(a-ga-pan' thus)

Common Name: Lily of the Nile, Blue African Lily, African Lily

Family: Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Agapanthoideae (formerly listed under Liliaceae)

Height x Width: 1-3 feet x 1-2 feet

Growth habit: low vase-shaped

Growth rate: moderate to fast in warm climate

Foliage: basal, linear to lanceolate to 12 inches long, and from 1/2 to 2 inches wide, evergreen in warm climates

Flowers: main feature of this plant, a terminal umbel of many (30 to 100, depending on cultivar) tubular flowers, generally a version of blue but occasionally white; to 4 inches wide; held a foot or more above foliage on thick stalk which may become top-heavy at bloom and need staking to remain upright

Hardiness: USDA zone 8, some hybrids slightly hardier

Soil: average well-drained to sandy

Light: sun

Pests and Problems: fails to bloom and straggly in shade, root and basal rot if too wet; slugs and snails in damp climates as in the Pacific Northwest

Landscape habit, uses: containers, massed in beds in warm climates as California and Florida, cut flowers; in Australia, New Zealand, southern Britain and southern Europe used along roadways and as hedges or foundation plants

Other interest: native to South Africa, from the Greek for love (agape) and flower (anthos). Interbreeds readily, so much variability may exists in cultivars especially if seed propagated.

Other culture: grows from corms which should be planted 2 inches below the surface; don't allow to dry out during the growing season, but allow to dry between waterings during dormant season; fertilize heavily during growth, prior to bloom

Propagation: offsets, division of crowded clumps, seed

Species: although mainly found as cultivars, the following species may also be found

(africanus photo courtesy Missouri botanical gardens plantfinder)

Cultivars: generally hybrids unless noted; height is with flower scape; only the most currently available are noted, with the most available marked *
Cultivar flowers height other
'Albus' white 2' africanus
var. albidus white 3' campanulatus, late
'Ardernei Hybrids' white 3' purplish buds
'Blue Giant' rich blue 42"  
'Blue Triumphator' blue 2-3'  
'Bressingham Blue' deep blue 3' from Blooms, UK
'Bressingham White' white 3' from Blooms, UK
'Cobalt Blue' cobalt blue 2' from Beth Chatto, UK
'Elaine' dark violet 4' large flowers, Los Angeles
'Ellamae' violet 4' large flowers, Los Angeles
'Getty White' creamy white 3' vigorous
*'Headbourne Hybrids' various blues 3' 50s& 60s, Headbourne, UK
'Heronswood Hybrids' deep blues 18" seedlings from WA
'Isis' deep blue 2' campanulatus
'Lilliput' dark blue 18" slow, zone 6 hardy
'Loch Hope' blue, late 4-5' maintains blue color
'Midnight Blue' dark blue 15"  
'Mosswood Hybrids' various blues 3' from B.C. Canada
*'Peter Pan' blue 12" narrow foliage
'Profusion' blue, striped 3' campanulatus
'Sapphire' dark blue 2' africanus
'Storm Cloud' dark blue 3' broad foliage
'Streamline' blue 18" from Auckland, NZ
'Tinkerbell' seldom 12" white margined leaves
'Verwood Dorset' various blues 3' selections of Headbornes
'White Christmas' white 5' 2' not in flower

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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