Agapanthus enjoys both full sun and part shade and is commonly called Lilies-of-theNile. The plants are of South African origin and have compact clumps of strap-shaped leaves. They produce sky blue, brilliant blue or white blooms that first appear in a pod. It peels open slowly to reveal a multitude of small flowers that blossem individually. Agapanthus also comes in a miniature form, but it's not as impressive as it's full-sized cousins. However, several planted in a pot would make an attractive sight when in bloom.
When the bed gets too full, dig up the bulbs and spread them throughout your garden, always keeping a few together for a mass of spring bloom. In Florida, I plan to move mine in the fall and fertilize them well. That will give them all winter and early spring to form flowers and put on another spectacular display next spring. However, agapanthus is set back by frequent root disturbance, and older plants reestablish slowly from division. Three- or four-year old plants are an ideal age to divide.
Lift clumps and divide into 2-4 pieces using back-to-back forks. Trim off any damaged roots. If your division is substantial enough, it should flower in the same year if the dividing is done early in the spring.
Seeds you gather may not match the parent plant, but they can give you some interesting variations. Sow seeds at 61 degrees F. They should germinate within three weeks. New plants will flower in the third year. To gather the seeds, cut flowerheads when green -- when the seedpods are swollen but before they split open. Keep in a box in a warm, dry place until the seeds have been released.
Growers are working to develop a red agapanthus, however, at the moment the closest they've come is a lavender. Agapanthus is related to the onion family, hence the global-type bloom.
Although agapanthus is categorized as a slow grower, the three bulbs that I put into a pot last year have filled it to the bursting point. This fall I'm going to take the whole works out of the pot and spread it out in a patch of garden, next to a south patio. Other patches of garden would work well, too, but I want these beauties where I can see them bloom. They are an exciting flower to have in the garden. This plant does not like to be divided every year. It will bloom happily for you if left undisturbed and a little crowded.
Agapanthus is one of the easiest plants to grow, requiring good drainage and plenty of water during the early part of the growing season. They are also heavy eaters -- I usually give them 2-10-10 three or four times a year.
The name is Greek for flower of love.