By Heather Rhoades
Image by The Marmot
Simply a delight to look at, the African Nile lily makes for a very beautiful landscape plant. Also called the lily of the Nile, or Agapanthus, this flower is soft and romantic looking. Very appropriate, considering that the name Agapanthus comes from the Greek words meaning love and flower. Keep reading to get tips for growing an Agapanthus African Nile lily.
About the African Lily of the Nile Flower
Originating from South Africa, the African Nile lily is valued for its bluish purple flowers and contrasting deep green leaves. Although white varieties of this perennial do exist, the blue version is much more popular among gardeners. The African Nile lily has a long flowering period – from early summer to the beginning of fall.
Perhaps what is so striking about the African lily of the Nile flower is the fact that each flower is a huge sphere made up of many smaller flowers – actually they are bell-shaped florets. Held up on a 2′ sturdy stalk, the African Nile lily can have as many as a dozen blooms at a time.
Growing an Agapanthus African Nile Lily
African lily plants are hardy in zones 7-11. They can be grown in colder zones, but must be planted deeper into the ground and lifted for the winter.
To get the most out of your Agapanthus, plant in an area that gets full sun to light shade and make sure soil is kept moist (but not soggy). Plant the rhizomes about an inch deep and space 18-24 inches apart. When grown in containers (which is actually how they grow best), plant a single rhizome in a 12″ pot or three in a 20″ pot.
As part of your care for an African lily of the Nile plant, it is recommended that you water and fertilize regularly for the best results but, amazingly, these lovely flowers will endure almost total neglect. It should be fertilized every 2-3 weeks.
These amazing flowers will certainly draw attention to your garden. Whether in a border or in a pot, visitors are sure to fall in love with this blue beauty. The African Nile lily truly is the flower of love.