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AGAPANTHUS africanus 'Minor'

Image of Agapanthus africanus 'Minor'

James H. Schutte



Botanical Name

AGAPANTHUS africanus 'Minor'

Plant Common Name

African Lily

General Description

The compact habit of the African lily, 'Minor', makes it ideal for smaller garden spaces. Year-round this evergreen perennial produces clumps of glossy green, strap-like leaves. Long leafless stems topped with rounded clusters of violet-blue, liliaceous flowers appear with regularity, especially if plants are well-tended. Each small bloom is trumpet-shaped with petals that sport dark blue lines down their centers. White-flowered forms also exist. Flowering is most profuse from late-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.


  • 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

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

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

  • Native To

    South Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    Blue Violet

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor, Striped

  • Foliage Color (Spring)


  • Foliage Color (Summer)


  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Alpine, Bedding Plant, Container, Edging, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing