The Q&A Archives: Agapanthus Color Change

Question: I have quite a few of the Monrovia grown Midnight Storm variety of Agapantha purchased 3-4 years ago. They are spectacular! But last year the flowers on one of the plants came in white and this year one more did the same thing. This year a number of the regular violet Agapanthas in our subdivision have done the same thing (turned white), where previously they were all violet blue.

I have heard of this happening with other lillies but not the Agapantha. There were no white ones anywhere in the area until they started to turn color several years ago. Any idea why, and is there anything I can do to reverse the color change?

Doug (puzzled in San Jose)

Answer: I'm as puzzled as you are. Midnight Storm Agapanthus is a hybrid and the flowers should remain true blue. It is possible that the plants seeded the area and then died off, leaving their offspring behind, which are blooming in a different color. This is common in stands of irises and other hybrid plants. The hybrids die off and the stronger species take over, changing a colorful iris bed into the standard purple species. It's quite a disappointment, but it does happen. Hope this sheds some light on one possible cause!

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