Guys, I have been growing some agapanthus seedlings for a few years and now have about 40 small agapanthus plants, still quite small, largest leaves about 8 inches long. I grew them from seed. Last night I was caught out by a snap frost, first one of of season. I left them out and have been panicking all day thinking that two years work was ruined. But they look like this. Seeming no damage?.. but would it show? What does frost damage look like? I don't have a green house so it's windowsill or nothing. I have no idea if they are the frost Hardy variety, would like to leave outside but dont want to lose them? Any guidance re frost, hardiness, or care of agapanthus babies? They came from portugal as a seed but were growing in a resort landscaped by an international firm so not necessarily susceptible to frost damage. Any guidance appreciated. Dan 




  • Agapanthus come in evergreen or deciduous forms, and as a rule of thumb the deciduous ones are hardier. The degree of hardiness varies with variety and also, as in many plants , with age.

    Yours are still quite small. I have some of a similar size and would not risk them outside yet. If they are deciduous you could perhaps put them into a polystyrene box and cover them with fleece or a piece of glass or perspex for protection. They will still need the occasional watering and some ventilation to prevent fungal attack. Evergreen ones will need more light  and more water as they are still transpiring, so will probably be safest taking up your windowsill spaceimage

    Last edited: 03 October 2016 19:44:48

  • Thanks buttercup.

    Given im new to all this, are these looking about right, for two years? And how will I tell if they are deciduous or not? Sorry for all the silly questions, im just so keen to get these right after tending for so long! I think they will be fabulous when fully grown and planted en-masse.

  • They look OK to me. I've had some spring frost scorching on emerging leaves of a mature clump (deciduous) that grows outside, but it recovered well. Worth mulching in late autumn to give a wee bit more protection. I've grown agapanthus plants collected from seed collected from a number of holidays, but I've overwintered young seedlings and containerised plants in an unheated greenhouse or garden shed. Where I am in E Scotland winter can bring some long cold spells, so I'm also bit wary about leaving them exposed to the worst rigours of the winter weather. I'll experiment this winter planting out one or two plants (3-4 years old) from a couple of batches.

  • I've never grown them from seed, how wonderful and how exciting to imagine what they might turn out like!

    They look extremely healthy to me. I have several varieties, some deciduous, some evergreen-no plain africanus though. I am trialling varieties to find out what will work in my conditions--I have a tiny garden and only room for one or two, in pots. One of the requirements was that they be hardy since I cannot have a greenhouse or even a coldframe. So mine stayed out all winter. Admittedly they were bigger and more substantial plants. However, I was interested to see that even though the large-leaved evergreen forms went limp and dead-looking when frosted (panic time!) they recovered completely as air temperatures increased, not even a mark on them (massive relief time!). I would guess this would not work for extended periods, and I also suspect that the hardiness derives from the fact that mine are in pots not in the open ground. 

    I tried covering one or two but they seemed to dislike the wet even more than the cold and leaves began to rot. So in the end I just left them uncovered. My suggestion would be that, whatever form of protection you give them, you need to make sure the leaves are very well ventilated.

    Also perhaps not let the sun get on them directly after frost.

    Lastly, you'd know if they were suffering--the leaves go yellow and brown and die.

  • Thanks all - its very useful - im starting to worry only because its been such a faff re-potting watering etc..would be a shame to lose them. How long will it take for them to be full size?

  • Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 757

    I'm following this, as I have some seedlings that I planted last November, that are doing well.  My plan was to put them in a cold frame and if I run out of space the will go right up against the house, which is pretty sheltered, I'm in Surrey, so not as cold as Scotland. 

    Its certainly a labour of love, I can't wait to be able to plant them out en masse.

    Good luck with yours.

  • I've had the first of the seeds I gathered in 2011 (in Puglia, Italy), planted in 2012, flowering this year - but just one out of 8. Plants from seed gathered in 2012 (Madrid & Croatia) planted in 2013 still look to be some way off being mature enough. I'm looking forward to the Croatia ones as one seedling is from the garden that was being used for filming Game of Thrones and we were "invited to leave" by a security guard after walking through the film set!
    If found even youngish mature plants (in containers) may take a year or two out from flowering, so I'll be looking to give them a boost with a bit of late season feeding.

  • I would think, looking at the size of yours, that you'll be waiting another 2 years for flowers. It will be worth it though.

    They like to be crowded in the pot and they form their flower buds the previous year, for which sun and good feeding are required. You can't hasten their growth very much, but on the other hand they never go straggly and ratty like fast-growing things. You'll almost certainly need to pot them on next late spring. It will be worth it in the end though if they prove very tender then you may not want to keep up this level of care for quite so many plants!

    A really good deciduous variety that makes lots of flower buds quickly is 'Star Quality'--I was just saying so to aym.

  • Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 757

    What do you feed them with? I saw some special agapanthus food. Do you use that or something else. I haven't fed mine yet. 

  • No worries, any agapanthus chat is good and helpful to me!

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Dan - it's prolonged exposure to wet conditions that's more likely to see them off. Many plants can withstand a fair bit of dry cold - often more than they're supposed to - as long as the roots aren't sitting in cold wet soil. image

    If you have a shelterd spot - near a house wall for instance-  that can help protect them. Small plants will need a bit more. An odd night here and there of frost probably won't do much harm, but small plants always need more protection than bigger ones. 

  • pokhimpokhim Posts: 208

    Another hijack!!..

    I have my 5 mature agapanthus potted up in a big ceramic pot.. all squashed in. Will they be okay over winter or do i need to protect them from the frost or something?!!... 

    I live in east london...

  • pokhimpokhim Posts: 208


    I was told that agapanthus likes being squashed as it makes them flower more prolifically. I was advised to put them in a large pot and squash them in and it will look amazing in summer!

    I dnt have a gh!... I will get a fleece though.

  • Pokhim - I thought that also, bit like a fig. Are we wrong? image

  • Peanuts--it seems to be working with mine to use doses of timed release fertiliser according to the instructions. I am using ericaceous fertiliser but that is an accident of the fact that I also use it on my potted Camellias; I think any of those that you use for hanging baskets or something are fine. They are rich feeders from silty river floodplains (along the Nile: imagine sailing along in your papyrus boat and seeing all the blue globes as you pass...)

    Aym--there are SO many of these strap-leaved plants that look like the one in your picture! It would be easier to tell from seeing the actual plant. Amaryllis often have wider, more substantial leaves than Agapanthus, but as I'm now finding out there's enormous variation in Agapanthus leaves. Yours look very very like several of my Agapanthus on the photo. But the fact is that you may only be able to tell when the plant flowers!

    On the issue of how many plants to put in a pot.

    If they are from a single clone then all you are doing is the same as what the plant itself would do over time by normal growth, so the net effect ought indeed to be to simulate the conditions under which the plant will flower better. I would have thought this would still hold even in the event that you have different varieties in one pot. So I'd beg to differ: but on the other hand the best answer would be 'suck it and see'. If your plants, even crammed together, flower brilliantly (properly fed, watered and so on), then it works. If not then take them out, pull them apart and repot individually but you'll likely have to wait until each fills the pot of its own accord before it will flower.

    My Agas have been really variable in how they have performed on this front. 'Star Quality' multiplied in one season and 'Blue Magic' has also managed to flower from its first year. Others are taking their time to build up some oomph. 'Glenavon' took two years and then had 5 foot flower stems and 8 inch football flower heads!

  • pokhimpokhim Posts: 208

    Thanks for all ur advice!! I will get another pot or 2 and give them a little more room!! they look like this at the moment tho. 


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