The agapanthus belongs to the Agapanthoideae family and in turn to a subfamilial group of monocotyledons that are part of the order of the Asparagales plants that only have one only genus called Agapanthus L’Hér.
They are herbaceous plants, that is to say, that the stem has not produced a woody structure having the size it has, besides this they are plants that have rhizomes since their deep stems have no leaves and their texture is rough.
According to modern systems that are used to classify different types of species, it could be denoted in 2003 that agapanthus belongs to the sensu lato subfamily such as acacia , but in 2009 the membership of this genus of plants was confirmed. subfamily of the Agapanthoideae.
Description of the agapanthus
The agapanthus plant is very strong and comes from South Africa, has a characteristic that makes them recognize easily and is because it has sheets in the form of tapes which are flattened and very thick.
It has an inflorescence in the shape of an umbrela, meaning that its flowers are born from the stem but in the form of an open cluster with umbrella-shaped rods and with the ovary on top of the flower.
It can have a period of life greater than 2 years, they are rhizomes since their deep stems have no leaves and their texture is rough, in addition to being very tight, they are elongated, flat and with similar sides.
Their flowers are symmetrical as far as their radius is concerned, what can be called as actinomorphs, they have whorls of feminine and masculine gender which are white and blue and of big size and with 6 petals that covers the sexual organ of the flower.
The fruit of this plant is a kind of wrap which is found in the inflorescence which is covered by small stronger leaves and which are joined together around it.
As for the chemical processes that this plant has, it can be said that all the species of the agapanthus are producers of a type of mixture that they make to defend themselves from certain insects that usually eat parts of them, such as leaves or stems.
The agapanthus also present the quality of generating a substance that allows you to prevent fungi from growing and even killing them to avoid getting sick, thus allowing this beautiful plant to last in a tranquil way throughout its life.
Its name comes from the Greek agape which means love and the anthos meaning flower, so the translation of its name would be something like flower of love.
In some English countries it is called African Lily or by another common name like Blue Lily, in the Flemish language of South Africa known as Afrikaans is known as bloulelie and also as agapant. In Spanish-speaking countries it is known as African lily or also as blue tuberosa, but its most popular name is agapanthus.
Distribution and habitat of agapanthus
The Agapanthus is a type of plant that is native to the South African region such as the Freesia refracta , where the agapanthus that are evergreen, that is, that their leaves last for a long time can be obtained in the areas where there are winter rains in The area of the Cape in the eastern and western provinces, where once a year can change some of its leaves that are born from the tip of its stem. Those that are called deciduous, that is, those that shed their leaves in certain seasons of the year can be found in the regions where there are summer rains east of the Cape, as well as in Limpopo, Lesotho, KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland and the free state of Orange.
Reproduction of the agapanthus
Agapanthus have the facility to grow and multiply by itself when it is already installed in a specific place, but the reproduction of agapanthus can also be done manually by planting it mainly during the spring or using agapanthus seeds , but in this way they can spend a considerable amount of time so that it can grow fully and flourish correctly.
To do it manually you just have to choose the agapanto of your choice, since among them there is a very large variety as its size since there are large and small, they have flowers of different colors that can go from white to pass through colors like pink and blue until you reach purple.
Agapanthus can be used for different types of decoration as in gardens, so the ideal is to choose an ideal place for your location before thinking of a large space for its growth to be prosperous, emphasizing that it can stand to be directly in the sun or in places with some shade, but if it is very sheltered, it will flower in less quantity but can withstand extreme cold climates. For an ideal crop it should be understood that although this plant can support almost all kinds of land, it is best to use one where it has good fertilization with organic aggregates such as compost.
The next thing is to plant the rhizomes of the plant, remembering that these are the deep stems that are devoid of leaves, which can be planted grouped or in rows very close to each other with the final shape that we want you to have. After this, it is very important to know the care of agapanthus, so it is important to know that this plant should be watered regularly as it begins to grow, tolerating little watering compared to others who need it more often, as this can have a good growth even in very hot summers.
While you are watching the development of agapanthus, it is recommended to use fertilizers or additives that release your product slowly at the end of winter and at the beginning of the spring season. It is also important to prune the flowers after flowering as this helps the plant save forces for the next outcrop season and thus decrease that this unintentionally multiplies by the seeds along the garden or field you want to decorate, without leave the stems and leaves dry.
Species of the Agapanthus
All plants of the agapanthus genus have similar characteristics despite being so different in several aspects, as is the case of their deep and thick stems, as well as their leaves that are long and in the form of loops which present inflorescences in the form of umbels. , which means that it is similar to an umbrella on the top of some branches are higher than its leaves. A botanist of French origin and whose name was Leighton in 1965 wrote a report in which he reported 10 species of agapanthus, where 4 of them had the advantage of keeping their leaves for a long time and the remaining 6 were deciduous. that their leaves fell during certain times of the year.
