60706The Nile River floods annually, inundating everything in its floodplain. Lily of the Nile, Agapanthus africanus, survives by hanging on firmly with a thick network of rubbery roots. It grows and blooms in warm weather as floodwater recedes, and then survives through a long, warm and dry season until the river floods again. It tolerates both drought and flooding, although it prefers more stability.

The blue or white blooms resemble fireworks, and happen to bloom in time for the Fourth of July. The small tubular flowers are neatly arranged in big and round trusses on top of slender and bare stems that stand about two to four feet tall. ‘Storm Cloud’ has darker blue or purplish flowers. Other purple varieties have larger and more pendant flowers (that hang downward from their trusses.)

The dense evergreen foliage is quite luxuriant, and is just as appealing as the bloom is. The rubbery leaves are up to two feet long, and arch outward from basal rosettes. Deteriorating lower leaves are typically obscured by fresh new foliage above. The thick rhizomes can be divided for propagation. Plants known as Agapanthus orientalis may have bigger blooms and wider leaves.

14 thoughts on “Lily Of The Nile

  1. They can be found in almost every front yard in my community. We call them landscaper plants, because every new house had to be landscaped and they all had some of the lilies planted. I also like the smaller Peter Pan.

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    1. They used to be overly common here. So-called ‘landscapers’ used way too many of them, but have since started using way too many of other plants instead. I still like them. They were the first perennials I ever grew a good amount of by division.

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    1. I have been growing mine from division since I was in junior high school. I prefer them to be identical to the exemplary original. I have not tried growing them from seed, just because they are too abundant and too easy to divide if I every want more.


  2. I like them very much, but I’ve not had any luck keeping them going for more than a year. Maybe our summers are just too hot.

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    1. They should not mind heat unless the weather is also arid. Foliage can get roasted if the weather is both hot and dry. They do well in Palm Springs, which is quite arid, although they need to be watered there. I have seen them get roasted, but it is rare.
      Conversely, they can get damaged by frost where winters are cold.


  3. Lovely. Possibly my favourite flower. Mine are not quite out yet and I’ll need to see if I can identify them. They came as divisions from a friend’s plant. They will be in a six soon.

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    1. Favorite?! How cool. I happen to like mine because they were the first perennial I divided on a large scale back when I was in junior high school. However, most consider them to be too cheap and common. It will not stop me from growing mine.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! I really don’t know! I really do not do anything for them. I pull and divide them every few years, and give them a bit of water, but that is about all. I would not want to fertilize them, because I think that would limit bloom. I really do not know about acid.


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