Agapanthus, the love flower.

Agapanthus – the name alone is significant, coming from the Greek, αγáπη(agape) =love  áνθος(anthus) = flower, and I admit it is one of my favourites. Another South African native, (the type species for the genus is Agapanthus africanus), it looks wonderful there planted in vast drifts in the sunshine.

Agapanthus in their native South Africa

Agapanthus in their native South Africa, Franschhoek.

The funnel-shaped flowers are attractive to bees.

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and come in shades of blues and purples

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as well as the smart white

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The foliage of strappy leaves is also attractive and I love to see the progression as the flowers unfold

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Cultivation :  There are two main types – deciduous and evergreen; the deciduous is hardier. They are drought-tolerant, and do well in coastal situations in well-drained soil in full sun. In colder regions mulch in autumn and split large clumps every few years. They do well in pots, where their roots are constricted, but will need fresh compost every year or two.

‘Which?Gardening’ magazine ran trials on the best varieties and came up with their top four – ‘Northern Star’, ‘Midnight Cascade’, ‘Peter Pan’ and ‘Headbourne Hybrids’.

Their statuesque bearing suits both traditional and modern settings.

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Traditional uses:  Agapanthus is used in traditional medicine in South Africa for fertility and during pregnancy, when the roots and rhizomes are taken. It is seen as a lucky charm, brides wear pieces of the stem and families plant them near the house to bring healthy babies.

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Agapanthus on the slopes of Table Mountain, Cape Town.

So it really is the love plant after all.

14 thoughts on “Agapanthus, the love flower.

  1. Beautiful. Keeping my fingers crossed here for a proper summer to get a good show of mine. I have the blue Headbourne Hybrids which usually flower well, but I love the look of all the white together – do you find the white flower as easily? Thanks. Agnes


  2. How lovely they are. They do look really happy in the photos taken in South Africa. Whilst I have your attention, I really wanted to tell you that I have bought my first cloud-pruned tree! I have no idea where to plant it but I so had to have it. Thanks so much for introducing me to the idea.


      • Yes please! I just can not believe where I found mine. There is a small chain of discount stores in the South West called Trago Mills. I hate going there but it is very good value for things like compost. In the gardening section, next to where the children were having rides on a tiny shetland pony- there it was! I am a little in awe of it and am not sure how to place it in a small garden. So any photos will be very much appreciated.-Karen.


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