The Q&A Archives: Overwintering Agapanthus

Question: I recently bought sapphire blue agapanthus and the Africanus variety. Both are in pots right now. How do I take care of them now and during the winter months? What kind of location should I plant the perennial in and when? What do I do and what does it mean if some of the straps turn yellow -not drying - just yellow. Also the flowers open but not as a full round head; mostly on the sides and bottom. Do the tops ever get round? They are just gorgeous and want to keep them alive and thriving as best as possible.

Answer: Both types agapanthus grow best in full sunshine. It's normal for some of the leaves to yellow and die during the summer months. Simply cut them off when they turn brown. The flower heads should be full, but sometimes the flowers open individually and by the time they're all open, some of them have aged to the point where they die off, leaving a less than perfect flower head. I think your plants will overcome this as they mature. They bloom best when slightly pot bound, so you may have to wait until the roots completely fill the container to see their glorious flower display. Fertilize your plants with a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season.

Agapanthus (Lily-of-the-Nile) is a rhizome grown in the ground as an evergreen perennial in warmer areas. In colder areas where it must be grown as a container plant, it can be set outside for the summer and brought in for the winter. In terms of general container care, the plants prefer a rich but well-drained soil mix and moderate to bright light indoors. During the winter when growth is slow they should be watered lightly -- just enough to keep the soil from going dry and grown on the cool side. Ideally, they appreciate cooler temperatures at night say 50 to 55 degrees and cool days of perhaps 65 degrees. During the summer, however, the plants need copious amounts of water and seem to do best when somewhat pot-bound. In my experience the plant will "rest" after flowering but not defoliate.

Best wishes with your agapanthus!

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