Agapanthus have been cultivated and hybridized extensively since they were first brought to the attention of botanists and gardeners in the 17th century. Native to South Africa, the genus includes 6 species and 14 subspecies, both deciduous and evergreen, and more than 600 interesting and dramatic cultivars. Flowers range in color from pure white through greyish-blue to very dark blue, and plants vary from delightful miniatures for smaller gardens or containers to more imposing forms suitable for borders and beds.
Agapanthus for Gardeners is an informative and practical guide to growing this popular perennial. It includes descriptions of all species and subspecies, along with a selection of 80 cultivars that have proven themselves in the garden and in containers; information on choosing and buying plants, cultivation requirements, propagation, and pests and diseases; and a discussion of Agapanthus as a cut flower.
Illustrated with over 75 photographs, this is a useful companion to Wim Snoeijer's more scholarly and exhaustive Agapanthus: A Revision of the Genus, also published by Timber Press.
|Publisher:||Timber Press, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||9.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)|
Read an Excerpt
One cannot be careful enough when purchasing an Agapanthus. If you see large clumps of Agapanthus at a flower sale, do not buy them. They are usually plants from flower growers. Flowers have been produced on these plants for years and have only been discarded because their flowers have become inferior. These plants have never got a name; usually there will be only a tag with "love flower" or something similar written on it. The naïve purchaser, who thinks that only two varieties exist, the blue and the white, will be very tempted to pick up such a cash-desk bargain and that is a pity. Such a plant is certainly not representative of the genus and will, in spite of good care, flower poorly or not at all.
Never buy an Agapanthus in a plastic bag, for they have been treated as flower bulbs. A few roots between some peat moss will be provided with an attractive label with the name Agapanthus white or Agapanthus blue, and that is that. You will just have to wait and see what it develops into. Bags are also sold bearing the name miniature Agapanthus and a blue flower head. This plant has nothing whatever to do with Agapanthus and is sailing under a false flag. If you have your specs on you will, upon closer inspection, be able to read in small letters Brodiaea. This is a perfectly good bulb but has nothing in common with an Agapanthus.
Never buy an Agapanthus in a pot that only bears the name Agapanthus blue or Agapanthus white because you will still not know what you have got. It can be a beautiful plant, but it can also be a plant that hardly flowers and when it does they are not what you have been expecting. Never buy a plant bearing the name Agapanthus africanus, because this name is wrong. This species grows in South Africa, in the Western Cape, and is not grown anywhere in Europe. Do not buy an A. umbellatus, this name means nothing at all; it was given to A. africanus in 1789, discarded in 1824 and replaced by A. africanus. Whoever still uses the name A. umbellatus is a few centuries behind the times.
Certainly never buy Headbourne Hybrids, and do not believe it when they bear the words "winter hardy". Nowadays this name is a collective name for all sown Agapanthus and everything ripe and green is sold under this name. So do not be tempted. Now that interest in Agapanthus is growing it is to be hoped that garden centres will offer good cultivars of these plants for sale. Some already do, but even these may still bear a label with only white or blue on it because no others are available. It is quite a nice idea to put them to the test. If a group of plants are on offer under the same cultivar name, inspect the base of the leaves. If one plant has green at the base and another has purple, then they are plants which have been raised from seed and should not bear the name of a cultivar.
Table of Contents
|The Flower of Love|
|A Variable Mega Genus|
|From Ten Species to Six|
|Classification of the Cultivars|
|Pests and Diseases|
|Place of Origin|
|Best Choice and Care|
|A Longer Season|
|Fields Full of Flowers|
|From 'Dr Brouwer' to 'Madurodam'|
|From A to Z|
|Deciduous or Evergreen, and Flower Colour|
|From XS to XL|
|Flat, Round or Nodding Inflorescence|
|Words of Gratitude||94|