Here are 17 different types of Agapanthus flowers along with their detailed descriptions. Learn how to grow these summer-blooming perennials with our gardening tips.
Agapanthus, also known as Lily of the Nile or African Lily, helps paint the summer landscape with an explosion of beautiful purples, blues, and pinks. There are also varieties that produce white flowers. I really like these because they’re big and can tolerate less-than-ideal weather conditions.
Even if you’re not the most “green-thumbed” gardener, you can grow these without much difficulty. Knowing a little about the types and needs of these large flowers will help you decide whether they’re the right addition to your garden. Without further ado, here are the many varieties of agapanthus, and how to cultivate them.
Table of Contents
- Agapanthus species “Cold Hardy White”
- Agapanthus “Arctic Star”
- Agapanthus Brilliant Blue
- Agapanthus Golden Drop
- Agapanthus Caulescens (Stem Agapanthus)
- Agapanthus Inapertus ssp. Pendulus Graskop
- Agapanthus campanulatus (Mood Indigo)
- Agapanthus “Little Dutch” White
- Agapanthus Africanus
- Agapanthus Orientalis
- Agapanthus Margaret
- Agapanthus Midnight Star
- Agapanthus ‘Black Pantha
- Agapanthus Tornado
- Agapanthus Silver Baby
- Agapanthus Holyland Chelsea Blue
- Agapanthus Headbourne Hybrids
Agapanthus species “Cold Hardy White”
This agapanthus flower is one of the best-looking types of agapanthus plants and is an especially hardy variety. This deciduous agapanthus plant is known for showing off large white blooms during the middle of the summer.
- Full sun
- Low water
- Height: 15″, width: 12″
- Zones: 5-10
Agapanthus “Arctic Star”
You probably wouldn’t expect a plant that originated in Africa to have “Arctic” in its name. This plant yields an abundance of pure white blooms. Its leaves are gray-green and broad. This kind of Agapanthus is deciduous, but in milder climes, it may still retain its leaves. Because it’s hardy, it’s a popular choice among gardeners.
- Full sun to partial shade
- Low water
- Frost hardy (can handle temperatures as low as 23° F)
Agapanthus Brilliant Blue
Brilliant blue is one of the shorter-stemmed varieties of its species. It’s recommended to plant around the border of your garden. It’s a deciduous plant known for being hardy and producing beautiful bright blue flowers.
- Full sun
- Height: 1-2 ft, width: clumping
- Medium water needs
- Winter hardy: Can withstand temperatures as low as 15°-20°
Agapanthus Golden Drop
This variegated, dwarf evergreen flower has long thin leaves that are darker green in the center and lighter around the edges. The flowers are pale blue.
- Height: nearly 12″-24″
- Partial sun
- Moderate water needs
- Zones: 7a-10b
Agapanthus Caulescens (Stem Agapanthus)
This is a deciduous variety of the plant. Its colors range from pale blue to a deeper blue. The shades of color these flowers put on display depend on which subtype they are.
- Height: 39″-59″
- Full sun
- Moderate care and watering
- Zones: 9a-10b
Agapanthus Inapertus ssp. Pendulus Graskop
This agapanthus flower goes by another moniker that’s easier to pronounce (and spell): grassland agapanthus. When this plant is in bloom, you’ll see a violet-blue flower stretching its petals above neat clumps of pale green leaves.
- Height: 2-3 feet
- Width: 1-2 feet
- Full sun
- Medium Water
- Can withstand temperatures as low as 15-20° F
Agapanthus campanulatus (Mood Indigo)
This deciduous bloom yields dark blue, droopy flowers and strap-like leaves. A variation of this kind, Albidus, shows off large umbels of white flowers during the summer and the early fall.
- Height: 24″-30″
- Full sun
- Zone: 6-10
Agapanthus “Little Dutch” White
This tender, white agapanthus evergreen produces pure white blooms. There’s a variation, Little Dutch Blue, that yields light blue flowers with a center stripe that’s dark blue.
- Height: nearly 18 inches.
- Full sun
- Well-drained soil
This perennial bulb evergreen agapanthus is characterized by narrow leaves and stalks. Its flowers are a deep blue with blue-tinged anthers. A dwarf variety, known as Double Diamond, is a cultivar that gets its name because of its double white blooms. Another cultivar, Peter Pan, is tall and can be identified by its large, sky-blue flowers.
