These wonderful plants are blooming machines, which you can think of as essentially the tropical equivalent of the daylily. A landscape staple in warm-winter regions, agapanthus is a low-maintenance perennial that produces colorful clusters of blue or white trumpet-shape flowers in summer and fall. Agapanthus has strappy, green leaves add texture to beds, borders, and containers, too.
Agapanthus grows and spreads by fleshy rhizomes that also act as a type of storage root. This means the plant can retain nutrients within its roots and be easily divided to create more plants.
Agapanthus foliage is rather unobtrusive and varies depending on the species. Many varieties have foliage that is small and grasslike. Others have larger, straplike foliage (much like daylilies). Several varieties of agapanthus are available with variegated foliage that is green with a cream or white stripe down the edge, in contrast with the plant's rich blue flowers.
Blossoms of the agapanthus appear in clusters at the tips of blooming stems. As these come up from the foliage, the blue blooms are held within a tight green bract to protect them from damage. As they mature, the bracts pull back to reveal many small blue buds. These then open in succession, starting at the bottom and working their way up.
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The most common and popular flower color of agapanthus is blue (actually they come in several shades of the color, with most being light or medium blue with streaks of deeper blue down the petals). Agapanthus can also be found in white, and a few varieties have both white and blue in the same flowers.
Agapanthus Care Must-Knows
Many agapanthus species are evergreen in tropical climates. The non-evergreen types require a little more protection and warmth during the cool season. As the fall begins to come around, you can initiate their dormancy by withholding some water. The more tender evergreen varieties should be moved into a frost-free environment, like a greenhouse or even near a bright window in a home. Others can be left out and sparsely watered until spring comes along.
Agapanthus appreciate regular watering and don't like to dry out for too long. Make sure to be consistent with watering to prevent any stress from hindering future blooms, especially just after completing a bloom cycle. Additionally, since agapanthus are frequent bloomers, it's a good idea to give them a regular dose of fertilizer to keep the blooms going all season long.
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Tips for Deadheading & Dividing Plants
A good tip for proper care of potted agapanthus is to divide the plants on a regular basis. In general, agapanthus don't mind being snugly planted in a pot. However, they do appreciate being divided every few years to encourage new growth and increase blooms.
For agapanthus grown in the ground, it isn't necessary to divide the plant regularly. But do be sure to remove faded blossoms from the stem. This will encourage new growth and prevent the plant from wasting energy on seed production.