AGAPANTHUS

From the basal rosette of strap-like leaves a series of long stems appear, on top of which the flowers are clustered. Each trumpet-shaped bloom is about 2 in. long and is nearly always blue in colour. The African Lily is not for everyone – it is only reliably hardy in the southern and western counties, and even there the crowns should be covered with sand or bracken in winter. Mulch the plants in May and water in dry weather. An excellent perennial for cutting and planting in tubs.

VARIETIES: The African Lily you are most likely to see is a hybrid of A. africanus (A. umbellatus). One of the hardiest is ‘Headbourne Hybrid’ – height 2.5 ft. Spacing 2 ft and a

Flowering period: from July to September. The smaller A. campanulatus is generally regarded as the best to grow in unfavourable situations – ‘Isis’ produces large heads of lavender flowers and Albus’ bears white blooms. Seed heads of all varieties can be cut and dried for winter decoration.

SITE AND SOIL: A well-drained soil containing adequate organic matter is required – thrives only in full sun.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in April or May.

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