It is the second and final year of the Agapanthus (African Lily) trial being held at the College. We have been growing and comparing the performance of nineteen different varieties. As I mentioned in a 2009 article at the beginning of the trial, some of the older varieties of Agapanthus were quite difficult to grow in this area. I thought it would be a good idea to give an update of their progress and to mention a couple of my personal favourites.

I am pleased to say that the plants have done very well considering that their first winter was the coldest that we have had for many years. All of them have managed to survive freezing temperatures as low as minus twelve celsius. They didn't show any signs of frost damage, even with the late frosts that we had during the early part of May. Most varieties have produced lovely flowers, and they have been thriving in the hot dry summer which they are so well suited to.

Out of the nineteen varieties there are just two that have not produced any flowers. I was quite surprised that they have done so well because some of the plants were quite small and some where bare rooted when they were planted. I'm sure that they would produce more flowers if they were left for another year and they had chance to grow on a bit more.

They also haven't had any plant food which again would help them to produce a lot more flowers and keep them flowering over a longer period. They have not been watered either except to water them in at the time of planting. It is fair to say that they have just been given their basic requirements of fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun and shelter from strong winds. Apart from that they have been left to fend for themselves.

Agapanthus inapertus ‘Midnight Cascade' is of medium size and has very dark indigo flowers. It is one of the later flowering varieties and looks like a strong grower. It has produced up to four flowers on one plant and is quite stunning when the flowers begin to open. The colour of the flower buds are even more intense and they look fantastic in strong light.

Agapanthus ‘Lavender Haze' is a small to medium variety with sky blue flowers. They have produced large flower heads for the size of the plant and have strong stems that support the flowers well. This would be a good choice if you are looking for one to grow in a pot.

Agapanthus ‘Taw Valley' has deep blue flowers and has been popular with many visitors. It is a tall variety with narrow leaves and fairly small and compact flower heads. Last year it had a second flush of flowers so it will be interesting to see if it does the same this year.

Agapanthus ‘Northern Star' is bicoloured and the flowers are light blue on the inside with a dark blue stripe down the centre of the petals. The back of the flowers are also dark blue. This is one of the larger varieties and it has probably made the best display of them all. It has really flourished and has produced up to seven flowers on each plant.


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