Lily of the Nile, magnificent summer flowers

Lily of the Nile, with latin name Agapanthus, is a marvelous perennial that blooms from spring to summer, producing magnificent floral scapes.

Lily of the Nile key facts

Name – Agapanthus
Family – Liliaceae (lily family)
Type – perennial

Height – 24 to 40 inches (0.6 to 1 m)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – ordinary, well drained

Flowering – June to September

This is a plant that you must absolutely have if the climate is mild enough.

However, if summer is the time for majestic blooms, winter requires specific care and attention…

Planting lily of the Nile

Season for planting lily of the Nile

For regions with rather cool winters, plant your lily of the Nile in spring, for them to harden before the first winter.

Elsewhere, for mild-wintered climates, lily of the Nile can be planted in fall.

If you have purchased your Agapanthus in pots, you can plant them all year round, except during frost and heat spells.

Best place for Lily of the Nile

If you live in a region where winter freezes a lot, grow your plants in in pots to be able to protect your Lily of the Nile from freezing cold.

  • Lily of the Nile can cope with short, mild frost but cannot survive harsh winters.
  • Full sun exposure is needed to produce beautiful flowers.

How to plant Lily of the Nile

Lily of the Nile rhizomes must not be planted in too deep a hole.

  • Dig a hole as deep as the rhizome is thick, adding about an inch (a couple centimeters).
  • Cover the rhizome without pressing the soil down too much.
  • Adding compost upon planting will enhance growth and bloom of your lilies of the Nile

Propagating Lily of the Nile

First buds of an agapanthus lily of the Nile flower opening up.The easiest and most common technique to propagate Lilies of the Nile is rhizome division in spring.

Indeed, the vegetation phase is when you will get the highest propagation success rates for Agapanthus.

  • Delicately unearth the rhizome.
  • Divide the rhizome in 2 or 3 parts.
  • Replant each part following the above-mentioned technique described in the paragraph related to planting.

It is also possible to propagate Lily of the Nile through seed but this technique is slower and more challenging.

Pruning and caring for Lily of the Nile

When you notice wilted flowers, cut the floral scapes as short as possible to avoid needlessly draining the plant.

Lilies of the Nile in fall and winter

Lily of the Nile are plants that cannot survive harsh colds, and so must be grown in areas where winter is mild.

If winter is mild, leave your plant in place without removing its leaves.

What should be done if it freezes in your area?

If your lily of the Nile are grown in pots, it is best to bring them indoors, in a cool, well-lit room where it never freezes.

If your plants are directly in the ground, you must cut the leaves before the first frost spells and cover the stump with thick mulch. You can use dried leaves, for example, or any other mulch.

All there is to know about growing lily of the Nile

Slightly more mature lily of the nile flower buds.This beautiful perennial produces long stems donning magnificent blue flowers that are around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) across.

This magnificent floral scape can reach over 3 feet (1 meter) long.

In the backdrop of flower beds is where they will best be noticed, but they will be very appealing in pots or garden boxes on a terrace.

You can also create beautiful Lily of the Nile beds with only that flower throughout the bed, in the center of your garden or along a walkway.

They need heat and sun to produce beautiful flowers.

Species and varieties of Lily of the Nile

There are several species and varieties within the Agapanthus genus, which differ in the white or blue colors of their flowers. One lily of the Nile variety that is hardier than the rest is the ‘Blue triumphator’.

Here are some interesting Lily of the Nile varieties that we have selected for you:

Blue-flowered Lily of the Nile

  • Agapanthus ‘intermedius’
  • Agapanthus ‘donau’
  • Agapanthus ‘cobalt blue’
  • Agapanthus ‘lavender blue’

White-flowered Lily of the Nile

  • Agapanthus ‘polar ice’
  • Agapanthus ‘sea coral’
  • Agapanthus ‘snow ball’
  • Agapanthus ‘donau’

Smart tip about Lilies of the Nile

To enhance blooming, add granulated organic fertilizer in spring!


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Full agapanthus bloom by Martina under Pixabay license
First Lily-of-the-Nile buds by Suzy Johns under Pixabay license
Almost there Agapanthus by Petra Keller-Gloor under Pixabay license