Agapanthus: The Overlooked but Faithful Perennial

There are a lot of tall plants that fit well among the roses, but an often overlooked option is Agapanthus. Agapanthus is an easy-to-grow, evergreen, and hardy plant that is often sent straight to the little patch of earth between the sidewalk and the curb. But this faithful perennial should be included in every type of garden! Her long, arching leaves are displayed in bright green mounds that create a dramatic backdrop for big, beautiful blooms in shades of blue, white, or purple. 

Plant your Agapanthus in full sun to partial shade for the best yield of flowers and make sure she is in well draining soil. If you live in an area that receives temps of 100F plus for days on end, consider giving this beauty a bit of shade as a reprieve. She loves the same conditions as roses, so we like to tuck Agapanthus in groups of 3-5 in and amongst the roses since she will top out between 2-3’ tall depending on the variety. This is just enough height for pops of bright green buds and colorful flowers to peek through the rose blooms. 

An Agapanthus for Every Garden

For a cottage or English garden look, tuck her in among the roses. In a contemporary or sleek garden design, add her to large pots in groups of 3-5. Or use her height to create a hedge along a driveway or path or to peek through a white picket fence. She’s tough and can handle some foot traffic and doesn’t mind being bumped into a little bit. Plus, this hardy perennial will be drought tolerant once she gets established. If you live near the coast, Agapanthus is also one of the few perennials that can handle the salty air!

Planting and Care

When planting Agapanthus, dig a hole slightly wider than the nursery pot, insert the plant and then pack in the dirt around her. Water till a large puddle forms and let it slowly soak in. Be consistent with watering, especially during the first year while she is blooming to lower the stress on the plant and let her use her energy for beautiful flowers.

Clip off dead or dry leaves and spent blooms often to encourage new growth and let her soak up all the energy she can from the sun during the growing season. In fall, when you do a gentle prune on your roses, go ahead and prune the agapanthus back to about 4-5” tall. She also appreciates a bit of mulch for winter protection.

Since Agapanthus are grown on rhizomes, like Iris, they love to be divided every two to three years if they are grown in the ground or in pots. They don’t mind having tight roots in a pot, but you may notice a decrease in blooms if you leave them in a pot for more than two growing seasons without dividing. Use a sharp spade and cut right through the middle of the plant and gently dig the rhizomes and roots together. Then move to a new location, replant, and water well.

Two favorites for us this season are: Agapanthus Indigo Frost and Twister Lily of the Nile.