapanthus corm in a dark area where the temperature never dips below 35 degrees Fahrenheit and never rises above 45 degrees. Bring the pot out of storage in early spring.
Wait until spring or fall to dig up agapanthus.
Dig around the plant, inserting the shovel into the ground and digging down to get underneath the root system. When the soil around the agapanthus is loosened, lift the plant out of the ground with the shovel.
Cut through the roots of the plant with a clean, sharp knife to divide it into two or three sections. Several roots should be present on each section.
Replant agapanthus in well-drained, rich soil where it will receive full sunlight.
Prune half the foliage away from each new plant with standard pruning shears. With less foliage, the plant focuses on establishing roots.
Deadhead the agapanthus after the flowers fade, for a uniform look in the garden. Cut off the spent flower stems and remove dead leaves. As long as they are not diseased, add the flower cuttings to the compost.
Leave the seedheads for a natural look. According to Shoot, there is “no need to cut down in the autumn, as the seedheads look attractive over winter.”
Cover the agapanthus’ crowns over the winter with a thick layer of mulch or dry leaves. This not only protects the crowns, it keeps the soil moist, warm and enriched.
Planting & Care
Agapanthus prefer mostly sunny locations. If planting in the garden, make sure the soil is well-drained with a bit of manure or peat moss added in. Dig a hole for the bulbs and place them just below the surface of the soil, spacing them about 1 to 2 feet apart. Cover with soil and water generously.
If planting in a container, the soil should also be well-drained. Good quality potting soil is ideal. Make sure the container has drainage holes in the bottom. Plant the bulbs as in step 1.
Flowers will bloom during the summer and make excellent cut flowers.
In the fall, after flowers have stopped blooming, cut back the stems to the ground, but leave the leaves intact, so the bulbs will be able to receive their nutrients.
Container plants can be brought indoors during the winter and kept in a sunny location. Remove any spent flowers to keep the plant in bloom.