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How to grow agapanthus in a pot


Agapanthus make fantastic patio plants and look particularly good grown in terracotta pots. Given a sunny spot and free-draining compost, they'll produce spectacular flowers in June, July or August, depending on the variety.

Although agapanthus are drought-tolerant you’ll still need to water your pots at least a couple of times a week through the summer. They'll also benefit from a high-potash liquid feed once a week to promote good flower development.

The benefit of growing agapanthus in pots is that it’s easy to bring them under cover in autumn, so they’re protected from winter cold and damp. An unheated greenhouse or conservatory is ideal for over-wintering.

How to do it


Choose a large pot with good drainage holes, and add broken terracotta or 'crocks' to the bottom of it.


Fill the container with compost on top of the broken crocks. Use a free-draining, loam-based compost, such as John Innes No.3, with some extra grit mixed in.


Plant a single large agapanthus, or group several smaller ones together in a pot. Position the top of the roots about 5cm below the rim of the pot.


Fill around the roots with compost, firming it down to get rid of air pockets. Keep the 5cm gap at the top of the pot so that water can collect and won’t run off.


Water well to settle the compost, topping it up with more compost if needed. Add a decorative mulch to finish off the pot and help conserve moisture.


Agapanthus usually flower in June, July or August, depending on the variety. Very young plants may need a year to become established before they flower.


After flowering, cut away the old stems at their base to tidy up the display and prevent the plants wasting their energy by producing unwanted seeds.

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Talkback: How to grow agapanthus in a pot
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Maximus2 25/05/2013 at 12:58

All useful advice, but I might add that to flower well, Agapanthus do like to fit snugly into a pot. You'll need to divide them every 5 years or so as if they become too pot bound, then flowering decreases substantially.

It is also absolutely VITAL to wear gloves when handling the roots of this plant, particularly with the roots. The sap of the Agapanthus is toxic and can cause severe stomach cramps. Gloves should be worn at all times when handling earth/commercial garden compost, even if you have had a Tetanus injection.

BRIAN SPICER 01/10/2013 at 16:58

My agapanthus has outgrown its pot and it is very big had 16 blooms this year, how do I split it up and when ?
B Spicer

Fairygirl 01/10/2013 at 20:09

Just bumping this up Brian as no one has replied yet. 

I'm not an expert on Agapanthus but I'd think you could split them now while the weather's still favourable - just take out the pot and split with a knife (or spade if it's a big one)  and re pot the pieces. Keep them out of harm's way till they're settled. If I'm totally wrong about that I'm sure someone else here will help. 

Patricia Stone 31/07/2015 at 09:30

If my Agapanthus get to big and I don't want to change my pot can I split them?

Hostafan1 31/07/2015 at 10:01

Hi Patricia,

I split mine in Spring, just before they come into growth .

Mine didn't read the rule book which says they won't flower the year they're split and virtually all have flowered.

I have to say, I've never worn gloves and I've been handling compost for over 40 years , and for over 25 years ran my own gardening business. I only wear gloves if something is particularly thorny.

I bought another 3 agapanthus recently from Pine Cottage Plants  who hold the National Collection of Agapanthus and they say  in their leaflet

" Whilst the very best plants are produced by growing them in the ground, excellent results and flowering can be achieved by cultivation in containers."