Agapanthus in Michigan

birdinthepalmNovember 11, 2005

I must say one my favorite flowers or one of them, when I lived in California over twenty years ago, had to be the very large Agapanthus africanus , I'd suspect, as I'm sure there are other species grown there as well. Anyway years ago, I grew some Headbourne Hybrids which are supposed to be the most cold hardy strain, though considered a non-evergreen variety. I was much surprised to get flowers in a few years indoors in winter, but thereafter have never seen another flower in probably over ten years, and I've grown some in-ground as well as pots, which I can bring in for our very cold winters and as mentioned never a single flower since the first year, though those original plants are long gone now and the ones I have now are offspring of the original seed grown ones from divisions. The ones grown in-ground yearound always die after a few years even with a heavy mulch and a warmer location next to my house, and even those wouldn't flower nor did they get nearly as large as the ones brought indoors for the winter. Anyway does anyone else grow them past zone 9, 8, or even 7 and get repeat blooms, or even as greenhouse plants or houseplants that flower regularly?? I should pitch my very old plants , but hate to give up, and perhaps I'm overlooking something with the fertilizing or something else. I still want to see those gorgeous blooms again!!

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here in the south potted agapanthus sit in saucers of water all winter, and that seems to promote prolific spring flowers. clumps of agapanthus will grow close to the water lines at ponds and lakes.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2005 at 11:18AM
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They also grow here in my Southern California garden with no irrigation (13" a year, absolutely no rain from May to October most years - we occasionally get a shower in August from a dying tropical system but that doesn't amount to much). I doubt the problem is related to watering, particularly with otherwise healthy plants.


    Bookmark   November 11, 2005 at 1:22PM
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I'd have to say the first post surprises me since, it seems I've suffered some crown rot with mine from time to time , when they were in soggy soil for any length of time, but there might be something besides the wet soil there as well at work , which accounts for the rot, but as mentioned in the second post, most of the Agapanthus don't sometimes ever see much of any supplemental watering as far as I know other than the sometimes heavy winter rains in California, though considering those wet conditions in winter sometimes, it does seem to mesh more with the first post?? Very puzzling to say the least, and to tell the truth if they weren't such huge plants for containers, I'd almost prefer the very big evergreen 'africanus" cultivars. Seems those can have umbels almost ten inches to a foot wide sometimes in the most intense blues, though there are some great new hybrids that have some wonderful intense blues as well. Mine are a pale lavender (When they flower), but I was hoping the seeds I bought would yeild the darker blue flowers as advertised in the catalog. Pretty none the less. It could be another matter of them being one of those bulb plants that really prefer a high potassium and low phosphate fertilizer as well. I've not tried those formulas for any of my tropicals that are supposed to like that much better than the normal flowering blends with high phosphate levels.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2005 at 1:45PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

You might try getting some of the dwarf cultivars such as 'Peter Pan' or 'Queen Anne' or the white foliaged/variegated dwarf cultivars; these would take up less space in the greenhouse/indoors in winter, and are usually more floriferous over a longer season here in California. In particular, A.'Peter Pan' can bloom almost any time of year. As they should normally bloom in mid summer, and can still bloom well even if all their foliage is occasionally frozen to the ground here, I would suggest that it may need more regular fertilizing to get them to bloom as container plants. The new deeper blue cultivars such as 'Mood Indigo' or 'Storm Cloud' are even larger growing than the regular A. praecox, so they may not be the best cultivars for people needing to move them indoors in winter, although as these both tend to go deciduous in winter, they certainly could be whacked back before being taken indoors. All Agapanthus seem to bloom more prolifically if they are really crowded in the pots, and given rich soil. Most of the Agapanthus are actually native to higher elevation subtropical summer rainfall areas of South Africa, but also adapt very well to summer dry/winter wet mediterranean conditions.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 12:24AM
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I have a no-name Agapanthus (I think it was sold only as A. umbellatus) that has overwintered and bloomed here; I don't know yet if it will turn out to flower reliably every year.

Something one could try with older non-flowering potted plants is letting the foliage get frozen back, and then storing the pots in a cool frost-free spot in dormancy. I don't know if this would encourage any varieties of Agapanthus to flower as compared to keeping them growing year-round - but I've had luck doing this with a plant of Crinum 'Ellen Bosanquet' that stubbornly refused to flower over several years of coddling, then bloomed beautifully this past summer after I let it freeze back in late fall and then stored it in a crawl space at 35-45 degrees for the winter.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 9:00PM
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I live in Central California and we've been having a night freeze the past few weeks. My Agapanthus (twelve that line my driveway) which I planted two years ago have been hit hard. They're all yellow and limp to the ground. Should I try and save them or dig them out. A neighbor said to trim them way back to the stump and maybe they would come back. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 3:24PM
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