African lily

Agapanthus caulescens | Also known as: lily-of-the-Nile | Rating: 0 votes | Print / Pdf

Agapanthus caulescens is a pretty lily from Africa. The flowers grow at the top of tall stems in round ball shaped clusters. They're trumpet shaped and a lilac blue colour, they have a delicate scent. The dark green leaves are long and narrow. It grows naturally in rocky grasslands. It won't grow well in areas with colder winters. If you live in a cooler country then you could grow it in a container and bring it indoors when the weather gets too chilly for it. It needs lots of sun and soil that's rocky and slightly acidic.

Rate it:
Known dangers?
  • no
Height [m]
  • 0.9 - 1.2
Spread [m]
  • 0.6
Dominant flower colour
  • Blue
Flower Fragrance
  • No, neutral please
Flowering seasons
  • Mid summer
  • Late summer
  • Early autumn
Foliage in spring
  • Green
Foliage in summer
  • Green
Foliage in Autumn
  • Green
Propagation methods
  • seed
  • division
Growth habit
  • Clump-forming
  • Acidic
  • Neutral
  • Alkaline
Hardiness zone
  • Z8-11
Heat zone
  • H12-1
Winter temperatures [°C]
  • -12 - 4
Heat days
  • 0 - 210
  • well-drained
  • well-drained but frequently watered
Soil type
  • sandy
  • Clay
  • chalky
  • loams
Sun requirements
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
Standard category
  • Flowers & bulbs
  • Perennials
Grown for
  • Attractive Flowers
Creative category
  • Kid Approved
  • Colours
  • Show-offs
  • Roses & classics
Garden type
  • Cottage garden
  • Coastal
  • Containers
  • City
  • Mediterranean garden
Garden spaces
  • Flower beds
  • Cut flowers
  • Borders
Gardening expertise
  • beginner
Time to reach full size
  • 2 to 5 years
16 Related plants

African lily

PLANTS Agapanthus

The Agapanthus hails from South Africa, and is the family name for a huge range of sub-species. The flowers are generally shades of purple and blue, and are striking in appearance. These bloom during the summer months, and depending on the ones you choose can also be found with flowers of pink or white. A great choice for growing in containers, and being somewhat of a sun worshipper (naturally, being as they come from the glorious South African climate) best thrive in a sunny position in the garden.

Agapanthus africanus

African blue lily

PLANTS Agapanthus africanus | -7°C - 4°C intermediate Full sun

Agapanthus africanus or African blue lily come from the Cape of Good Hope. It has a mass of bright green, long arching leaves that grow up to 35cm in length. From the centre of these leaves grows a single stalk, up to 60cm in length, at the top of which grows an umbrella shaped cluster of 20-30 funnel shaped blue or white flowers. It was brought to Europe in the seventeenth century to be grown in greenhouses, however it will survive outdoors in warmer parts of the UK if it has protection from frost. It will grow well in a pot, and this will enable you to move it when the winter weather is at its worst. Give your Agapanthus africanus plenty of water, especially in the warmest summer months.

Spreading bell agapanthus

PLANTS Agapanthus campanulatus subsp. patens | -18°C - 0°C beginner Full sun

A recipient of a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit, Agapanthus campanulatus subsp. Patens or spreading bell agapanthus is an attractive plant with long arching narrow leaves, grey-green in colour and tall stems topped with a cluster of funnel shaped blue flowers. It will grow to around a metre and a half in height. It loves a sunny but sheltered spot in the garden and may need some protection from the worst of the winter weather. It will grow in most types of soil as long as it is fairly moist. It won't need any pruning, the seed heads look rather nice so you can just leave them in place after flowering. Slugs and snails can be a problem with this agapanthus.

Agapanthus inapertus

African lily

PLANTS Agapanthus inapertus | -7°C - 4°C beginner Full sun

Agapanthus inapertus or drooping agapanthus hails from South Africa. It has long, narrow grey-green leaves that grow in a clump. The flowers grow on a tall stem and are tube shaped, dangling in clusters from the top of the stem, hence the name drooping agapanthus. It will grow up to a metre and a half in height so works well at the back of your flower beds behind other lower growing species. It will like full sun and moist rich soil. Once established this plant doesn't need much in the way of maintenance. Drooping agapanthus is thought to be a symbol of good luck.

African lily

PLANTS Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis | beginner Full sun

There’s no need to travel across continents to experience magnificent wild Africa. With agapanthus praecox subsp. Orientalis, a subspecies of the gorgeous African lily you can enjoy Africa’s breathtaking beauty right in your own garden. This graceful plant has slender, elongated stems rising above narrow, arching leaves. The African lily produces clusters of beautiful flowers that range from pale blue to white, that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Ideally suited to loamy or sandy soil that is well-drained, this plant does well in full sunlight and partial shade. A stunning plant for use in containers, the African lily also looks fantastic in borders and rock gardens. It can make areas of unused land just as striking as any African landscape if used as groundcover.