Agapanthus growing guide

Ideal for edging and borders, agapanthus are easy to grow. But to keep yours flowering and looking their best all year round, it’s important to know how to take care of them.

When you see agapanthus in full bloom, you know it’s summer. Their vibrant, colourful flowers and shiny green leaves can really brighten up your garden. You can spruce up a pool area or deck with agapanthus borders and improve the look of driveways, fence lines or garden beds with agapanthus edging.

The most common flower has shades of blue and white. However, there are varieties of white flowers blushed with pink, and a herbaceous variant with rich purplish blue flowers.

Plants come in a variety of sizes ranging from clumps over a metre tall and wide to the smallest, which is around 30cm high.

How to plant and grow agapanthus

Agapanthus form attractive clumps up to a metre across so give yours some space. For best results, follow these planting and growing tips:

  • Plant in early spring so that the plants can flower in summer
  • Plants should be about 60cm apart and planted 2.5cm deep
  • Position in full sun for cooler climates or part shade for hotter weather
  • Plant in a well-drained, moderately fertile soil with plenty of organic matter worked in, like compost, composted sawdust and manure
  • If you’re growing agapanthus in pots, don’t worry if the roots get congested as agapanthus do well in these conditions.
  • Caring for agapanthus

    While agapanthus are hardy and can survive most weather conditions, some water and fertiliser won’t go astray. Follow these tips to ensure your agapanthus thrive:

  • Water regularly to help establish a strong root system, especially during the first growing season. Treat with a seaweed tonic, sulphate of potash or any other potash-rich fertiliser around the end of September to reap the flowery rewards
  • Mature plants are drought resistant, so allow soil to dry between waterings
  • Prune any spent flower heads. It will look neater, prevent unwanted seeds from spreading and help retain the colour you want because new seedlings can sprout white instead of blue or vice versa
  • Pruning also promotes stronger healthier plants because energy is not wasted producing seeds
  • Agapanthus rarely need spraying with insecticide but if you notice any pests like mealy bugs or red spider mites, spray during the winter months
  • Divide root clumps every two to three years in early spring, after the plants have flowered, to help with propagation.
  • What to look out for

    While some gardeners love what agapanthus bring to their garden, others consider them a weed. In some cases, this is true, especially in seaside areas where they have spread by seed and naturalised. To stop this from happening in your neighbourhood, remember to prune spent flowers regularly.

    It’s also important to remember that Agapanthus is considered poisonous. There is some evidence to suggest that exposure to your skin or eyes can cause short-term irritation while the sap may cause severe mouth ulcers if eaten. So take care, especially with children.

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    Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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