klew(Z7b/8, NE PDX, OR)February 22, 2010

Something nasty has happened to my beautiful Storm King agapanthus.

When cleaning beds this weekend, I noticed that the "crown" area, where the leaves come up out of the ground, was mushy and a pale cream color. Has the plant rotted? Should I consider it a goner, or will it come back from the roots? How to avoid this in the future, with this plant or another?

I know bulbs can go this way, and dahlias...but agapanthus?


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It is probably a goner. The mushy parts are dead plant tissue that froze and are now rotting. Those 10 degree days we had in December I would think would be more than enough to do them in. However, the only way to be sure is to check the bulbs themselves and hope that the bulb tops weren't frozen. From your description, I would expect the worst.
I've never grown Agapanthus because I completely expect it not to survive our winters.
I've had a couple of so-called "hardy" shrubs not survive. Even though the winter has been quite mild, the blast we got in December was way colder than usual, and happened early in the Winter. Double whammy.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 2:37PM
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Mine have done this every year since I planted them (3-4 years ago) and they've come back every time. You may want to give them a little more time.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 6:14PM
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Ouch. Last winter was a killer. I took a pick axe to my red pentstommens. Agapanthus could be mush but I'm waiting to see. Gotta pick out dead lavatera, too.
I'm gonna replace plants cause I like them.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 9:55PM
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I'm with lucretia on this one :-) I'd suggest a wait and see attitude as well. Many agapanthus DO grow here in the PNW and typically survive our winters well, providing they have very good drainage. Much like hebes, agapanthus share a rule of thumb regarding hardiness: the smaller, narrower the foliage, the hardier the plant. Many of the dwarf forms are very hardy - to zone 5. I grew a dwarf white in a container for many years, leaving it outside year round. It bloomed routinely and heavier each season as the roots crowded.

'Storm Cloud', having larger, broader foliage is not as hardy but is still listed to zone 7. I had it in my old garden for about 5 years.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 10:16AM
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Yes, definitely wait. I live in Lake O and in past seasons have seen growth on mine as late as mid summer. They seem to bounce back sometimes. My storm cloud died but my peter pans are surviving.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 12:25PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Sadly, I've had little success with Agapanthus. I've killed several. Even the ones in my greenhouse don't bloom.

My friend in Gresham which is colder and windier than my house has had one in a big pot for years. Blooms like crazy. No idea the cultivar though it is dark blue and not dwarf.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 3:39PM
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George Three LLC

man, this plant was the bane of my garden when i lived in SF. year round slug habitat, and pretty boring most of the time. competed for space, and kept getting weeds intermixed into it.

when i finally removed them i broke two 2x4s trying to pry them out. just an insanely huge plant down below.

i hate hate hate them still to this day.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 4:54PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I tried 3 varieties in the ground, they never bloomed. I guess I should have had them in pots but will not try them again. I much prefer trouble-free plants like Pulmonaria.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 9:38PM
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