Agapanthus (Agapanthus spp.) Provide big, exotic flowers to improve early through mid-summer garden screens. The common name for Agapanthus is lily of the Nile, and there are a number of varieties of this perennial plant, a few evergreen and a few deciduous. Lily of the Nile grows well in containers, along with the limited root zone of containerized plants seems to encourage flowering. Most varieties grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, and also a few grow in USDA zones 6 and 7 through 10. Care entails feeding plants to promote blooming and boost growth after flowering.
Feeding In-Ground and Containerized Plants
Feeding lily of the Nile in spring and late summer encourages the plant to flower well. To feed an in-ground lily of the Nile, spread a ready-to-use, slow-release granular 12-4-8 fertilizer at a speed of 4 tablespoons per 4 square feet round the plant when it begins growing in spring. Feed a potted lily of the Nile in the exact same time, applying 3 layers of fertilizer to a 12-inch container or 5 tablespoons of fluid into a 14-inch container. Sprinkle the granules evenly over the soil surface, avoiding the plant stems. Fertilize lily of the Nile with the exact same product in exactly the exact rates after the final flowers have disappeared. Manufacturer’s directions may vary, so consistently use fertilizers according to the product label.
Watering Lily of the Nile
Water needs for lily of the Nile vary according to the season. When the plant is actively growing, lily of the Nile needs water when the soil surface is dry to a depth of 1 inch from containers or about in-ground plants. Containers for lily of the Nile must have drainage holes. Water a potted plant until water runs through the drainage holes, and leave it to drain prior to returning the container to its drip tray. Water an in-ground lily of the Nile thoroughly, however, stop watering as soon as the water begins to puddle around the plant. Lily of the Nile needs very little water over winter since it stops growing. Water potted evergreen plants enough to prevent the leaves from wilting, and keep potted deciduous plants only moist 2 to 3 inches beneath the soil surface. In-ground evergreen and deciduous plants rarely need water.
Pruning lily of the Nile helps keep plants looking tidy. Wipe the blades of pruning shears with rubbing alcohol, and prune blossom comes as the flowers fade, cutting the stems in their foundations. Prune damaged leaves evergreen and deciduous plants, and also eliminate yellowing and dead leaves from deciduous plants in fall. Place lily of the Nile prunings on a compost pile or in the trash. Sterilize the pruning shear blades again when you’ve completed to avoid risk of transferring pests or diseases to other plants.
Protecting Lily of the Nile
In USDA zone 8, lily of the Nile needs protection from cold snaps. Potted plants should be set in a frost-free indoor area if weather forecasts predict temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Place evergreen varieties in a bright area from direct sunlight and put deciduous varieties within an out of the way, cool, dry place. To protect in-ground evergreen and deciduous plants from cold weather, then spread a 5- to 6-inch layer of straw over the root zone. Place baskets over the plants to hold the mulch in place and also to safeguard the leaves of evergreen plants. Eliminate the impurities and covering from in-ground plants and put potted plants out when the weather warms up. Lily of the Nile rarely suffers from serious pests or diseases.