Agapanthus inapertus

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Common name: LILY-OF-THE-NILE

Native to: South Africa

Sentiment: love letter


Type: perennial

Forms: arching, clumping, erect, tufted

Leaves deciduous

Max height: 2.3 feet

Max width: 2 feet


blue/green, magenta/purple, violet




Attracts wildlife: specific butterfly species

Plant features: deciduous

Exposure: sun

Propagates by: seed

flowers in fall

flowers in summer

Soil type: average

USDA Zones: zone 7 to 0 f, zone 8 to +10 f, zone 9 to +20 f, zone 10 to +30 f

Temp. range: 0 to +40 °F

Water: drought tolerant, dry, regular

Butterflies that feed on this plant

  • Agapanthus inapertus 2
  • Agapanthus inapertus

There are 16 species of Agapanthus, a member of the Amaryllidaceae family; 4 are in cultivation. Agapanthus grows in Zones 7-10, is available in 1 1/2 to 5 feet height, while most in the market place are in 2-3 feet tall. It is both drought tolerant and tolerant of other watering regimens. Agapanthus are considered an architectural plant, as it presents a consistent, reliable 'look' in the landscape. This attribute makes them ubiquitous in the public landscape. It flowers in summer and fall.

This one, Agapanthus inapertus, is a 2-foot-high species and has dark purple flowers. I have not run across this species in the market place but would consider it a welcome addition. The public domain images shown here, provided by Wikipedia, illustrate this plant's ability to naturalize in its native African environs. Monrovia does offer a cultivar: Agapanthus inapertus 'Graskop'.

It has been reported that Papilio rutulus, WESTERN TIGER SWALLOWTAIL, will come to Agapanthus to feed. We are not sure about this so have removed that butterfly from this listing. If given food choices in the garden, the WESTERN TIGER SWALLOWTAIL will feed on other plants such as those in the Composite Family or on Fennel.