Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yes, Virginia. There IS a Hardy Agapanthus!

Tropical Agapanthus on a balcony in Quito, Ecuador
Every time I visit a warmer climate than mine, I'm enamored with the Agapanthus. Most recently, I saw plenty of it in Ecuador.  These plants are staples in places like California and Florida, but here in Zone 5, they aren't commonly seen to be growing, because they aren't hardy.

Wait.  That's not true.

Back in 2008, I visited the Toledo Botanical Garden and they were having a late season sale on some plants. One of them was a hardy Agapanthus. Hardy?  To Zone 5? I questioned the manager, and he showed me in the book where the hardiness was listed.  Indeed, Zone 5. I decided to take a chance and bought two.

It's now 2014, six years later, and we experienced the worst winter we've had in many, many years last winter. How's the Agapanthus?

Agapanthus 'Blue Yonder' in August 2012, after surviving four winters at
Our Little Acre in Zone 5b

It has been giving us beautiful deep blue blooms for many years and though I had my doubts for this year because of The Winter From Hell, the plant is still very much alive. However, we only had one bloom stalk this year. Unless we have another tough winter this year, I expect it to be back in fine form next summer with its usual bunch of blooms.

Agapanthus 'Blue Yonder' - August 2012

There's also a hardy white available, but I don't know much about that one. Joseph Tychonievich, who lives in central Michigan grew it for years, but he reports that it did not survive last winter, unfortunately.

So what is this hardy Agapanthus and where can you get it?

Agapanthus 'Blue Yonder' blooms in August 2013
(foliage not shown)

Agapanthus 'Blue Yonder'

Common Name: Lily of the Nile
Zone: 5-10
Height: 24-30 inches (bloom stalks), foliage tops out at about 12-15 inches
 Full Sun

Possibly available here:

Easy to Grow Bulbs (currently out of stock)
Nature Hills Nursery (currently out of stock)
Greenfield Plant Farm


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I tried to grow these when I lived a little further south and they didn't make it. It was a long time ago. I wonder if it was a different variety. I love these flowers. I might have to give them another try.

Shady Gardener said...

Kylee, I will look this up, but the general shape of the flowers remind me of the pink "surprise lilies." We had the terribly, terribly cold winter last year, too. I'm hearing rumors about this upcoming winter....
will you provide extra mulch??

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