Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
Plant Common Name
African Lily, Compton's Lily-of-the-Nile
Rarely available in commerce, Agapanthus comptonii is a compact species of evergreen African lily with shorter flower stems. Its rounded flower clusters consist of relatively large, open-faced liliaceous blooms ranging from pale to medium blue. The clusters have fewer blooms than other more common evergreen African lilies. Like most African lilies, the tepals have darker blue lines down their centers. Blooms appear in summer. It is native to the montane grasslands of southern Africa.
African lilies are clump-forming plants that spread by rhizomes. Their terminal clusters of broadly funnel-shaped flowers are lightly scented and most profuse in summer. Bees and birds pollinate the flowers. Small seed capsules, which turn from green to brown, follow pollination. Plants can self-sow. Cut spent stems back to keep plants looking tidy, encourage further flowering and deter seedlings.
Agapanthus grow best in full sun and average, well-drained soil. Slightly acid, rocky or sandy soils are best. Established plants withstand substantial periods of drought. Where marginally hardy, grow them in sheltered locations and protect with mulch in autumn. Overwinter indoor specimens in a cool bright spot and water sparingly from fall to midwinter. Plant African lilies as border specimens, container plants or in masses as groundcover. They are quite carefree; pest and disease problems are few and deer do not feed on them. The showy umbels make dramatic cut flowers. Despite the African origins of Agapanthus, their flowers are attractive to hummingbirds in North America.
Alpine, Container, Cutflower, Foundation, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical
Sharp or Has Thorns