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Cold-damaged Agapanthus


We recently inherited a very large agapanthus (root ball probably about 3/4 metre in diameter) which had been kept outside for its entire lifetime (never brought in during winter -- it is too large to do so anyway). However, the recent cold snap here in the UK seems to have hit it hard and all of the leaves look to be rotting (see picture).

Subsequent research tells me that the evergreen agapanthus are not really considered cold hardy which is strange since it survived 20 odd years outdoors all year round in its previous home (both previous and new home are in South East England).

Any advice on what to do? Should I remove the mushy and rotting leaves -- I can see little flies on them and they smell musty, or should I leave it until spring?



  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,049
    edited December 2022
    @r.hayden I have a deciduous Agapanthus here in the South Midlands the leaves on mine have gone to a mush, happens every year. I will also clear the leaves when they naturally pull away. My plants are in the ground and I always give them a think mulch in late autumn.
    Evergreen forms need the protection of a Greenhouse over winter. I assume you know yours to be evergreen.  Agapanthus like to be fairly tight in a pot but they also need something to grow in it may be all roots and therefore more prone to frost damage.
    If you cannot get it inside put bricks underneath to help air flow and put it next to a wall.
    You won't really know what is going on until spring.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • I have an agapanthus - not sure what type. 
    The leaves of mine also rot each winter. Basically, I do nothing with it normally, and it survives each year, outside.
    This year, I felt the root ball was getting too large for its location, so carefully dug it up, and divided it into nine sections. One I replanted in the same place as the original, four are in other locations around the garden, and four are in pots, to give away if they survive - which they have done so far.
    It should recover.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,284
    It looks like an evergreen variety which has been hit by prolonged frost. 
    It'll bounce back. Keep some fleece, old net curtains, duvet cover etc ready if we have another really cold spell.
  • Thanks everyone. Sounds like it should hopefully bounce back. I will leave it for now and remove the leaves if and when they pull away easily.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,944
    Like many plants - it's prolonged wet cold  [especially wet/freeze/that and repeat] that does far more damage than dry cold.
    It'll be fine  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 1,294
    edited December 2022
    Evergreen agapanthuses are not frost-hardy.  Mine in pots get moved to a cold greenhouse, where I admit that this December they have been touched.

    Let's hope that the roots have not been affected.  Not too late to mulch now in case of more hard weather.

    They have a big plant in a rather open border at NT Polesden Lacy.  Perhaps worth asking them how they are getting along.  Or make a visit.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
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