Agapanthus Flower – Secrets of Successful Agapanthus Cultivation
Agapanthus is native to Southern and Central Africa. It is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. The root system is shallow, broad, creeping, and fleshy, most concentrated fairly close to the ground. The leaves are long, about 50-70 cm long, linear, with a dark green color, forming a dense root system. It continues to produce new leaves between blooms, forming a voluminous green bush.
At the beginning of the flowering period, strong, smooth, naked pedicels about 50-120 cm long grow from the center of the root system. A large round-shaped inflorescence, up to 25-40 cm in diameter, forms at the end of the flower stalk. Agapanthus flower is funnel-shaped and bell-shaped; the color can be white, blue, blue, or purple. One inflorescence can form up to 100 buds. Flowers grow from the top of the flower stalk, each on its stem. Each flower in the inflorescence is 3 – 5 cm long. The buds do not bloom simultaneously, so the Agapanthus has had a flowering appearance for quite a long time, from July to October.
Agapanthus is often grown as an indoor plant. At home, it has the property of absorbing heavy metals in the air and also helps to clean the air from pathogens and harmful microbes. After the flowering season, a fruit is formed on the flower stalk – a box with seeds. The Agapanthus cannot boast of various varieties; over-pollination of flowers can form interesting hybrids. The most common varieties are Agapanthus africanus, bell-shaped, oriental, and umbrella.
Secrets of Successful Agapanthus Cultivation
Due to the lack of cold tolerance, Agapanthus has recently become more often grown in room culture. This plant feels quite comfortable in places with good light in the summer (on a lighted window sill or balcony). But during its resting period (in winter), it should be placed in a dark room at a temperature of about 12 °C, and its watering should be reduced.
Agapanthus is grown either in the open ground or in containers, which in summer are taken to the garden in a bright and windless place (semi-shade is allowed). This plant is generally unpretentious, but in our climate, the open ground does not winter.
Only in the south is it possible to cultivate Agapanthus as an evergreen perennial that does not require replanting for seven years. It is covered in winter with a layer (up to 25 cm) of dry leaves or sawdust. In our latitudes, agapanthus is sometimes planted in the spring in the garden. Still, in the fall, it must be dug out, planted again in a container with suitable soil and drainage, taken to a dark room with a temperature not exceeding 15 ° C and stored until spring. During the “winter hibernation,” Agapanthus only occasionally water with a small amount of water, and in the spring, watering makes it regular and plentiful. When the plant “wakes up,” it feeds every 10 days, alternating organic and mineral fertilizers.
Agapanthus prefers fertile soils with neutral acidity or low alkalinity and sufficient organic matter. The site for growing this African plant should be sunny and protected from the wind. You should keep a distance of at least 50 cm between the plants, so they don’t get in each other’s way.
Agapanthus is resistant to drought and does not need water spraying, but abundant soil watering contributes to its faster development and more attractive appearance. Agapanthus can be propagated in two ways – by dividing the rhizomes or by seeds.
Dividing is done when repotting Agapanthus from a container to the open ground or after flowering (the most favorable period). Care should be taken with the plant, and care should be taken not to damage the roots. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the rhizome into parts so that each contains leaves and roots. The cut should be covered with charcoal, the roots placed in a vessel with a damp substrate or wrapped in a wet cloth (the amount should remain in the air), and the plant put in a shady place for 3 days. Then the dividers are planted in the previously prepared soil. The first time plants are watered infrequently and in small amounts, and as the Agapanthus grows, watering is abundant.
With seed propagation in March-April, seeds are sown into seedlings in a container, not too deep. Then they are sprayed with water and covered with glass. Once a day, the cover is removed for half an hour to allow the seedlings to air out. When several pairs of leaves appear, plants are planted in separate containers. However, this method is rarely used since Agapanthuses grew from seed bloom only in 5-6 years.
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Caring for Agapanthus
The plant is light-loving, with a lack of light, the leaves turn pale, and the flower stems begin to stretch, spoiling the appearance as the stems become brittle. In this case, it is necessary to put up a prop. It is undesirable to plant plants in windy places; a strong wind can break the flower stems.
Agapanthus tolerates temperatures from +10 to +28 ° C. For good and vigorous growth, strong stems, lush color, and leaves, the plant requires organic fertilizers, which are introduced into the soil 2 – 3 times a week until the period of seed maturation.
The plant is brought into a cool room to prepare for the winter. If it germinates in the open ground, it is dug together with the soil, placed in a box, and left in a cool room. At this time, the plant does not need care.
If you follow the conditions of maintenance and care, you can grow a beautiful plant. Agapanthus can get seedlings using seeds, but when growing from seed, you should have patience because the first arrow with flowers can be seen only in 5-7 years.
Growing the flower using a plot from the mother plant, the flowering will be immediately when planted in the ground.
There are three ways to propagate Agapanthus: by seeds, division of root rosettes, and sprouts. Planting seeds is made in early spring. They first spend two to three hours soaking in cold water. Prepare a wide container or box and fertilized peat loose soil and drainage. At the bottom of the box, pour a drainage height of 3 – 5 cm, then fill the soil, and moisten it well with a sprayer. Make shallow holes, in each place, one seed.