- Height: 18″
- Full or partial sun
- Average water needs. Soil types: Chalk loam sand clay
Also known as Agapanthus praecox, it’s the most common variety of agapanthus. What sets this type apart are its wide, arching leaves. There are several varieties of Agapanthus Orientalis. Albus is one of the white flowering types. As its name suggests, Blue Ice produces blue blooms. Flore Pleno is a double form. It grows well throughout June-August.
- Height: 2-4 feet
- Spread: 1-2 feet
- Zones 9-11
- Partial shade and partial sun
- Water once a week
- Wet; slightly alkaline; sand, loam, acidic soil, clay
This is one of the deciduous types that produces huge yields of powder-blue blooms.
- Height: 32″
- Average Moisture
- Zone: 7
Agapanthus Midnight Star
This hardy, agapanthus variety is characterized by dark blue flowers that are almost 5 inches wide.
- Height: 32″, spread: 20″
- Full sun
- Fertile, moist, well-drained soil
Agapanthus ‘Black Pantha
This variety gets its name because its flowers are such a dark purple, they’re almost black. Its gray-green foliage gives way to sturdy flower stalks and tall stems.
- Zone 7-11
- Should be watered weekly, more often in drier conditions
- Full sunlight or partial shade.
This is a hardy evergreen plant classified as a Praecox subtype. It’s known for its rather unique, blue-purple flower. It’s hardier than many other evergreen varieties.
- Height of about 3-4 feet
- Spread: 2-3 feet
- Full sun, partial shade in hotter climates
- Keep well-watered so plants don’t dry out.
- Fertile, moist well-drained soil
Agapanthus Silver Baby
This evergreen variety is a dwarf plant that extends to about 12-16″. Its white flowers, infused with blue, are especially aesthetically-pleasing.
- Full sun
- Frost hardy
- Fertile soil
Agapanthus Holyland Chelsea Blue
This elegant-looking plant boasts large flowers on sturdy stems. Its leaves are especially distinct because of their ridges.
- Height: about 31″
- Full sun
- Soil needs: Chalky, alkaline, clay, heavy, moist, well-drained, light, sandy
Agapanthus Headbourne Hybrids
These are especially hardy and virtually pest-resistant. They’re known for their large, rounded flower clusters that measure 3-4 inches wide. Flowers are funnel-shaped and come in a variety of blue-violet shades. Flower heads contain an abundance of florets (70-75) on average. Straight stems emerge from grasslike leaves.
Even when flowers aren’t blooming, these evergreens, or semi-evergreens, depending on the variety, still look good in a garden or as a potted plant on a windowsill. These hybrids were given the highly-coveted Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society. They bloom from mid to late summer
- Height of 2-3 feet from fleshy rhizomes
- Full sun
- Partial shade is recommended in hotter climates
- Fertile, moist, well-drained soil
A Note of Caution on Agapanthus
Be careful when handling this plant. It’s poisonous if ingested, so keep it away from children. It can also irritate your skin if you come into contact with it. To prevent any skin problems, wear gloves whenever you handle agapanthus.
What is a USDA zone?
You may see hardiness zones referred to as USDA zones or simply gardening zones. These are geographic zones characterized by certain climates. The map shows you which plants grow best in each zone. Thirteen gardening zones span the US and Canada. Zone 1 marks the northernmost region, and zone 13 is the southernmost area. On average, each zone is 10° cooler or warmer during the winter than the one next to it.
Keep in mind, too, that gardening zone guidelines aren’t something you can follow “by the book.” Especially in Western regions, there are considerable climate variations within the same zone. Thus, you may need to make some modifications to your gardening habits to make sure you’re providing the right environment for your plants and flowers.
What determines how hardy a plant is?
A plant’s hardiness is determined by how well it can stand up to frigid temperatures. For instance, a Zone 8 agapanthus species likely couldn’t survive the coldest conditions of zone 7. Of course, some plants can be grown in multiple zones. In colder climes, though, you’ll have to plant them later in the spring or summer, when there’s no longer a frost threat.
What is a perennial?
Perennials are sometimes confused with annuals. Since annuals die in the winter, they need to be replanted every spring. Perennials, such as agapanthus plants, last for at least three growing seasons. In the winter, their roots become dormant, but they don’t die, allowing the plants to come back each year. They usually don’t produce as many flowers as annuals, because their energies are dedicated to growing strong roots that allow them to endure the cold months of winter.
