"Good year for Aggies"

The blooming of Agapanthus means Christmas must be near.
Sunday, 06 December 2020     

Agapanthus praecox in my driveway

The blooming of Agapanthus - sometimes known as the lily of the Nile - means Christmas must be near. When I was growing up, we always seemed to have big vases of them in the house at Christmas time, often mixed in with some stems of NSW Christmas bush Ceratopetalum gummiferum)- a pretty combination! Perhaps because we received some good rain in winter and early spring, this year seems to have been an exceptionally good one for Agapanthus, as they are everywhere at the moment, and our long driveway (which is never watered or fertilised) has a mighty battalion of their nodding blue and white heads. Passing schoolchildren (and bored louts prowling around at night) seem to enjoy decapitating the blooms with sticks.

They are a classic easy plant for Sydney and shouldn't be just relegated to hopeless, horrid places in the garden where nothing else will grow. They flower best in a sunny place and look most effective when massed. They grow quickly to form big clumps. Even in semi-shade, they may bloom and if not, the foliage still makes for lush greenery. Try them in colour-themes gardens: white Agapanthus are lovely nearby white variegated foliage (such as Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus' or when teamed with sultry purple-black flowers or foliage: Hemerocallis 'Black Ambrosia' or Euphorbia cotinifolia, for example. Blue versions look beautiful grown beneath Jacaranda trees (where they will cope well with the root competition), or with the lime-green fresh foliage of Duranta 'Sheena's Gold' or the yellow-striped leaves of Canna 'Striata'. They are also effective grown nearby to yellow or orange Dahlia cultivars .

In recent years, hybridisers have developed some exceptional forms of Agapanthus, such as the miniature blue 'Peter Pan', the tall, purplish-blue 'Purple Cloud', and midnight blue 'Guilfoyle', which all seem to have the same vigour of the original species. 'Queen Mum' is a gorgeous and robust cultivar with white flowers that have a blue-tinged centre. To avoid problems of their seeding into bushland, always deadhead your Agapanthus plants as soon as the blooms have faded. I think they do best if divided up and replanted every few years, digging in some compost to improve the soil.

This blog first posted 18 December 2008; updated 6 December 2020.

 Reader Comments

1/10  Jil - 5126 (Zone:10 - Mediteranean) Monday, 09 March 2009

It was a great year for aggies in Melbourne, too, or at least here on the Mornington Peninsula. So many flowers! Last year there were nearly, well, none. This year a bumper crop. Im so lazy when it comes to cut flowers. I must remember to bring some inside next season!

2/10  Margaret - 2122 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 07 December 2020

An ideal spot for your agapanthus, Deirdre, they look so welcoming. This year the flowers look magnificent, even in the poorest of gardens, and they, along with the red Christmas bush, remind us Christmas is near. I currently only have a couple of dwarf plants, but must investigate some of the newer offerings. Thanks, Margaret. The dwarf ones are great as they can be tucked in here and there and don't need much room! Deirdre

3/10  Sue t. - 2566 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 07 December 2020

Christmas means vases of blue agapanthus and Christmas bush for me too. Every summer on my way to work I would sit in the traffic imagine i could dead head the long rows of agapanthus around Campbelltown Sports Ground. Thanks, Sue. I hate seeing deadheads left on them after flowering! Deirdre

4/10  Barbara - 2122 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 07 December 2020

Hi Deirie, just wondering if you can identify the climbing plant on the right of the last image. Is a 'sandpaper vine'? There is a wonderful flowing vine which looks like this, on the wall of the coffee shop in Eastwood which used to be the Liquidamber Nursery opposite the railway line. Would love to buy one but have never been able to find it in nurseries. Can one buy seeds or can it be struck by cuttings? That climber is Petrea volubilis, sometimes called the sandpiper vine as you mentioned, and I got mine from Weslor Flowers Nursery. They often have a stall at the Collectors Plant Fair (which is on 10 and 11 April next year) and they have an online nursery too. Not sure if it can be grown by cuttings. It has been good this year - this is its second flowering after the first one in September. Deirdre

5/10  Pam - 3216 (Zone:10 - Mediteranean) Monday, 07 December 2020

Lovely photos of your garden Deirdre. Thanks so much, Pam! Deirdre

6/10  Suzanne - 2107 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 07 December 2020

Deirdre,love your information ..always.!Cabbage moths..drive me mad and now tiny grey ones en masse,do you know where the little grey ones originate or dont you have them,Im in Avalon if thats any help.Sue..2107

7/10  Valerie - 2121 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 07 December 2020

Your Ags look lovely. They certainly are doing well this year. I have disguised a rather unsightly stump with a large circle of them. The haze of blue gives that summery feel to the garden. Those little ones are very effective too. I remember seeing a pink/white one called 'Strawberry Ice' somewhere online but no longer available perhaps.

8/10  Hanni - 2134 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Monday, 07 December 2020

Hi Deirdre, I would really like to thank you for your wonderful website! What a wealth of information! Now Im learning all the scientific names of the plants in my garden. I am a recent follower. Luckily a friend made me aware of your website and now I am hooked. Cant wait for Monday mornings to enjoy a cup of coffee reading your blogs and all the useful advice you give. Thanks again and enjoy Christmas time with a little less gardening! Hanni Thanks so much for your kind feedback, Hanni. It really made my day! Deirdre

9/10  Pamela - 2158 (Zone:10 - Warm Temperate) Tuesday, 08 December 2020

huge fan of Aggies & have the different hybrids now, probably in every combination you just mentioned!I love Poppin Purple & have just planted a more compact, repeat flowering hybrid Buccaneer.They are great strappy plants for texture contrast and the variegated forms are lovely with silver shield Plectranthus with a splash of deep plum petunias and society garlic nearby.With new hybrids being sterile people dumping them in Bush wont be a problem, seed heads too heavy for birds to distribute?? Those cultivars sound great. Thanks for reminding me about the variegated-leaved ones. I have a nice one with cream-striped leaves and blue flowers. The foliage looks good all year. Deirdre

10/10  Rosemary - 3472 (Zone:10 - Mediteranean) Wednesday, 09 December 2020

Thank you so much for your garden and plant information. Really helpful for my garden and plants. Only have tanks for all our water needs, so have to be very careful. The plants all have to manage mainly with the rain! My agapanthus are just coming into bud - but the minature ones have started. Rosemary Thanks, Rosemary, Can imagine it is a challenge relying on tank water. Hope you get some good rain over summer. Deirdre

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