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AGAPANTHUS africanus 'Albus'

Image of Agapanthus africanus 'Albus'

James H. Schutte

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

AGAPANTHUS africanus 'Albus'

Plant Common Name

African Lily, White Lily-of-the-Nile

General Description

The fresh white blooms of white African lily add a light splash to the flower border. This evergreen perennial originates from South Africa. Year-round it produces large clumps of arching, glossy green, strap-like leaves. Flowering is most profuse from spring through summer.

Wild African lily populations inhabit a small area along the western Cape Province of South Africa where winter rainfall is plentiful. They grow in the sandy acid soils between rocks along open mountainsides from sea level up to 1000 meters. Agapanthus africanus will not tolerate freezing weather for extended periods, though select cultivars and hybrids are considerably hardier than wild-type plants.

Agapanthus form substantial clumps that arise from thick fleshy roots that spread. Though technically evergreen, the foliage may die back until spring if plants are subjected to hard, but not killing, frost. Attractive rounded clusters of small, lily-like flowers are produced throughout the growing season. Bees pollinate the flowers and small seed capsules, which turn from green to brown, follow. Cut spent stems back to keep plants looking tidy and encourage further bloom.

Provide lily-of-the-Nile full to partial sun and soil that is fertile, well-drained and acid to neutral. For best flowering, water regularly during the summer months, but keep plants drier through early winter months. Established plants will withstand substantial periods of drought. Specimens grown in containers or small garden spaces should be divided regularly as clumps tend to spread vigorously. Where marginally hardy, grow in a sheltered spot and mulch in late autumn. Indoors, overwinter in a bright spot and water sparingly late in the season.

Lily-of-the-Nile is best planted as a groundcover, border specimen or container plant. It is quite carefree; pest and disease problems are few and deer do not feed on it. The showy umbels make dramatic cut flowers.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Width

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    South Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor, Striped

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Cutflower, Edging, Foundation, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No