Agapanthus (group)

Common Name: lily of the Nile 
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Zone: 6 to 10
Height: 1.50 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Blue, purple, white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy


Agapanthus is best grown in tubs or containers in the St. Louis area (Zone 6) where it is not reliably winter hardy. Although Agapanthus hybrids are mostly winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10, some of the deciduous hybrids may be grown in the ground year-round as far north as Zone 6. These are tender perennials that grow from fleshy-rooted rhizomes. For container plants, plant rhizome 1/2" below soil surface, keep soils consistently moist and provide moderate fertilization during the growing season (spring and summer). Plants bloom best when roots are pot-bound. Site containers in locations with afternoon shade. In fall prior to the first frost, remove containers to a bright, frost-free location for overwintering. Provide very limited water in winter (for evergreen types, provide just enough water to keep leaves from drying/wilting). Return containers outdoors in spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Agapanthus, commonly called lily of the Nile, is native to South Africa (not the Nile River region as the misleading common name suggests). It produces rounded clusters of funnel-shaped flowers atop stiff, upright, leafless, fleshy stalks rising above a dense mound of basal narrow, strap-shaped, linear, grass-like leaves. Blooms in summer. Hybrids come in a variety of colors (dark purples to blues to whites) and in sizes ranging from dwarf plants (18" tall) to large cultivars (to 4' tall). Leaves may be evergreen or deciduous. Leaves of some cultivars are variegated. Foliage mounds are generally attractive when plants are not in bloom.

Genus name comes from the Greek words agape meaning love and anthos meaning flower.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Pots, containers. Good fresh cut flower.