How to Care for African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) Indoors

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African lily, Agapanthus africanus

Botanical name: Agapanthus africanus
Family: Armaryllidaceae
Common names: African Lily, Lily of the Nile

African Lily Description

African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) also called Lily of the Nile bears large round heads of beautiful tubular flowers on long stalks which appear in succession through out the growing season.

The African Lily bears strap-like leaves about 1 ft long and ball-like flower heads which are about 3-8 in. in diameter.

African Lily is a large plant which is propagated by means of the underground rhizomes and requires a large space to grow. The plant prefers to be pot-bound as it blooms best when pot-bound.

African Lily Size

African Lily is fast growing and grows to a height of up to 2-3 ft and about 2 ft wide. The strap-like leaves are about 1 ft long.

African Lily Colors

The main flower color in African Lily is blue but there is a white-flowered cultivar, Albus. It also has varieties that are pink and violet.

African Lily Origin

African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) is native to the area of Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

Buy beautiful and healthy African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) from Etsy.

African lily, Agapanthus africanus

African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) Care Indoors

African Lily Light Requirements

African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) grows best in bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day to encourage flowering. It can also grow under a grow light.

Turn the pot regularly to ensure the plant receives light on all sides for even growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water African Lily

Water African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) 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. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure the soil for your African Lily is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot.


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.

African Lily Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing season to promote flowering.

Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and feeding can result in fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to prune African Lily

Prune African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) by removing dead blooms and leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

Cutback the stems at the base when they begin to shrivel to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

How to repot African Lily

Repot African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) at the beginning of the growing season into a pot one size larger than the current one only when the plant becomes extremely pot-bound. The plant blooms best when pot-bound.

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

Soil for African Lily (Agapanthus africanus)

The best soil for African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for African Lily. Buy quality Potting Mix for your African Lily from Etsy.

African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) Propagation

African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) can be propagated by plant division during repotting time at the beginning of the growing season.

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

Place the set up in a warm, brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist thorough out.

Allow the new African Lilies to be well established before transplanting after which routine care can begin.

African lily, Agapanthus africanus

African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) Problems Indoors

African Lily wilting and droopy

Underwatering is the cause of wilting and droopy leaves in African Lily (Agapanthus africanus).

Water the plant thoroughly and maintain the soil moist during the growing season. Reduce watering during the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

African Lily not blooming (flowering)

The are four possible reasons why African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) will not to flower.

One possible reason why African Lily is not blooming is too little light. African Lily grows best in bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day to encourage flowering. It can also grow under a grow light.

The second possible reason why African Lily is not flowering is feeding it with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer which promotes foliage growth at the expense of flowering.

Feed your African Lily with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing season to promote flowering. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

The third possible reason why African Lily is not blooming is underwatering. Water your African Lily thoroughly during the growing season and keep the soil moist through out. However, reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist.

The fourth possible reason why African Lily is not blooming is too frequent repotting.

Repot your African Lily only when it is extremely root-bound as it blooms best when root-bound. Repotting every 2-3 years is adequate for this plant.

African Lily leaves turning yellow

Naturally, the older leaves of African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) turn yellow; cut away the yellow leaf at the base to keep the plant neat and tidy.

Excessive yellowing of the leaves of your African Lily is due to soggy soil. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining.

Take out the plant from its pot and inspect the roots for root-rot disease. Mushy brown roots are indicative of root-rot disease. Read more on root-rot disease and how to treat it.

African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) pests

The common pests in African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) are Mealy Bugs and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Is African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) poisonous?

All parts of African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) are poisonous to both human and pets, especially the rhizome or root, leaves and sap.

If ingested it may cause nausea vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, with severe ulceration of the mouth from the clear sticky sap.

Contact with the plant sap may cause a burning sensation, skin irritation and rashes. Keep African Lily away from the reach of children and pets and always wear gloves when handling your African Lily.

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