All covered with earth and lightly tamped. Glass or cellophane should be used to cover the box to create a greenhouse effect. 2 – 3 times a day, the covering material is removed for 20 minutes for airing. You need to monitor the moisture content of the soil, do not let it dry out. After 1-2 weeks, Agapanthus seeds will show the first sprouts; at this stage, remove the covering material. The seedlings can be transferred into separate pots with soil that is more fertile as soon as the fourth leaf develops.
Propagation by division is made in the fall or early spring before flowering. The plant is dug out completely to pick up the roots deeper. Slightly shake off the root system from the soil, and, using a sharp knife, cut off part of the roots with 2-3 root rosettes. To avoid rotting the cuts, they are treated – dried, and covered with activated charcoal.
The separate parts are sprayed with water; the roots are wrapped in a damp cloth. In this form, the plant should be kept for a few days and then planted in the ground. When watering in the first few days after a transplant, you should use very little water. As soon as the plant takes root and goes into growth, perform a complete watering.
In a sufficiently mature plant next to the main root rosette, young shoots appear – daughters, which can be separated and planted as independent plants. And this method of propagation requires special care; when separating the seedling from the mother bush, it is necessary to try not to damage the roots. Otherwise, both the seedling and the adult plant can suffer.
Throughout the entire growth and flowering period, the plant is watered abundantly, ensuring good flowering. It should not be allowed to stagnate water; in this case, the roots can begin to rot. The flower needs to ensure good drainage of the soil. When the temperature drops, the amount of water is reduced. During the winter, watering the plant is not required; just make sure the roots do not dry out.
Planting and Care in the Open Ground
When growing Agapanthus in the open ground, it is necessary to observe several rules.
The plants should be planted at a distance of 50 cm from each other; since Agapanthus has lush foliage, the area for comfortable growth needs a lot. The depth of planting a seedling or sprout is at most 10-15 cm.
Periodically, you need to cut off dried flowers and leaves, so they do not spoil the plant’s appearance.
Types of Agapanthus
- Agapanthus umbellatus
Other names are “African lily” or “Abyssinian beauty.” Agapanthus umbellatus grows up to 70 cm.
The leaves are dark green, grow densely from the root area, and are long, about 45 – 60 cm wide, with a distinct groove along the whole length of the leaf, and a little narrow at the edges. The flower stalk grows to 1 m.
The inflorescence is voluminous, ball-like, and up to 45 cm in diameter. One flower stalk gives rise to 30 bluish, funnel-shaped flowers. Each flower consists of six petals, which join together at the stalks—flowering peaks between June and July.
- Agapanthus umbrella is a perennial such as Agapanthus blue. Its stem grows to 1 m. Flowers are bell-shaped, bright-blue, about 2 – 3.5 cm in diameter, combined in umbrella inflorescences at the top of the flower stalk. Leaves are long and tightly growing from the root zone—the flowering period from July to September.
Great for growing as an indoor plant and in the garden and flower beds.
- Agapanthus orientalis
Native to South Africa. A perennial, evergreen plant. Grows to 70 cm. Leaves are long, curved, and broadly linear up to 60 cm long. The ball-like inflorescence includes up to 100 blue flowers. The beginning of flowering is July to August.
- Agapanthus africanus
An evergreen perennial up to 65 cm tall. Leaves are straight, up to 40 cm long, dark green with a light longitudinal stripe, emerging from a root rosette. The stem with the inflorescence reaches 70 cm. The inflorescence is up to 25 cm in diameter. A single stalk holds 20 to 30 flowers, depending on the variety, in white, blue, blue, and purple. Agapanthus africans start blooming in mid-July.
- Agapanthus campanulatus
The leaves are short, narrow, and no more than 15 cm long. The plant drops its leaves as the colder months approach. The beginning of flowering is in mid-July to early August. The flowers are bell-shaped and blue.
During the cold season in closed rooms, the air is dry because of the heating system, but this does not affect the well-being of the room Agapanthus.
Additional spraying will not hurt the plant, but the lack of it will not harm the flower. Agapanthus at home gives lush color only in wide pots with good drainage systems and under the condition of abundant watering and periodic fertilizing fertilizers. Agapanthus perennial is one of the favorite decorative plants among gardeners.
Abundant green dense foliage, tall peduncles, and lush bright flowers can decorate any bed or flower bed. Many use Agapanthus flowers in floristics. Useful antiviral properties of the rhizome are widely used in folk medicine.
How to take care of Agapanthus?
During the “winter hibernation,” Agapanthus is only occasionally watered with a small amount of water, and in the spring, watering is made regular and abundant. When the plant “wakes up,” it starts to be fertilized every 10 days, alternating organic and mineral fertilizers.
Why doesn’t the agapanthus bloom?
Agapanthus needs warmth and bright diffused light to bloom abundantly. It is undemanding to the soil. But it grows better in nutritious soils (neutral or slightly alkaline) with good drainage. If there is a lack of light, more leaves are formed, and the plant may not bloom.
How do you know if you’ve flooded a flower?
If there is too much water, the leaves fall off. They show signs of rot, the lower leaves turn yellow, their tips turn brown, the flowers get moldy, and the roots go sour.