Agapanthus seed heads

by Adam Pasco

It pays not to be too neat and tidy in the garden or you'll miss out on so many unexpected delights.

Seed head of Agapanthus 'Back in Black'It pays not to be too neat and tidy in the garden or you'll miss out on so many unexpected delights. Agapanthus look stunning in full flower through summer, but if I'd been too hasty with the secateurs and trimmed away the flower spikes as soon as blooms had faded, I would have missed out on the delightful swelling seed heads.

The variety 'Back in Black' is a deep blue agapanthus with striking black stalks, and each seed pod develops a dark mottling, too. They look wonderful in my autumn displays, so I keep the agapanthus pots outside to enjoy for as long as possible before carrying to the winter shelter of my unheated greenhouse.

Many of the tender bulbs I grow outside in pots form attractive seed heads, and patient gardeners may be tempted to wait until these are ripe before collecting seeds. In addition to agapanthus I've regularly developed viable seeds on eucomis and galtonia, too. These can be collected and sown, but you'll need patience if you want these to flower, as seedlings of most bulbs (including lilies) can take at least three years and often longer to grow into plants of flowering size.

Then there's the anticipation of the unexpected, as the resulting plants may be a result of cross pollination with other varieties, so not grow true to their parent. But that's part of the fun of growing plants from seed, and the thrill of growing a brand new variety. It could result in something stunning and original, and you can even name it whatever you want. Hmmm. Agapanthus 'Adam's Delight' has a certain ring about it, don't you think?

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Gardeners' World Web User 14/10/2008 at 10:46

Hi Adam, I know what you mean about leaving the seedheads on they look lovely now don't they. Last year I saved some seed which I sowed in pots on the kitchen window ledge last spring and I now have about half a dozen little plants and am really looking forward to seeing what colours I get in 2-3 years time - Agapanthus 'Lorrie's Lovely' perhaps!!!

Gardeners' World Web User 24/10/2008 at 09:46

i have just got sume lilie seeds from my garden dose any body no when you can sow them can you let me no thanks joey

Gardeners' World Web User 03/07/2009 at 19:21

please can u tell me, whats the best way to grow laveteria, as ive planted some and the leaves are turning yellow, does this mean there being overwatered help!

Gardeners' World Web User 03/07/2009 at 19:23

when do i collect the seeds from agapanthus plants?

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:37

Have collected some seed heads but have no idea when to plant them. Can you help?