Tropicals forum: Dealing with a 30 year old Agapanthus.

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Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Sep 7, 2015 10:08 PM CST
We had 3 pots of tropical Agapanthus (must check out the one that supposedly is hardy in my Zone) that have been my wife's responsibility for the past 30 years. One bloomed this year, other 2 have not bloomed in about 7 years. So my wife gave up and asked for my help. She has repotted them over the years, but they were WAY overgrown and terribly root bound. I have never layed hands on HER plants.


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My only thought was YIKES. Hatchet and Sawz-All to the rescue Smiling We have used such tactics before separating Hosta, suggested as much to her and she agreed.

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Worked like a champ. Now praying for the plants.

The one on the far left below remains to be done.

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Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 8, 2015 4:48 PM CST
Oh, David I think there may be good news and bad news here. It sure looks like those plants needed to be divided. That's the good news. You did a great job.

The bad news is that Agapanthus really bloom their best when they are somewhat root-bound. So I'm thinking you shouldn't be surprised if they pout and don't bloom for another year or two. Be patient, it will be worth it down the road.

If I might suggest one possible modification to your nice looking set of 4 plants there - I'd take the one in the smallest red pot and double it up with the one to it's left. Otherwise, it's going to be 2 or 3 years getting the pot filled up so it's cozy enough to start blooming.

I don't know what it is, but they seem to 'feed' off each others' roots or something. Mine are all in a humungous pot that they've been in for several years. I potted them up from a 18in. pot, and just 'thinned' the clump of a few of the most overgrown fans. First year they were in there, no blooms at all, second year I got a couple then the last few years it's just gotten better. They're not quite as 'bound' up as your wife's plants were, but it might be Sawz-all time at my house next year, too. We'll see.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Sep 8, 2015 8:32 PM CST
Thanks Elaine (pretty name - my sister and daughter's middle name Smiling ). Yeah - we knew they liked to be somewhat root bound. But they were WAYYYY root bound and desperately needed repotting. Several were making tons of air roots (doanno if that is the proper term, but it was what they were doing).

Will mention your rec to DW.

OBTW - they were in those containers for at least 6 years. One bloomed this year indoors and it was the first bloom we saw in many, many years. We have tried various locations indoors and they all spend the summer outdoors.

Thanks.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 8, 2015 9:41 PM CST
Mine are kind of weird here, but that's Florida's upside-down climate for ya. We are tropical from June through September, and then "temperate" and fairly dry the rest of the year.

They seem to put on new growth in the fall and slowly through winter too, if it's not cold. Then as it heats up and gets pretty dry in spring they bloom like crazy for a month or so in April, and go dormant through the hot, wet summer. Callas do the same thing.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Sep 8, 2015 9:51 PM CST
Obviously with me in Zone 5 b, the growing conditions are a world apart. Rolling on the floor laughing Mine go outdoors after Mother's day and come in by ~ October 15th or so. Like ALL the other freaking Tropicals I have. hehe

Over 30 years, with 3 pots and 3 types of Agapanthus, we have seen maybe 10 blooms total. Good thing they are pretty to look at. Better thing they belong to my wife. heh

I must admit that last year I planted 2 rhizomes myself and tried to sell them at the farmers market where I am a vendor. No sales last year. None this year either. This year in my nursery area, I said WTH is that blooming. Forgot about it. It was blooming!! So I put it on the Deck. Hummer liked it :-)
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Jan 23, 2016 11:57 AM CST
Update:

All of the Agapanthus are doing great and survived my hatchet job.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 23, 2016 12:16 PM CST
Hurray! Way to go, David. Hope they don't pout for too long, and bloom for you sooner rather than later. All mine have sulked for a year or two when I've moved or divided them. They really do like to be all crowded and cozied up to bloom well.

However . . I need to divide my big pot of them this year, too. Going to be a wicked job because I foolishly potted them in a pot that has a lip on the inside, so the whole root mass will not come out easily, I'll have to cut it up.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Jan 23, 2016 12:38 PM CST
Oh MY!!