What types of pests can affect non-hybrid varieties of agapanthus?
These are generally resistant to pests, but they do attract some unsavory dirt-dwellers.
- Slugs and Snails. While they are drawn to agapanthus plants, snails and slugs won’t harm them, but they might make a meal out of your other greenery. Remove the invaders by hand or trap them by placing shallow pans of beer in your garden. As long as the lip of the pan is flush to the ground, it will serve its purpose effectively.
- Red Spider Mites. These look like rust-colored specks on the undersides of plant leaves. Despite their small size, they can wreak a lot of havoc, causing discoloration, scorching, stippling, and flicking. Apply rubbing alcohol to infestation sites. Another option is to make a solution consisting of one gallon of water and 3 tablespoons of dish soap. Place it in a spray bottle, shake well, and spray affected plants every five to six days. An especially environmentally-friendly solution is horticultural oil. if the mite invasion is out of control, you may need to resort to a pesticide that’s sulfur or bifenthrin-based.
- Mealybugs. These white bugs can interfere with leaf growth and cause the foliage to wilt. Use horticultural oil to wage war on them. Let the oil drip down to the bases of the stems, as this is where the bugs like to make themselves at home. If you prefer to use a pesticide, choose one that’s imidacloprid-based and apply it once every two weeks.
How do you keep Agapanthus thriving?
Agapanthus is especially low-maintenance in warmer climates. To optimize its growth and overall health, gardeners recommend that you divide it every three years. Dividing consists of digging up the plants and splitting them into at least two sections. This is a gardening best practice that keeps plants from overgrowing or overcrowding, so they stay as healthy as possible.
This process is only recommended for plants that grow in clumps and have a central crown. Since agapanthus is a summer flower, fall is usually the ideal time to divide them. Dividing involves splitting the root ball and crown. If you’re not familiar with this practice, it’s easier to do than it sounds.
- Dig up the whole clump. Then, divide the root ball and crown into at least two sections. Sometimes, you can do this with your bare hands. If you’d rather not do it that way, you can use a spade or even a sharp knife. If you’re using the latter, be judicious with your cutting, lest you chop off more than you intended.
- Once you’ve divided the clump, shake off excess soil and check for dead growth. If you find any, remove it. Before replanting the sections, you may want to trim them back. Doing so will minimize the shock they received from dividing and transplanting.
Is agapanthus susceptible to certain plant diseases?
Agapanthus is disease-resistant, for the most part. However, certain problems may be brought on by over-watering. Here are some potential issues to look out for.
- Rot. Root or bulb rot begins underground and can quickly reach other parts of the plant. When visible above ground, it manifests as wilted leaves that have turned yellow. Rot can also stunt a plant’s growth. When decay takes hold, it’s impossible to save the plant. It needs to be completely dug up and thrown away so the rot doesn’t spread to surrounding plants. Remove the soil around diseased plants, as it will be contaminated too. Seal rotten plants completely in a plastic bag before discarding them.
- Gray Mold. This is an ugly fungus that invades dying blossoms. It only grows in standing water, so make sure plants are spaced apart and the soil is well aerated. When mold takes hold, get rid of the diseased parts of the plants and spray remaining healthy growth with neem oil.
- Anthracnose. This is another waterborne disease, evidenced by yellow or brown spots on affected leaves. Eventually, those leaves fall off. The remedy for anthracnose is the same as for gray mold. Remove diseased growth and spray what remains with neem oil.
- Fungi. Macrophoma agapathii fungus is associated with leaf die-back. It needs to be treated with a fungicide that targets it, such as captab or mancozeb. Botrytis is another fungus that keeps the plant from flowering and causes brown lesions to form on it. To prevent this, use a fungicide on the plants before the buds open.
What are some rules of thumb when growing agapanthus plants?
Agapanthus is a herbaceous perennial. A member of the Amaryllidaceae family, it does especially well in USDA zones 7-11. They usually bloom from July-September.
In warm climates, planting them in the fall or winter is recommended. Agapanthus prefers sunny spots, but it will also grow in partial shade. New plants should be placed 1-2 inches apart. This greenery thrives in a variety of soil conditions, but it’s best to provide it with a nutrient-rich environment. Regular mulching will help keep moisture close to the roots. These plants do especially well when you add composted material or other organic matter to the soil during planting.