How to grow and care for African Lily Indoors

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Houseplant, African lily

Botanical name: Agapanthus africanus
Family: Armaryllidaceae

African Lily is a popular houseplant which bears large round heads of beautiful tubular flowers on long stalks which appear in succession through out the growing season. It is fast growing and grows to a height of up to 2-3 ft. It prefers to be pot-bound; the plant blooms best when pot-bound.

The African Lily bears strap-like leaves about 1 ft long and ball-like flower heads which are about 3-8 in. in diameter. It is a large plant which requires a large space to grow. The main flower color is blue but there is a white-flowered cultivar, Albus. African Lily is propagated by means of the underground rhizomes. The plant is native to the area of Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.


How to Grow African Lily (Agapanthus africanus)

Light for African Lily

African Lily grows best in bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day to encourage flowering. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water African Lily

Water your African Lily thoroughly during the growing season and keep the soil moist through out. Reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist.

Do not allow the soil for your African Lily to dry out as it can lead to wilting and leaf drop. Avoid waterlogging (soggy soil) as it can lead to root-rot.

Ensure the soil for your African Lily is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to avoid having soggy soil. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for African Lily

Average room temperature between 16-270C is ideal for your African Lily. Check out this guide on Understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for African Lily

Average room humidity is ideal for your African Lily. The plant has no need for high humidity.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for African Lily

Feed your African Lily with a potassium-rich fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing season to promote flowering. Withhold feeding during the growth season as growth is minimal. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to prune African Lily

Prune your African Lily by removing dead blooms and leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. Cutback the stems at the base when they begin to shrivel. Read more on how to prune houseplants

How to repot African Lily

Repot your African Lily at the beginning of the growing season into a pot one size larger than the previous one only when the plant becomes extremely pot-bound.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining soil to avoid having soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot.

How to Propagate African Lily

African Lily can be propagated by plant division at repotting time.

How to propagate African Lily by plant division

During reppoting, carefully divide the African Lily rhizome into sections while ensuring each section has adequate roots and some leaves.

Pot up these African Lily sections into individual pots. Ensure the pots have a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent the soil from becoming soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Place the set up in a warm, shaded place and maintain the soil moist thorough out. Allow the new African Lilies to be well established before transplanting.

Common Problems in Growing African Lily (Agapanthus africanus)

  • Why are the leaves of my African Lily wilting and droopy?
  • Underwatering is the cause of wilting and droopy leaves in your African Lily; water the plant thoroughly and maintain the soil moist during the growing season.

  • Why is my African Lily not blooming (flowering)?
  • The are three reasons that can cause your African Lily not to flower. One reason is too little light for your African Lily. African Lily grows best in bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day to encourage flowering.

    The second reason is feeding your African Lily with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Feed your African Lily with a potassium-rich fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing season to promote flowering.

    The third reason is underwatering your African Lily. Water your African Lily thoroughly during the growing season and keep the soil moist through out. Reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist.

  • Why are the leaves of my African Lily yellowing?
  • Naturally, the older leaves of African Lily turn yellow; cut away the yellow leaf at the base.

    Excessive yellowing of the leaves of your African Lily is due to waterlogging (sogginess) of the soil. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining. Remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots for Root-rot.

  • Which plant pests attack African Lily?
  • Common pests in African Lily are Mealy Bugs and Aphids.

Is African Lily toxic?

African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) is mildly toxic to pets. Keep it away from the reach of pets.

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