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Plant Profile: African Lily (Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis)

agapanthus-praecox-A native of South Africa, Agapanthus praecox has naturalized in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, Mexico and elsewhere, and is considered a weed in some parts of Australia. It freely hybridizes with other agapanthus and has given rise to many cultivars. There are three subspecies of A. praecox, and Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis forms thick clumps and is the tallest of the three. It produces more leaves (up to 20/clump) than the other two subspecies and the leaves are arching and not leathery. The white or blue flowers are produced on thick, hallow, leafless stems in large dense umbels consisting of up to one hundred flowers. The flowers are long-lived and excellent for cutting. A. praecox subsp. orientalis does well in the garden or in a container and may be grown indoors in a sunny window where climates are cold.

Type:  Evergreen herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Large umbels of blue or white flowers are produced in summer.

Size: 3-5’ h x 2’ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, medium moist to dry, well drained; does not tolerate wet feet

Hardiness: Zones 9-11; 8 with protection

Care: Low maintenance; apply a balanced fertilizer in spring.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Division; pot grown plants flower better when crowded but too much crowding will diminish flowering. Garden grown plants should be divided every 5-6 years.

Companion plants: Day lilies, cannas, dahlias, New Zealand flax especially purple leaves varieties with blue Agapanthus.

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