Where To Plant Agapanthus & When + Other FAQs

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lily of the nile where to plant agapanthus

Have you just acquired some new Lily of the Nile plants and now you’re wondering where to plant Agapanthus for best results? Well I’m going to cover that question in detail, right here!

  1. Soil: Plant your Agapanthus in rich soil with good drainage. Avoid areas that frequently have standing water.
  2. Sun: Lily of the Nile plants need plenty of sunlight to grow and flower properly. Ideally, shoot for 5 to 8 hours of direct sun.
  3. Garden Bed Types: Agapanthus make themselves at home in tropical garden beds thanks to their thick, supple leaves and colorful flowers. Also, try them in perennial flowerbeds or Hummingbird/butterfly gardens.

When Should Agapanthus Be Planted?

So now you know where to plant Agapanthus. But when should they be planted?

Agapanthus should be planted in either Spring or Fall, depending on the variety and which USDA Zone you’re in. If you’re in USDA Zone 7b or lower, aim for planting in Spring after the last expected frost. If you’re in USDA Zone 8a or above, fall is the best time to plant.

Planting in Spring vs. Fall

So, WHY is spring-planting better for colder areas and fall-planting better for warmer zones? It all has to do with your getting your plant situated properly in your landscape.

In colder zones, summers are generally milder and winters are more extreme. Here are some advantages to planting in spring in these areas:

  • It gives your Agapanthus nearly the entire growing season to get comfortable in your landscape. Its roots will have been able to spread a bit and the plant will be well-acclimated to your Zone overall.
  • Summers are milder here than in warmer areas. Therefore, there is less risk that extreme heat will kill the plant. Still, make sure that it’s getting enough water during the hottest and driest days of the year.
  • Garden centers have huge selections of Lily of the Nile plants in Spring.

In warmer zones, winters are milder and summers are more extreme. Here are some of the advantages:

  • By planting them in the fall, the ground is nice and warm. Therefore, their roots can spread faster. In fact, the ground often even stays warm into late December, even if the air temperature is cool.
  • The summer heat has broken somewhat, which puts less stress on the plant.
  • Winter temperatures in these areas rarely dip low enough to kill the plant. If it does, cover them overnight with a blanket or another type of frost covering.

Now, I’ve planted many Agapanthus in the spring in USDA Zone 8b. It certainly can be done. Just be prepared to water them a LOT over the summer. When their roots haven’t had a chance to spread, they’ll dry out rapidly in the heat.

The same thing is true for gardeners in USDA Zones 7b and below. You can plant them in Fall, but you’ll have to be very careful. You’ll need to water them a couple of times per week during winter to ensure that they’re properly winterized. Then, when they go dormant, you’ll need to cover them with 3-4 inches of mulch to insulate them from the cold.

So, remember, the best time to plant Agapanthus is going to vary by where you are located. But it can be done in either Spring or Fall.

Can You Plant Agapanthus in the Shade?

No, Agapanthus are not shade plants. Overall, you don’t want them to have less than 5 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. If they get less sun than this, they may not bloom and their foliage won’t be as dense.

There are some varieties that can handle a bit less sun, maybe 3 to 4 hours of direct sun. In my experience, these tend to be Variegated varieties, such as the Sun Stripe Agapanthus.

White and green variegated plants tend to be less sun tolerant than their regular green counterparts. This is because the white patches lack chlorophyll, which is what plants use to turn sunlight into energy.

There is a tradeoff here, though. Sun empowers plants to grow dense with strong foliage and to create big, impressive flowers. So Variegated Agapanthus don’t usually grow quite as nicely as regular varieties. They’re usually smaller and their blooms are usually smaller as well.

But they’re still neat looking and they’re a good option if you have a spot that just doesn’t quite get enough sun for traditional varieties.

Can They Be Grown in Pots?

Absolutely, Agapanthus are at-home when grown in pots. They like their roots to be restricted somewhat, so pots are perfect for them. Just be sure that they’re getting enough water during the summer. Plants in pots dry out quicker than plants in the ground.

Although they do like their roots to be tight, they will still outgrow these pots after a few years. New plants will emerge every year from the clump. Their roots will eventually become so compacted that they’ll have trouble absorbing water and nutrients. At this point, they need to be divided.

This is relatively easy. You simply remove the plants from the pot and then you can use a spade or other cutting tool to divide the clumps. You can cut it into 10 pieces or you can cut it into 2. The only hard rule is that a clump has to have roots attached to a plant stem. If it doesn’t, it’ll die.

I go into greater detail on dividing in my Lily of the Nile care post.

You can put one of the clumps right back in the pot that it came out of after it’s divided. Make sure that you water it more frequently after this because it will need to reestablish itself in the pot.

As for the other clumps, gift them to a friend and/or loved one, plant them in your yard, or get more pots and plant them in there. It’s really up to you.

What Goes Well With Agapanthus?

When thinking about where to plant Agapanthus, you must consider their neighbors as well. Here are some surefire companion plants for your Lily of the Nile plants:

  • Play into their tropical appearance by planting them with: Birds of Paradise, Palms, Hibiscus, Monstera (Swiss Cheese Plant), Canna Lillies, Dwarf Bananas, Oleander, and Tecoma.
  • Plant a pollinators paradise by mixing them with: Buddleia (Butterfly Bush), Lobelia, Lantana, Salvia, Daylilies, and Echinaceas. Below is a picture (Photo by Don Shin) of a Hummingbird enjoying the sweetness of an Agapanthus flower.
where to plant agapanthus
  • Other Agapanthus. Agapanthus actually look great when planted with other varieties, especially in a mass planting. Choose varieties with different bloom colors to create a mixed display of flower pom-poms every year. OR, pick varieties that bloom at different times to extend the length of time that your landscape is in bloom.

It’s probably harder to find plants that Agapanthus DON’T go with, honestly. But in that category, I’d say stay away from formal plants such as Boxwoods, Junipers, and Hollies. Agapanthus are more casual plants so they don’t mix really well with structured (somewhat stiff) plants like these. However, I won’t say that there isn’t a way to do it well.

Wrapping Up: Where to Plant Agapanthus

So now you should know where to plant Agapanthus and then some! It’s important to remember that Lily of the Nile, although hardy, are not particularly forgiving when it comes to flowering.

If you plant them somewhere where they don’t get the kind of sun that they want, they’ll let you know. I cover this topic in greater detail in my post: When Do Agapanthus Flower?

Thanks for reading! I hope I answered your questions here today. And if I didn’t, leave your question below! I’ll answer it as soon as possible.