Lily of the Nile Plants

A summer-flowering bulb with unique, pollen- and nectar-rich blooms

Agapanthus is a genus that contains 6 species of herbaceous evergreen and deciduous perennials, commonly called lily of the Nile or African lily. Lily of the Nile varieties typically bloom all summer, but they may continue to bloom into fall in warm, frost-free climates. The funnel- or bell-shaped flowers appear in rounded, sparkler-like clusters in a range of cool-toned colors from white and pale blue to deep violet blue, depending on cultivar. Pollen and nectar rich, the blooms sustain pollinators, including bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The long-lasting clusters are held aloft an attractive tuft of long, strappy leaves on stiff, leafless stems. The flowers as well as the attractive seed heads that follow are excellent additions to floral arrangements.

Although delicate in appearance, lily of the Nile varieties are tough. They grow easily in full sun to part shade, require little maintenance, and multiply to form large clumps. Ranging between about 18 inches to 4 feet tall, these fleshy-rooted, rhizomatous plants have a low, spreading habit that works well as ground cover. They flower best when left undisturbed in dense stands or when rootbound in a pot, so, they make excellent container plants, and should not be repotted until they grow out of their current pot. However, lily of the Nile may not fully establish and reach peak bloom for 2 or 3 years. Be patient. They are well worth the wait.