Successful Cultivation of Agapanthus and Agathaea

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In the more favoured, by this is meant warmer, districts of the southern counties the agapanthuses, or African lilies, are more or less hardy. They will not, however, survive frost, and though splendid plants for growing in ornamental tubs and vases, must be wintered in a frost proof house or shed.

Agapanthuses thrive best in a compost of turfy loam, leaf-mould, well-decayed manure, and river sand in equal parts. March is the most suitable time for potting or for planting out if they are to be grown in a sheltered sunny border out of doors. During the summer months, and especially in hot dry spells, the plants can hardly be over-watered. After the flower buds develop they will also derive consider able benefit from regular feedings with weak solutions of liquid manure. After towering, the water supply must be gradually de�creased in accordance with the ripening of the foliage growth until the plants can be stored away for the winter months, Plants which are left outdoors during the winter should have the protection of a thick but loose layer of bracken or clean straw laid over the crowns.

Division of the old roots at planting time offers a simple method of pro�pagation. They can also be rapidly increased by means of offsets detached at the same time and potted on as their size dictates.

Agathaea is a greenhouse perennial.
Agathaea cislestis is a plant of a sub-shrubby nature, the foliage being practically ever�green. It is an extremely useful cool green�house plant and may be had in flower practically every month of the twelve in the year.

The main points to remember with Agathaeas are that they have a decided preference for a well-firmed rooting medium and an abhorrence of becoming pot-bound during the early stages of growth. Periodical examinations must be made of the soil balls of young plants. As soon as the roots are seen to be penetrating throughout they must be potted on without delay. A compost of equal parts loam and leaf-mould with just sufficient sand to ensure porosity will suit them well. Specimens for autumn flowering can be relegated to the cold frame during the summer months.

Seeds can be sown during the spring and summer months and will germinate readily in a temperature of 60 degrees to 65 degrees. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick off into boxes, and later pot on singly into 3-inch pots. During the young stages the plants should be pinched twice or even three times to induce a bushy habit of growth. Cuttings of young shoots taken in the autumn and rooted in sandy soil in a cold frame will, if wintered in the greenhouse, provide a good supply of plants for flowering the following summer.

Both of these plants are well worth the effort to successfully cultivate them, and despite some of their requirements good results are definitely easily achievable even by the inexperienced gardener with only relatively rudimentary equipment.

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Author: Ian SG Smith
Ian is very interested in gardening and writes occasional articles, but he would like you to look at his latest website which is and particularly the page on

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