WRT blooming, ours on;y bloom ~ every 5 = 7 years. Just one of 3 pots bloomed this past summer.

We did not not do one of ours that REALLY needs to be done. In a large clay container that my DW does NOT want harmed. If it were up to me, I would just break it with a hammer. She is adament about not harming it as it is ancient and has sentimental value.

Unfortunately that is the one that most needed dividing. Green Grin!
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 23, 2016 1:33 PM CST
Got one word for you, David - sawzall. You could cut out some sections of the old plant in the clay container without hurting the container. Fill the gaps with some new soil and I'll bet it would be fine for another few years at least.

Mine's been in the same container for at least 6 years, and blooms each year. I've just added some fresh potting mix and alfalfa pellets along with a little fert in the springtime, watered it in and the plant devours it all. The soil/root level never goes up. I think these plants are cannibals, living off each other's roots or something . .. Shrug!

This last year, though, I only got two blooms, so the plant is declining now. Gotta take care of it this year. Hmm, maybe treat myself to a new variety, too? There are some neat new colors, dark purple, light blue, and white is always nice. I tried the jazzy one with the black stems "Back in Black" but it just petered out and died on me. Confused
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Jan 23, 2016 2:21 PM CST
I invite you to take a look at the first post above. Whistling Green Grin! My wife and I think that we repotted maybe 2 times in 30 years. Not sure... The very first picture at the top is the container I am referring to. That one remains. It SOOOO needs to be split and repotted.

But the reciprocating action of my sawz-all is ~ 4 inches. No freaking way I could hold it steady without trashing the container. Thinking about a serrated knife. To do the ones posted in the OP, I did have to break one clay pot. And the roots were attached to it big time.

I got 4 that are hardy here - Blue Younder and planted them out in Aug or Sep.

Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 23, 2016 2:57 PM CST
Ah, yes I now remember the "big" Sawz-All out in my DH's shop with the 4in. action to it. You're right, that might prove disasterous. What I have now is a little reciprocating saw, battery operated but still quite powerful. It's become my 'go to' for various pruning and cutting operations, with a throw of only about an inch, I think.

This whole line of Milwaukee power tools with the 18v. rechargeable batteries have really changed my life, I'll tell you. The leaf blower is a magic thing, just pick it up, walk out and get after those pesky leaves. As I have a large clump of bamboo along with 4 huge oak trees, all of which drop leaves all the time, a once a week walk around the house with that little leaf blower has become routine. (it will be twice this week, after all the wind and storms). The little saw uses the same battery pack.
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Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 23, 2016 3:04 PM CST
Thank you for the photos David, I also need to address my dwarf Agapanthus soon. Smiling
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Jan 24, 2016 8:29 AM CST
I go to the dollar store and buy cheap bread knives, they work well and, for me, are easier to control around things like agapanthus roots. For digging in the garden I use a reciprocating saw to get through all the Live Oak roots.

Elaine, you are lucky, we have to blow the driveway and walks twice a day usually. Between oak leaves, acorns, crape myrtle leaves and seeds and pine straw, it is a mess here. We are taking the CMs out this year which should help but they are so large we need commercial tree guys to do it.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Jan 24, 2016 10:08 AM CST
ardesia said:I go to the dollar store and buy cheap bread knives, they work well and, for me, are easier to control around things like agapanthus roots.


Thumbs up

That is what I was thinking about.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
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Kabby
Jan 24, 2016 12:01 PM CST
Well this has been interesting. I placed agapanthus in a category of "plants that Kabby can't grow." I didn't have it potted and certainly didn't know about the other requirements that it likes. So off it went in a trade with no regrets.
Reciprocating saw, what a great gift to my husband last year. I was prepping a clay based bed not too long ago and I used it to cut a cedar root. Magnifico! Thumbs up

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