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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lily of the Nile

Even the name evokes thoughts of exotic blooming lovelies.
And... exotic they are. Blooming they are. Lovely they are.
In the month of May, without fail, the strappy leafed perennial, Agapanthus Orientalis, shoots up a single, green, pod-like bud on a leafless scape. The bud bursts open in about 14 days after first appearing. Each plant can send up more than one. Each scape stands high above the foliage in varying heights of 3-5'. Its foliage is much like that of a day lily only it is a denser mound and each linear strap is wider, shinier, and thicker.
When the bloom begins to open each large cluster (approximately 6-8" in diameter) gives way to so many blue funnel-shaped flowers making one huge puff of color atop each scape.

At Hoe & Shovel we have divided and transplanted this very exciting perennial 'clumping' them in at least five different locations usually paired with day lily or amaryllis in mixed planting beds. It is an easy one to grow with very little maintenance or pests. And even when not in bloom it makes a care free year round green plant for any border or bed.
I like the way Susan (in central Florida) made a border with hers. Her display is in full sun and makes an outstanding display all alone.

They like to have a little extra water during bloom time but all the rest of the year just irrigate as normal. It's best to divide the rhizomes in late fall or early spring. They seem to like more sun than shade although they will bloom in filtered sun. Although the blue flowers are the most common, there is an agapanthus that blooms white.
Their bloom will last about 4-6 weeks but even when the blue bursts turn to green poddy-seeds I like to cut the scape off and use them in fresh flower arrangements.
We won't be thinking about that for a few more weeks. Right now, it's just time to take in the sight of one of the South's best loved perennials.
Scientific name: Agapanthus orientalis
Pronunciation: ag-uh-PANTH-us or-ee-en-TAY-liss
Common name(s): African Lily, Lily of the Nile
Family: AmaryllidaceaePlant type: perennial; herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: 9 through 11
Planting month for zone 9, 10 and 11: year round
Origin: not native to North America


  1. Your Agapanthus are lovely, I have several in my garden - dark blues. But I found that the snails like to over winter in the leaves!

    I love reading about all the plants you can grow and how quickly everything grows, it is so different from the UK but come the summer I will be glad to be cooler!

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  2. Wonderful plants and had I the sunny space would plant them! While they look good singly planted...I must admit I prefer your mixed border plantings. You certainly can't complain about 4 to 6 weeks of bloom! That is a nice bit of color for a good amount of time! You lucky Florida gardener with a green thumb and lots of nice sun;-)


  3. Meems, they're so pretty! We sell them at the nursery, but unfortunately, here they are container-grown and have to come inside over the winter.

  4. Agapanthus are lovely. I always think they look so nice near a pool or water feature. Yours are beautiful.

  5. sylvia: Thank you. I've heard there is a darker purple variety but I've not seen it here. Yes, come the summer you will love where you are and I will wish I was there too.

    gail: I get so excited to see every pod-like bud shoot up and then I obsess (you are a counselor right- is there any help for this?)watching it open several funnels at a time. I actually wish I had more sunny spots now that I've covered almost my entire back and front with shady trees. LOL

    garden girl: I keep thinking I should put some in a container too... just for the fun of it. Okay, I've added that to my list.

    Pam: They do look rather like a bloom you would see near the water. Maybe I should add some in containers next to the pool... great idea! Thanks.

    nancy: Thank you. Periwinkle is a good description. Sometimes they look blue... sometimes more a lavender shade.

  6. Oh I love agapanthus!!! Mine are starting to bud but not blooming yet. It will be a few weeks. I love the color of them and wish they bloomed all summer!!! I also have a darker blue one that is very deep and pretty. I forgot the name. Thanks for sharing your pictures!!!

  7. Agapanthus are beautiful blooms for sure....I love the while, I am a white bloom addict.
    We have had continuous rain for several days and strong winds so the garden has taken a bit of a battering.
    Everything is very green though!!!

  8. Meems, the Agapanthus look beautiful. For me they are a number one plant. Every year they seed and grow quickly. In spring the garden becomes a blue sea! I love them!

  9. Anna--Flowergardengirl here..don't have my new blog up yet...this is my favorite all time flower!!! I left 12 of them at my old house. I could just cry about it. They cost me a bundle and now I found out the new owners aren't even flower people.

    I first fell in love with this flower after watching the movie Father of the Bride. The whole side yard of the home feature in the movie is covered in them. Now I have to start over. They are so beautiful and graceful. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Meems, I too have the lighter color that is in bloom now. I waited 2 yrs for mine to bloom. I have it in a container. I will keep my eyes out for the darker one also the white. I would love to group them together.

  11. Hi Meems - sorry it's been a while since I visited.. work just takes over at this time of year!

    Your Agapanthus pics are gorgeous - we've got a chateau near here at the Jardins de Montmarin where they have weeks in the diary for their Agapanthus and am hoping to get there this year... it's a stunning setting!

