Agapanthus umbellatus L'Hér.
Common Name: African Lily
African lily is an evergreen perennial plant, producing a rosette of leaves about 1 metre high from an underground bulb.
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild for local medicinal use.
S. Africa - Cape Peninsula to Swellendam.
Rocky sandstone slopes, usually in montane regions[
], in areas of winter rainfall[
]. Upper slopes of Table mountain and the southern mountains[
Some forms of the plant tolerate several degrees of frost[
]. They are best given a good mulch if temperatures lower than 0°c occur[
Succeed in most soils[
], but prefers a light very well-drained porous soil with plenty of leaf-mold[
]. Plants need to be kept moderately dry during the growing season but with some moisture in winter[
]. They only flower freely if growing in a very sunny position[
]. Plants succeed in maritime gardens[
]. The rhizomes are best planted only just below soil level - a mulch of gravel or stone chips will help to keep the crown of the plant free from excess moisture[
This species does not usually do well in cultivation[
]. In the wild it usually only flowers freely in the year following a bush fire[
Hybridizes very freely with other members of this genus, some botanists say there is only one very variable species of Agapanthus[
Plants respond very well to division, usually flowering very freely in the year after division[
]. It is recommended that plants are divided about every 4 years[
Plants are usually pest and disease-free, although Agapanthus species in general are famous for harbouring snails amongst their foliage. These snails do not usually cause any damage to the plants themselves but go to neighbouring plants for food[
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
The flowering stems lean towards the sun[
The roots are cardiac and stomachic[
]. They are used in the treatment of heart troubles and intestinal pain[
Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe[
], it can also be sown in a greenhouse in early to mid spring[
]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 18°c[
], do not sow it too thickly so that it is possible to grow the seedlings on in their pot without disturbing them for their first year of growth. Give occasional liquid feeds to make sure they do not become nutrient deficient. Divide the seedlings up into individual pots in the spring following germination, grow them on for a further year in the greenhouse and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Seedlings take 2 - 3 years to flower[
Division of offsets in mid spring. Do not move plants between early autumn and early spring[
]. Division is very easy in the growing season, the divisions can be planed straight out into their permanent positions if required.