How to grow and care for African Lily Indoors

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, grow to a height of up to 2-3 ft. It prefers to be pot-bound; the plant blooms best when pot-bound. The plant bears strap-like leaves about 1 ft long and the ball-like flower heads 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


African Lily grows best in bright light with at least 4 hours of sunshine per day to encourage flowering. Learn more on how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.


Water 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 to dry out as it can lead to wilting and laef drop. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to root-rot. Learn more on how to water houseplants.


Average room temperature between 16-270C is ideal for African Lily. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.


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


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


Prune 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.


Repot the African Lily at the beginning of the growing season in 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 waterlogging as it can lead to root-rot.

How to Propagate African Lily

African Lily can be propagated by division at repotting time. Carefully divide the rhizome into sections while ensuring each section has adequate roots and some leaves. Pot up these sections into individual pots. Ensure the pots have a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent waterlogging which can lead to rotting. Place the set up in a warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist thorough out. Allow the plants to be well established before transplanting.

Common Problems in Growing African Lily

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

  • No blooms
  • Several reasons can lead to no blooms in African Lily. These are too little light, feeding with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer and underwatering.

  • Yellow leaves
  • Naturally, older leaves turn yellow; cut the yellow leaf at the bases. Excessive yellowing is due to waterlogging 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.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in African Lily are Mealy Bugs and Aphids.


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

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