    Will visit again soon... Miranda

  12. Lilly of the Nile, the name is enough for me!! The flowers are amazing too!!

  13. cindee: Wouldn't it be nice if they bloomed al summer? I always look forward to them shooting up and bursting forth.

    Cheryl: I really love white blooms too. They show up so well in the shade of my trees.Hope your garden is all the better for getting some good rain.

    Titania: Once again a common plant we both have... I can't wait to see yours when you have spring again.

    Anna: I am going to have to watch FOTB again just to see what you are talking about... I must not have noticed way back when. My neighbor gave me my first one and I have been multiplying them ever since. Sorry you couldn't take yours with you.

    Lola: I have seen them grouped together and they do look nice. Even though I'm a big white bloom fan typically... in this case I'm all for the blue!

    Miranda: Don't even worry about it-- I totally understand. Just trying to keep up with my own garden keeps me hopping I can't imagine doing it for a business... I wouldn't even have a blog.

    Let's Plant: I'm with you... the name is wonderful but the pizzazz this bloom offers for very little effort is the best thing going in the spring.

  14. I love nile lillys. I need to find a shady place for them here. They get a little burned in our summer heat if I put them in full sun. Great pictures.

  15. Drat! The one time I don't copy my comment - just in case - I get an error page. >:\

    Once again, you've featured one of my favourites. I have a couple that need to be rescued from a jungle growing up around them. Looked for more a couple weeks back, but little success. Finally found a few, but too expensive.

    Hummingbirds love them, as well. Bet your yard is the number one spot for hummers in your area. Keep looking up! 8-]

  16. Aunt Debbi:I thought it was only Florida where most full sun tagged perennials can't really handle our full sun. Nothing in my garden gets full sun. Even the sunniest spots are shaded either in the afternoon or the morning. In our heat it is a life saver.

    Sophie: I DO hate it when that happens... bad-bad blogger.

    Rather than buying more - just separate what you have and then keep doing that. It is how I got so many --once I saw the price of them in the garden centers. My neighbor got me started with my first one.

    Hummingbirds are not all that plentiful down here. Last summer was the first I'd seen them in my yard... I keep looking for them again hoping I've planted more to attract the little cuties.

  17. I love the cool blue color or Agapanthus (and saying Agapanthus is fun too!) Yours are so pretty mixed in your beds.

  18. They are beautiful; I don’t any around my parts. I wonder if they would do well in Zone 10b

  19. Mary Beth: Agapanthus is fun to say and truthfully it is one of the rare perennials that I actually knew the scientific name. Right now the day lilies and the agapanthus are vying for attention in the same bed.

    Rusty: The hardiness zone is to 11 so your Miami 10B should do well for them.

  20. That hue of blue is hard to beat Meems. The Agapanthus looks so pretty. When I was a novice gardener I planted them in my garden and was so disappointed when they didn't come back. I have learned a lot since then. I have always admired them even though I can't grow them.

  21. Meems,
    Thanks for making me an agapanthus believer. I'm going to try them in my sunny, sunny garden. It makes me so very sad to see things wither and die when they're supposed to be sun worshipers!
    I love the plant details on your blog. They're really helpful. I hope you'll come back to ours (the easiest way is to google - the dirt penny) and find me crowing about my blooms ... We Tampa gardeners gotta stick together. It's tough out here!!

  22. Wow! everything is looking great in your garden. I especailly liked to see the agapanthus in bloom. When I lived in California it was so previlent that it got boring and then when I moved here to Florida and it is rarely used I got to missing it every June. I've since seen it being used more and more. I was actually trying to buy a load of A. 'peter pan' for a client and searched high and low and only found a few ready. I love the dwarf variety and forecast you'll be seeing it more here.

  23. Love agapanthus. Wish they were hearty here but must bring them in for winter vacation. As always, your garden looks lovely, Meems.

  24. Lisa: sometimes when I try a particular plant and it doesn't work out I'm a little skeptical to even think about it again. After all we put so much time and energy into our gardens we want things to produce for us. Now that you are a veteran I would suggest maybe you try it in a container this summer if you were keen on making another go of it.

    penlyn: thanks for stopping by... you should definitely give the agapanthus another chance. They do like extra water during blooming season. Happy to share some from my garden if you would like some.

    Rees: One of my neighbors gave me my first plant and I have multiplied them from that one... I didn't see them much then... now they are more popular. The dwarf I haven't seen but will be on the lookout for it just to see the difference. Although the one BIG draw to the Agapanthus is its very sleek & tall scape with that ginormous ball of flowers on top. Not a typical habit of flowers in our part of the world.

    Joey: Thank you. Every clime has its favorites I suppose ... there are so many things we can't grow here so its nice when we have a show stopper like the agapanthus.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

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Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

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