Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Agapanthus Campanulatus

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Agapanthus campanulatus (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Agapanthus campanulatus (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1m

Eventual Spread: 50cm

Hardiness: 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Agapanthus campanulatus is a deciduous herbaceous perennial with a clump forming habit. Its mid green leaves are strap like, are variable and appear in groups of up to 12 per plant. Its blue flowers are umbellata and appear on a stalk above the leaves. Its fruit are a three sided capsule which contain black shiny seeds which readily germinate. Its roots are fleshy rhizomes.

Agapanthus campanulatus, commonly known as the Bell Agapanthus, African Bluebell or African Blue Lily, is native to South Africa. In its native habitat it grows on moist grassland and slope.

The etymological root of the binomial name Agapanthus is derived from the Greek agap meaning ‘love’ and anthos meaning ‘flower’. Campanulatus is derived from the Latin is campana meaning ‘bell’, in reference to its flower.

The landscape architect may find Agapanthus campanulatus useful as part of a herbaceous or prairie type planting scheme, particularly in maritime locations. It looks fantastic when planted en mass. Care should be taken when locating this plant due to its potentially toxic nature.

Ecologically, Agapanthus campanulatus flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given the variety Agapanthus campanulatus subsp. patens their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Agapanthus campanulatus Flower (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Agapanthus campanulatus Flower (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Agapanthus campanulatus prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will tolerate poor soils. It requires moist soil during the summer months and dislikes winter wet.

Agapanthus campanulatus requires little maintenance. Large clumps may be divided every six years, in spring before active growth begins.

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