Dividing Agapanthus

natalie4b(7b GA)November 28, 2006

Agapanthus question:

I have planted one of those 2 years ago. Now I am blessed with at least 10. The foliage is absolutely gorgeous! It is the end of November, and the green leaves are in abundance, healthy, juicy, happy and joyous!

I would like to divide them, and spread all over my garden. How do I best accomplish it without killing them? And when would it be the best time to do it? Temperatures are in the 70s.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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I have several agapanthus, and divide them when the weather isn't too hot. 70's sound perfect to me.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 10:34AM
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I find it virtually impossible to divide agapanthus. Their roots are intensely intertwined. I suppose you could dig them up, then soak them in water to remove the soil, then try to pull them apart.

Good luck. I've tried several times and could never manage. Very likely my impatience was at fault. People do divide them so it must be possible.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 1:26PM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

Would it kill them if I just use a knife and cut thru the root system? The plants are so beautiful now, I would kick myself if they will not survive.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 2:14PM
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I found this in an article. Maybe this will help you.

If the root mass is very large, or tight and tangled, you can raise the clump 1 to 2 feet off the ground and drop it. This should loosen the root mass, and you can pull the individual plants apart. This is not a good method for plants with brittle roots such as peonies.

Plants that have very tough, vigorous root systems (agapanthus, red-hot pokers and ornamental grasses) may have to be divided with a shovel, saw or ax. You can also vigorously hose off soil to make the root system easier to work with

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 11:00AM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

I will give it a shot next spring.
Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 2:53PM
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I am in california, and as i said in an earlier post, i divide mine all the time. I don't treat them gingerly -- i use a knife to divide them. And you're right, it's tough work. but i've grown and given away enough to fill a nursery. in my opinion, agapanthus are tough. i'd still have mine in my garden, but the deer would eat and eat them. it just wasn't fair to the plants to keep torturing them season after season. I never saw a single bloom!

don't know if it matters, but i've grown 'elaine', 'storm cloud', 'inapertus' and 'blue denim'. Blue denim and Inapertus were my favorites. Love those dark, dark inky blue pendulous blooms. just wish the deer didn't love them as much as i do :-(

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 4:53PM
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jxa44, where did you find your Blue Denim and Inapertus agapanthus? All I ever see for sale are the very common white or pale blue kind. I'm in California too, but I have a fenced garden. My DH really likes agapanthus, and I'd like to experiment with more kinds.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 6:10PM
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Like some people are foodies I'm a "gardenie". I beg, borrow or rustle plants :-) Most of my agapanthus have come from other garden lovers. If you're close by and want some agapanthus, e-mail me, and we can work out a SASE trade. They're heavy though and I'm not sure which is which any more. I got so frustrated with the deer eating the heck out of them one day, that I just started yanking them out of the garden bed one day. I didn't have the heart to toss them in the compost pile, so they are hanging out in some growers pots at the end of my driveway. they don't look like much now -- they herbaceuous, but I'm willing to share them with someone who would cheris them.

Ping me.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 6:32PM
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mccollja(4 Twin Cities MN)

I have an agapanthus in a large pot that my sister gave me to keep for the winter. We are in Minnesota so must bring in. I checked a local garden store web site and found that they like to be dried and then stored in a dark, cool (45 degrees) location for the winter while they are dormant. It might be too late for that this year. Hers too needs to be divided and the article said to do this in the spring. I'm hoping to get part of hers, so I don't want to kill it! Do you think I should keep watering it at this point or just let it dry out? To read the article go to www.bachmans.com/retail/tipsheets/indoor_plants/agapanthus.cfm.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 9:21AM
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ninjabut(USDA z 8,CA)

I tried the www.bachmans........... site, but no go. Bummer.
I've got some totally root bound agapanthus, and I was going to have my DH quarter them with a small chain saw.
Will this work?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 8:23PM
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I divided mine yesterday. It was a huge pot that I couldn't lift so I turned it over and the whole thing came out. I than took out all the dirt between the roots. Got a big knife and quartered it. Now to plant?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 11:14AM
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My pot bound plant is in a curved pot, smaller at the top. How do I get the agapanthus out? The pot itself is gorgeous and I don't want to break it. Can I chop the plants? There must be many in there.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 10:13AM
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If your pot has a smaller opening at the top than its largest circumference and your agapanthus have filled the pot, your choices are limited. Since you want to preserve the pot, some of the agapanthus are going to have to be sacrificed to get the rest out.
You certainly can cut them up while they are still in the pot--to divide them, you would be doing that anyway. To make it easier to see what you're doing, you might want to consider hosing or soaking out as much dirt as you can--definitely a task to be undertaken out of doors. Again, if you were planning on dividing them, removing the dirt would probably be something you would be doing. Don't soak them long enough for the roots to swell-that will make it worse, perhaps much worse.
Once you can get a clearer view of the situation, I'd take a look at the clump and wiggle things around a bit. Then I'd see which ones are smallest and wiggliest and start there. Once you've gotten a few of them out, you might get lucky and be able to take out the rest of the clump as a whole. Otherwise, just keep rinsing out more dirt and wiggling or cutting pieces free.


PS: When you replant, I'd definitely suggest using a different pot. Agapanthus can multiply rapidly when they're happy, and jacking them out of a beloved pot is probably not a task you'll want to repeat.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 9:06AM
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