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AGAPANTHUS caulescens

Image of Agapanthus caulescens

International Flower Bulb Centre

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

AGAPANTHUS caulescens

Plant Common Name

African Lily, Lily-of-the-Nile

General Description

Beautiful on all counts, Agapanthus caulescens is a lesser-known, deciduous African lily that is more free-flowering than common evergreen Agapanthus species. It produces tall flower stalks topped with rounded heads of slightly drooping, trumpet-shaped liliaceous blooms that are dark to light blue. Several distinct subspecies exist that differ in flower size and habit. All naturally inhabit rocky grasslands in different regions of Swaziland, a small country to the east of South Africa. This part of Africa has summer rainfall and dry winters.

A clump-forming tender perennial, Agapanthus caulescens spreads via thick, fleshy, rhizomatous roots. Its green, strap-like foliage dies back in winter. The slightly fragrant, vivid blue flowerheads are produced in masses from early summer through to fall, depending on local climate and water availability. Pollination is carried out by bees and birds; hummingbirds visit the blooms in North America. The seedheads that follow are loaded with black seeds that are carried by wind. Plants may self-sow, if growing conditions are favorable.

This African lily is best grown outdoors, where hardy. It requires full sun and sharply drained soil that is slightly acid and rocky. Reduce watering in winter, and divide and transplant in spring as new growth is just starting to emerge. Place this African lily in a rock garden or large container where it can best show off its prolific flowers.

Variants include the slender-leaved, Agapanthus caulescens ssp. angustifolius, which has smaller flowers, and A. caulescens ssp. gracilis, which has smaller flowers with distinctly recurved tepals.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

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

  • Native To

    Southern Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Blue, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Blue Violet

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor, Striped

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark 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

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes