Agapanthus Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Agapanthus plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

African Lily, Blue African lily, & Lily-of-the-Nile: Cultivation & Garden Use

The common names for members of the Half Hardy perennial Agapanthus Plant Genus include African Lily, Blue African lily, and Lily of the Nile.

They typically flower in the summer.

J.S. Peterson @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Description of the African lily and Lily of the Nile

Agapanthus plants can have stalks from 60 to 120 cm (two to four feet) in height. The African lily has funnel shaped white or blue flowers, and thick strap like leaves.

Agapanthus Blue Giant
Agapanthus blue giant photograph by IrisDragon

Growing Agapanthus: How to Grow Blue African lilies and Lily of the Nile Plants

It is best to sow African Lilies and Lily of the Nile plant seeds just below the soil surface. Bury bulbs at a depth of 5 cm (2 inches).

Ideally locate or transplant with a spacing of 45 to 60 cm (18 to 24 inches).

Do this after the last frost of spring.

African lilies prefer light shade or full sunlight. The soil should be well drained and moist.

Agapanthus species require between 20 days and 90 days to germinate.

If first growing Agapanthus indoors then they should be sown in an area that is at a temperature of 15 to 21°C (59 to 70°F).

Agapanthus praecox
Agapanthus - Lily of The Nile Plant by Sue Hasker

Agapanthus care: Caring for Blue african lilies in the garden

Agapanthus care is pretty easy as the Lily of the Nile Plant and Blue African lilies are fairly easy to care for.

They require regular watering, and should be fertilised every couple of weeks whilst growing.

When grown from seed African lilies may take as long as four years of growth before they flower.

The plants should be deadheaded, to maintain yearly healthy blooming.

Agapanthus Plant Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: African Lily, Lily of the Nile Plant, Blue Lily.
  • Main Species: Agapanthus africanus; Agapanthus campanulatus; Agapanthus caulescens; Agapanthus coddii; Agapanthus inapertus; and Agapanthus praecox.
  • Cultivars: There are hundreds of Agapanthus cultivars and hybrids available, examples include 'Albovittatus', 'Bressingham White', 'Liliput', 'Loch Hope', 'Northern Star', 'Purple Cloud', and the Agapanthus Headbourne hybrids.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
  • Height: 24 to 48 inches (60—120 cm).
  • Native: Southern Africa.
  • Growing Region: Zones 8 to 10, grow in containers in cooler areas.
  • Flowers: Summer.
  • Flower Details: Blue, purple, white. Funnel-shaped. Pseudo umbel of up to 100 tiny florets.
  • Foliage: Herbaceous. Monocot. Basal leaves. Linear/strap-like, curved. Up to 24 inches (60 cm) in length.
  • Grow Outside::
    Seeds: Cover seed. Following the last frost. Seed grown plants typically take four years to first bloom.
    Bulbs: 2 inches (5 cm). Pointy end up. Cover with soil and then firm it. Plant Agapanthus bulbs in the spring once the temperature has reached 55°F (13°C). As bulbs will not start to grow until they reach this temperature they may be subject to rot if planted too early.
  • Sow Inside: Germination time: three weeks to three months. Temperature: 60 to 70°F (15—21°C). Space at 18 to 24 inches (45—60 cm).
  • Requirements and care: Full sunlight for best results, or partial shade (Do not plant new crowns in the shade). Good drainage (drainage can be improved by adding sand or rotted manure).
    Moist soil. Regular watering. Fertilize once a fortnight. Deadhead to encourage longer blooming. Once blooming has finished do not cut back foliage and provide light watering. Yellow, decaying foliage can be removed when it appears. Use a dry mulch (straw/sand) or in colder areas, lift bulbs from containers, trenches before the first frost and bring inside, store in trays of dry sand in an area that is free of frost.
  • Family: Amaryllidaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Allium, Leeks, Agapanthus, Amarylis, Narcissus, Galanthus, Zephyranthes.
  • Miscellaneous: Named after the Greek words for love (agape) and flower (anthos). Invasive species in many areas, considered a weed in New Zealand.

Common Questions

How many members does the Agapanthus genus have?

The Agapanthus genus contains about 10 species.

Do members of Agapanthus make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Agapanthus, known as African Lily, is popular in gardens for its striking blue or white flowers and is great for borders.

Which Agapanthus species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Agapanthus africanus and Agapanthus praecox are commonly grown by gardeners.

Are members of the Agapanthus fragrant?

Some Agapanthus varieties have a light, sweet fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Agapanthus?

Agapanthus prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil. It can also tolerate coastal conditions.

Is Agapanthus invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Agapanthus is not generally considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Agapanthus from my garden?

Removal can be done by digging up the entire plant, including the deep roots.

How many members does the Agastache genus have?

The Agastache genus contains about 22 species.


The Agapanthus genus, known as Lily of the Nile, includes perennial plants with showy blue or white flower clusters. Native to southern Africa, Agapanthus plants thrive in well-drained soil and full sun exposure. They are drought-tolerant and withstand coastal conditions. Regular watering during the growing season is essential. Propagation can be done through division or seeds. Agapanthus species are used in borders, containers, and as focal points, adding elegance and beauty to garden designs.

Agapanthus plants bring elegance and grace with their striking flower clusters. The vibrant blooms create a captivating display, brightening up landscapes. The tall stems add vertical interest, while strap-like leaves provide an attractive foliage backdrop. Agapanthus is a valuable addition to any garden, adding a touch of sophistication and beauty.

Also see the How to grow How to grow Agapanthus africanus species specific garden plant growing guide. You may also be intersted in other lilies such as Paradise lily, Crinum plants, and Gloriosa-lily.