Monday, June 1, 2009

Plant Of The Week - African Lily (Agapanthus)

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The first ever “plant of the week” from Our Jupiter Garden is the African Lily; also known as the Lily of the Nile. The African Lily has proven to be an excellent long-term addition to our garden.

The African Lily is said to be suitable for zones 6 – 10b however I have no experience with the plant outside of Florida. This Lily is a prolific perennial. Its beautiful bluish purple blooms are located at the ends of stem stalks that can reach 36” in height. The lily begins to bloom when the weather stays consistently warm. The lily in Our Jupiter Garden blooms from April through June. Then it gets too hot and wet and the flowers disappear. At this point it is important to cut the flower stalk back to ensure vigorous growth for next season. In cooler climates the African Lily is said to bloom from mid to late summer.
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The African Lily prefers full sun to part shade. When planting in full sun make sure to provide extra water, however once established this lily is fairly drought tolerant. The lily can be grown from seed or it can be propagated through division. The key is not to divide the plant until it is mature. Once the plant is divided you cannot ensure a bloom the following year.
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This lily makes for an excellent container plant as well as terrific ground cover. If planted in a container the lily likes to be root bound. So don’t feel rushed to move it to a larger container after a strong growing season. Again, once disturbed it may not bloom again for over a year so if you have more than one African Lily stagger repotting or root division so that you will always have blooms to enjoy each season. An alternative method is to wait until the lily blooms to replant. I have done so and never lost a flower.
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As a ground cover the African Lily is very hardy. It has a tendency to spread and promises beautiful flowers each year. Best of all the foliage is beautiful and stays green year round in our Florida climate. The lily is such a terrific ground cover many shopping areas in Florida have successfully used the African Lily as the go to filler plant. The image below is a close-up of what the ground cover looks like once the blooms are gone.
Tropical Florida Garden
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To demostrate how hardy this lily is you only need to look at the photo below. The image shows a place where the stem got damaged. Rather than wilting the stem projected a new growth of flowers. An unexpected surprise from one of our favorite plants.
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As you can see the African Lily is a beautiful plant that is also easy to grow. Making it our first pick as "Plant of the Week".
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4 comments:

  1. Nice to see pots of flowers and greens along the steps. Beth Iflorist.co.uk

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  2. Wow, It's really beautiful flowers. The leave also beautiful too. It's good decoration for house.

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  3. African Lily is one of my favorite flowers. Although they require plenty of water to grow, they are very good for decorating houses.

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  4. Thing I like about African lily is they have short stem and is very beautiful and colorful.

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