Many studies have shown that agapanthus have several species that can be categorized by subspecies that as previously said, are divided into evergreen or deciduous where some of them have different subspecies, and even mixtures between them that have turned the universe of these plants in a varied range of this genre. Among them we can find the following:
The agapanthus campanulatus is the most recognized species worldwide and is the source of most mixtures, which are known as Agapanthus campanulatus Headbourne and this is due to its attractive inflorescences. Of the species of this genus, this is the plant, which can reach a height of up to 1 m. When deciduous they lose their leaves in winter and you spend this time of the year with a silhouette similar to the rhizomes, which are characterized by not having leaves and then bloom again when the summer season arrives.
From this genus of agapanthus plants there are some variations among which we can recognize as:
It is a plant native to Africa that can reach 80 centimeters high and 50 centimeters wide. It is an agapanto that can get to lose all its leaves in winter but at other times it does not lose them in its entirety. You can live on land with little care but you can also survive on well-hydrated soils, as well as in very strong climates that can reach up to 15º C below zero. Its ideal climates are where there are climates not so cold or so hot, although it can survive under dry climates and near coasts.
This agapanthus presents white flowers in the form of balls and they are located at the end of these plants in which they are in the umbel, that is to say, they look like an umbrella, which have a brilliant effect. This kind of agapanthus are used in pots or placed in gardens, these can be adapted to drought climates, so their flowers will be born between the time when spring ends and at the end of summer. At the end of flowering the ideal thing is to eliminate the dry stem and add organic compound in the autumn season and when winter arrives the plant should be protected from very cold currents if it is in frozen areas.
This species of agapanthus is a plant that does not lose its leaves, besides having thick roots where a lot of nutrients are stored, with very thin leaves; This plant can measure about 30 centimeters and has a very strong green color. Like the other agapanthus they gather in umbels that stand out from their leaves like small stems where their flowering has blue pigmentation like Orchids.
This plant is used in gardens of different sizes as well as in places where there is not much water. This plant must be paid at least monthly while in the spring season and during the summer.
Agapanthus has no problems getting sick or even being a victim of pests, but this does not mean that care is lost because if there are snails, it is best to place special pesticides.
The agapanthus inapertus is a plant that is characterized by having deciduous leaves which is native to South African regions, its flowering is blue pigmentation of a somewhat strong intensity, and these are born while it is the summer season.
Agapanthus praecox is a plant very similar to agapanthus inapertus with the only difference that its leaves do not fall in the winter but its intense blue color is very similar.
The africanus agapanthus to which he could also identify as Agapanthus umbellatus , is Spanish will be appointed as African lily and even as an African agapanthus is native to South Africa, but also in other regions as it is widely used as an ornament. It can measure between 10 cm and 35 cm high and about 2 cm in diameter. It has an umbel that oscillates with about 30 intense blue flowers that can measure up to 5 cm wide.
This plant has a wide variety of colors among which you can find the most commonly recognized white, but there is also the orange Agapanthus and among its gamma is also the pink Agapanthus which could be recognized as Alba Roseus, which It is the one with the closest pink color, but this pigmentation only occurs when the white bloom is old. Despite the fact that these colors are very striking, the most frequent color is blue, when using them as an ornament they give an atmosphere of tranquility and serenity.
Cultivation techniques of Agapanthus
The most common and widely propagated Agapanthus plants are those with evergreen leaves and much larger spikes than the deciduous ones.
It is very important to know that at the moment we acquire the plant, we are dealing with a deciduous or perennial plant species, since we have to take into account the necessary requirements for its cultivation, which allows us to treat it as much as possible. , because they are very delicate plants that do not support much manipulation when transplanted.
Deciduous Agapanthus plants can be grown year-round in open spaces and in the growing area the temperature does not drop below 0 ° C, and if this is the case it will be enough to protect them with leaves or peat to ensure survival of the roots. However, in a situation of risk due to cold, the pot should be moved to a dark place and well prepared for this type of temperature.
Therefore the risks in both cases should be limited, and have at hand the necessary resources to not allow the cultivation area to dry completely. However, if the Agapanthus in pots is located in the open sky, it should also be protected with a transparent plastic.
The evergreen Agapanthus can not be grown outdoors, only in areas where frost is less frequent and lasting. In case they are in places exposed to the cold it is advisable to plant them in a pot and not directly on the ground and give them extreme protection during the winter season. They can only be planted outdoors, in areas where their winter temperature does not drop below -2 ° C, because due to exposure to cold, their leaves will suffer irreparable damage, acquire a yellowish color and fall off; however, its roots manage to overcome these temperatures.
The agapanthus plant can usually be sold directly in pots, and its transplantation can only be done at the end of the spring season. Considering that these plants are intolerant to be transplanted, it is important to emphasize that at the time of cultivation they should be placed at a prudential distance from each other at least 60 cm apart for medium-sized plantars. In this way, avoid further transplants as much as possible for at least 3 to 4 years.
When spring begins and we are sure that there are no risks due to frost, the Agapanthus can now be transplanted outdoors and thus removed from winter protected areas. When we plant the roots, they should be at least 8 centimeters deep, placing only one agapanthus per pot of approximately 20 cm, and no more than 2 in a pot that measures 25 cm in diameter. It must be taken into account that this plant produces new plant in the base.
