National Treasures Of The Garden

One of South Africa’s favourite plants is the extremely drought-tolerant, tough and versatile agapanthus.

Whether growing in the garden in full sun or partial shade or in a container where they like to be a little root bound, agapanthus species are exceptionally good plants to have. There are now many varieties that have been bred from the 6 species found locally over a vast area of South Africa including winter- and summer-rainfall areas. These new hybrids are repeat flowering and come in a variety of blues, purples and white colours and mixes of these to produce a range of beauties that still have the features of our easy-to-grow indigenous agapanthus. Here are some new ones to add to the list:


Agapanthus praecox ‘Amethyst’ is named for its true amethyst colour stripes that form on each lilac petal of the pretty flowers that are grouped in an exploding cluster on stalks up to 50cm long. They will flower at least 3 or 4 times a year and grow grouped in garden beds or containers equally well.

This agapanthus will grow in most soil types although fertile loamy soil is better and they prefer more of a sunny position but will also grow in more shade. Keep watered and mulched during dry spells. Little care is needed to maintain the plants, just a general fertiliser twice a year. These are trouble-free plants and they make excellent cut flowers.

Blue Ice

Agapanthus ‘Blue Ice’ has beautiful flowers that are blue at the bases and white above looking similar to the colour of icebergs. The flower spikes grow to around 1.2m high in summer. This type will handle a bit of frost and will be okay in short periods of drought. It’s a great plant to grow in a flower bed en masse or as a specimen plant in a container. They will produce more flowers in full sun and will need plenty of compost added to the soil when planting. For lots of flowers and lush growth water well and feed with a balanced fertiliser in autumn and spring.

Snow Storm

Agapanthus ‘Snow Storm’ as its name suggests has perfectly formed bright white flowers on stems 1m in height, flowering in late summer into early autumn. They grow well in clumps up to 50cm wide to make a stunning display grouped in a garden bed. This type of agapanthus is particularly floriferous, can tolerate some cold but needs to be protected from frost. Plant in well-draining loamy soil for the best results. This agapanthus is known for attracting bees and other pollinators. They make an impressive arrangement in a cut flower display.

These plants are grown under the Keith Kirsten Horticulture International brand and available at leading garden centres countrywide.

The Gardener