Agapanthus; African Lily:
The most hardy and robust variety is Agapanthus africanus. It will survive outdoors all winter as long as it has really good drainage – so no soggy bottoms and it gets as much sunshine as possible. There are other agapanthus varieties, but most of those you need to overwinter in a greenhouse or conservatory.
The only two problems with this plant is that in winter the leaves do go all soft, mushy and floppy (especially after a frost) but don’t pull them off to tidy it up until the danger of frost has past. As these mushy leaves do provide some protection to the base of the plant. It also does spread quite easily.
However if you can forgive that, Agapanthus rewards you with an amazing display that really is quite gorgeous, think 3ft high huge balls of blue!
We have used Agapanthus in:
These apparently grow so prolifically in South Africa, many out there regard them as weeds – well I love this ‘weed’. Agapanthus look really stunning if you get a good clump of them together, whether you put these in pots (which usually they do really well in) or whether you have them in the garden, sunshine, really well drained soil and neglect and they seem to thrive!
I never mulch or feed mine, if I have I got loads of green fleshy leaves and a pifflling number of flower heads, so ‘treat em mean to keep em keen’ is the watch word, that way the plants think ‘oh gosh I’m going to die’, so send up loads of flowers which will set seed and ensure its offspring survives. However if you are cunning enough to ensure they get a watering occasionally (especially the potted ones), they get to the end of the year and you can trick them all over again next summer! Oh, in case you wonder what they look like, think large electric blue balls of flowers on stalks 3 feet high.