|Agapanthus africanus subsp. var.||African lily, Blue African lily, Lily-of-the-Nile|
Agapanthus africanus (African lily, Lily of the Nile; syn. Agapanthus umbellatus) has a short stem bearing a tuft of long, narrow, arching leaves 10-35 cm long and 1-2 cm broad, and a central flower stalk 25-60 cm tall, ending in an umbel of 20-30 bright blue, funnel-shaped flowers, each flower 2.5-5 cm diameter.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Agapanthus umbellatus, L'Her. AFRICAN LILY. Lily-of-the- Nile (although native to Cape of Good Hope region). Fig. 136. Lvs. 2 ft. long and numerous, thick, narrow: scape rising 2-3 ft. from the lf.-rosette, bearing an umbel of 10-30 handsome blue fls.; perianth funnel-shaped, 1 1/2-2 in. long, with short tube.—One of the best known of half-hardy liliaceous plants. Very variable in the wild, and many of the forms have been intro. to cult. Tall or giant forms: Var. multiflorus, Voss. (var. maximus, Hort. A. multiflorus, Willd.), taller than the prevailing forms, the bright blue large fls. as many as 30-60 in an umbel, the lvs. broader; Var. giganteas, Hort., a very robust form (to 4 ft.) with 150-200 dark blue fls. Dwarf forms: Var. minor, Hort., very small, with slender narrow lvs. (1/2 in. or less broad) and deep blue fls. which are 1 in. or less long; var. Mooreanus, Hort., l 1/2 ft., lvs. short and upright, fls. dark blue, and as large as in A. umbellatus itself; hardy; var. Leichtlinii, Hort., 1 1/2 ft., fls. bright hyacinth-blue in a very compact umbel. Variegated forms: Var. variegatus, Hort., lvs. white with sparse green stripes, rather small; var. aureus, Hort., lvs. striped yellow. White-fld. forms: Var. albidus, Hort., fls. pure white, rather small but many, the lvs. usually not persisting; var. Saintpaulii, Hort., apparently similar to last: fls. smaller than in A. umbellatus. Blue fld. forms of usual habit: Var. pallidus, Hort., fls. pale porcelain-blue; var. Weillighii, Hort., fls. lavender with indigo-blue lines and margins; var. Saundersonianus, Hort., fls. dark blue; var. atrocaeruleus, Hort., fls. dark violet; var. praecox, Hort. (var. minimus, Lindl. A. praecox, Willd.), is an earlier form, blooming in June or even earlier and by some regarded as a distinct species, the lvs. narrower than in the type, fls. smaller and 30-40 in the umbel, pale blue, with narrow perianth segms., and the peduncle or scape short; var. flore pleno, Hort., a double-fld. blue form, the fls. long-lasting. Very recent introductions are: Var. globosus (A. globosus, Bull), a dwarf-growing form, producing dense globular umbels on long scapes, the fls. about 1 in. across, the outer segms. lilac-blue shaded white and the inner ones emarginate and darker, the lvs. deciduous; var. insignis (A. insignis, Bull), tall, the basal part of the arching lvs. milk-white, the fls. very numerous on long slender pedicels and drooping in the very large umbel, pale lavender. Var. caulescens (A. caulescens, Spreng.), fls. blue, lighter inside, long-pediceled and the outer ones nodding, the root with thickened fibers; intro. by Carl Sprenger of Naples.
Agapanthus is hardy outdoors in the south of England and Ireland if protected from severe frosts. Easy to cultivate and (in areas that have winter) are generally grown in large pots or tubs that can be protected from frost.
During the summer they require plenty of water and are very effective on the margins of lakes or by running streams, where they thrive. They may be propagated from offsets or by dividing the rootstock in early spring or autumn.
Seed, or if you want true offspring, by division.
Pests and diseases
Several cultivars are known, such as 'Albus' (with white flowers), 'Sapphire' (dark blue flowers), 'Aureus' (leaves striped with yellow), and 'Variegatus' (leaves almost entirely white with a few green bands). There are also double-flowered and larger- and smaller-flowered cultivars.
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- Bailey, L. H. (1920). Manual of Gardening, a Practical Guide to the Making of Home Grounds (2nd Ed. ed.). New York: Macmillan. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. OCLC 2481316. http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/9550.