As for the substratum, in order to make it of quality to have a good part of fertile land, one of peat and one of earth, take care that they are all equal parts, make sure to place carefully in the bottom of the pot many pieces of compact earth or mud, necessary so that a good drainage of the water is formed in the irrigation.
Once the first buds of Agapanthus re-emerge, the pot with the plant should be protected in a good place and watered with prudence. In the course of that time, it is During this period it is appropriate to place fertilizer every two to three weeks, for this we will use a fertilizer that is liquid and properly dissolved in the irrigation water.
In general, keeping Agapanthus plants in sunny places is the most beneficial, however, it would be preferable not to expose them directly to the sun’s rays during the hottest hours of the day. The Agapanthus plant in its growing period and in the spring season and during the summer, have to be watered abundantly but without reaching the excesses, and always taking into account that the substrate must be allowed to dry between each irrigation. However, during the other seasons they should be watered less frequently, but always taking care that the soil does not dry out completely.
Agapanthus plants do not tolerate manipulations, so transplants must be carried out sporadically, only when it is really necessary, as in the case of the pot insufficient in size and too small to support the plant that has changed and is growing
To conserve a plant with a beautiful flowering and a dense foliage, it is important to apply its fertilizer from the spring, using a fertilizer in liquid form that must be diluted in the irrigation water at least every 2 to 3 weeks, until they begin to see the new shoots. We must know that the pruning of agapanthus is not really necessary, for its care only the leaves and flowers that have dried up over time will be eliminated, thus preventing them from becoming carriers of parasitic diseases causing irreparable damage.
The Agapanthus, being a plant that benefits greatly from the sun’s rays, also has an excellent use implanted in pots, they are special for decorations of gardens or terraces.
For potting, it is appropriate to use one of approximately one gallon or perhaps even larger, with enough space where you can mix 60% of fertilized and prepared soil for cultivation and 40% of sand, for which it is recommended to wash it and sift it to eliminate its high salt content. The sand is used for drainage. It is advisable to check the pot and make sure it has a hole in the bottom, this will avoid excess water and humidity.
When the spring season starts it is advisable to place the plant outdoors in a place where it is exposed to enough light. However, when the frost is due to cover the plant with a cloth or plastic with air bubbles or finally with a cloth bag. The Agapntho plants should be watered regularly during the months of April and September, and between the months of May to August it is recommended to put small amounts of fertilizer at least once a month.
One of the most common and natural fertilizers are the grains made with cow dung, also those that contain NPK grains or compound with Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. The latter are available in local gardening shops, with their corresponding instructions for their use. Since the use of a lot of nitrogen would bring a rapid growth of its foliage and less growth of flowers.
After its flowering it can be left only until the frosts begin. If the temperature reaches -5 ° C it can be harmful for the plant, so it is recommended in these cases to keep it indoors at a temperature of approximately 8 ° C., But if your plant is used as a ground cover, it can not logically be used. move inside, so you should protect it with a thick layer of leaves or straw and cover it with plastic. It is not recommended, nor necessary to water the plant in winter, so we will prevent the plant from freezing due to the cold.
Plagues and diseases
Agapanthus is not a plant that is subject to pests and diseases. Generally they have some common enemies that are the snails, these are totally harmful for the green parts of the plant since it usually devours the leaves almost in its entirety. Sometimes they can not be visualized with the naked eye, so they can be eradicated using a special poison that can be purchased in the nurseries, but yes, be sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid damaging the plant when placing it.
This plant of Agapanthus can occasionally be affected also in the winter season, or in areas that have extreme humidity, this would cause the appearance of decay in its leaves. This propagation can be eliminated by cutting the infected leaves, and controlling the risks and excess moisture that cause such rot. There are several techniques for the elimination of pests in these plants, but the safest and most natural is controlling the cause of the appearance of these diseases.
When handling Agapanthus plants it is advisable to use gloves because they contain toxic substances that could cause irritation of the skin and mucous membranes.
Curiosities of the Agapanthus
- The flowers of Agapanthus as well as other beautiful flowers such as Delphinium belladonna are much appreciated as a floral ornament. It has a special elegance along the length of its stem that ends in a rounded cocoon and that gives that beautiful touch to all its floral set.
- These beautiful flowers of Agapanthus are easily found in florists throughout the year, although their flowering season in the northern hemisphere takes place between the months of May to September.
- Agapnathus plant is also known as Lily of the Nile, is a plant native to South Africa.
- As an ornamental or ornamental plant, it can be achieved with more frequencies in urban, medium and large urban gardening. The curious thing about this plant is that in hot climates, its behavior is rustic and does not require much maintenance, just remove its flowers and leaves dry.
- Generally it should be located in some area of the garden in full sun, but perhaps a little shade would not hurt.
- Its flowering is delayed, it can stay in the plant until almost two months.
- Although we speculate saying that it blooms from the months of May to September, but really its best time of flowering is ending the month of August.
- The flowers of Agapanthus are usually white and blue with soft shades of purple.
- A technique so that our Agapanthus flowers can last longer in the vase, we must cut the base of its floral, approximately one or two centimeters. It is advisable to make a cut in a biased way so that you have more contact with the water.
- You should change the water at least every two or three days, that will be enough, we can also put a conservator of flowers, this would be much better.