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Agapanthus praecox

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Common name: LILY-OF-THE-NILE

Native to: South Africa

Sentiment: love letter

Plant

Type: perennial

Forms: arching, clumping, erect, tufted

Leaves evergreen

Max height: 2.3 feet

Max width: 2 feet

Flower

blue/green, white/off white

Leaf

green

Horticulture

Attracts wildlife: adult butterfly, specific butterfly species

Plant features: evergreen

Exposure: sun

Propagates by: seed

flowers in fall

flowers in summer

Soil type: average

USDA Zones: zone 9 to +20 f, zone 10 to +30 f, zone 11 to +40 f

Temp. range: +20 to above +40 °F

Water: drought tolerant, dry, regular

Butterflies that feed on this plant

  • Agapanthus praecox

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.

This one, Agapanthus praecox, is a 2 1/2-foot-high species. The flowers are in purple and white shades. 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. As with most cultivated Agapanthus, the flowers present a globe shape overall - a purple or white ball about the right height to stroke with a tennis racket. The cultivated variants of this plant do not flower in red, orange, or yellow shades.

Agapanthus africanus is a bit taller, as is Agapanthus inapertus a bit taller (and has dark purple flowers), Agapanthus ‘Streamline’ grows to 1 1/2 foot tall.

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.