How to Grow and Care for African Lily in Containers

African lily Apagnathus africanus

Intro: The African lily, also called Agagpathus, has 20 to 30 blue-purple or white flowers that bloom in a sphere on top of a 20-inch-tall central stalk. The ‘Albus’ cultivar has white flowers, ‘Sapphire’ has dark blue flowers, ‘Aureus’ has leaves striped with yellow and ‘Variegatus’ has white leaves with green bands. Other varieties include those with double flowers, and others grow larger or smaller flowers. The African lily is a great container plant because they seem to prefer being pot-bound, and containers make bringing this plant inside for the colder winter months easy. The African lily blooms in mid to late summer, and the flowers last for weeks, giving your balcony garden a nice splash of color.


Scientific Name: Agapanthus africanus

Plant Type: Perennial flower

Light: Part shade to full sun

Water: When it comes to watering your African lily, give it a lot of water in the summer. It is a marginal plant, meaning that it thrives near water, such as ponds, lakes and streams. Provide well-draining sandy potting soil and never let the plants dry out – but don’t allow the potting soil to be soaking wet for too long, as it can kill the flowers.

Fertilizer: Fertilize this container plant monthly in spring and summer.

Temperature: 20 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures above 70 degrees result in slow growth.

Pests and Diseases: No serious insect pests or diseases affect the African lily flower.

Propagation: Propagate from offsets or by dividing roots in early spring or autumn (make sure each section has a crown and some healthy roots). If growing from seed, sow in well-drained potting mix covered with just a little bit of soil. Heat the seed tray and mist them with water for a few minutes twice a day. The Agapanthus seeds will sprout in four to six weeks. Plant them in your balcony garden in light shade and water twice a day. If growing the African lily from bulbs, plant about two inches deep and soak the potting soil with water.

Misc. Info: Because these flowers are native to South Africa, container gardeners in colder climates may need to overwinter the African lily plant during the winter. This container plant can be difficult to grow in your balcony garden, but it does best in well-drained, acidic and sandy soil, and it thrives if pot-bound in a container. The African lily grows best in shallow containers and will flower if fed with a slow-release fertilizer. Pick off any snails and cut off dying flowers or leaves.



African Lily Flowers

Purple African Lily Flowers

African lily flowers

Additional information