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Saturday, 19 December 2015

It's Agapanthus time!


Every summer I look forward to the few Agapanthus (A. praecox) that I have, flowering. I say “few”, because I struggle to grow these beauties in my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa) – too much shade. I have found that they prefer full sun and not too much water.

The evergreen species is indigenous to the winter rainfall Western Cape and all-year rainfall Eastern Cape and shed a few of their old outer leaves every year and replace them with new leaves from the apex of the growing shoot. The deciduous species come from the summer rainfall Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Free State, Lesotho, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Mozambique, and grow rapidly in spring with the onset of the rains, and then lose their leaves completely and lie dormant during winter.


Agapanthus species are easily able to hybridize with each other, particularly when grown in close proximity and as a result, a bewildering array of garden hybrids have arisen.


Insects just absolutely love Agapanthus and the Agapanthus is undoubtedly one of our indigenous botanical treasures. It has been exported to all corners of the earth, but occurs naturally only in Southern Africa, where it grows in the wild in all our provinces except the Northern Cape, as well as in Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.


I doubt that there is a South African gardener alive that has not come across an Agapanthus somewhere! They line our roads, and are in most gardens and parks, from the tall globular-headed ones to the ever-shrinking dwarf cultivars now available at garden centres. This one above is the smaller praecox minimus species I have in my bathroom court-yard garden.

Here's to another bloomin' blue summer!

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