Horticulture Magazine

How to Grow Agapanthus From Seed

pots with agapanthus seed growing on a windowsill

If you are already growing Agapanthus in your garden, in containers or in a sunny and free-draining border, you can easily gain more plants by collecting and sowing the seed.

These attractive flowering perennials, also known as African lilies, can easily be propagated in this way.

Just remember that it will take a couple of years before you see any of the beautiful flowers.

So while it is a pretty easy process, patience is required.

You should also note that many cultivars will not come true from seed, so the plants you grow may not look the same as the parent.

agapanthus seed pods

Sometimes, however, this can lead to some interesting results, so you may still wish to give it a go.

A simple five-step process will allow you to grow Agapanthus from seed:

  1. Harvest the seeds from an existing plant.
  2. Prepare pots or seed trays filled with a suitable growing medium.
  3. Sow the seeds by placing them on the surface and pressing them in, then covering them over with a layer of horticultural grit.
  4. Place the seeds in a suitable place for germination to occur, and strong roots and shoots to form.
  5. Then prick out the seedlings and grow them on in their own individual pots.

Read on for a more in-depth description of this process.

When To Sow Agapanthus Seeds

Agapanthus seeds are usually sown immediately after they are collected from a plant.

The seeds will usually reach maturity towards the end of summer, in July or August and should be sown right away.

It is also possible to store the seeds and sow in early spring, though germination rates may not be quite as good.

1) Harvesting Agapanthus Seeds

agapanthus seeds on a wooden surface

Agapanthus seeds are easy to harvest.

You can do so once the seed pods are dry and crisp, and the black seeds fall out of them easily.

You can simply open the pods and pick out the seeds.

You can collect a number of pods to process by rubbing them gently between your hands so that all the seeds fall out, or you can place pale brown pods in a paper bag and place them in a dry location until they split open and the seeds fall out.

We had no agapanthus seeds to hand, so we bought Agapanthus orientalis Blue from Chiltern Seeds:

chiltern seeds packet reading 'agapanthus orientalis blue'

2) Fill Pots or Trays With Potting Soil

Prepare your area for seed starting.

Find some shallow pots, seed trays or traditional seed starting flats.

using a hand trowel to shovel potting soil into small containers

Remember, if you do not already have these, that a number of reclaimed materials can be used, so you do not necessarily have to buy anything new.

You can see in the photo above that we used pots made from organic and natural materials. These can be composted when it comes to re-potting your new plants.

Fill your containers for seed sowing with a seed sowing compost or potting mix.

recyclable pots filled with potting soil

Seed sowing composts are specially formulated to provide the right conditions in terms of structure, moisture and drainage – but you can make your own if you do not wish to purchase a specialist mix.

3) Sow Your Agapanthus Seeds

Agapanthus seeds must not be sown deeply as sunlight is required for germination to take place.

agapanthus seeds being pressed into potting soil in small containers

It is best simply to press them gently into the surface of the growing medium, and then to cover them with a thin layer of horticultural grit.

Water your seedlings to give them the ideal conditions for germination to take place.

watering small pots filled with seeds

4) Wait For Strong Roots & Shoots

Leave the seeds to germinate in a reasonably warm and bright area where they receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

view of three pots with 'agapanthus' written on lollysticks and placed into soil

Germination should have taken place within around a month or so.

Keep the surface of the growing medium moist, but take care not to overwater.

Once germination has occurred, move the seedlings to a cool bright spot and continue to water to make sure that the medium does not entirely dry out.

5) Plant Into Individual Pots

Once the seedlings have developed strong roots and shoots, carefully separate each one out of the trays of pots in which you sowed the seed, and place each one into its own individual small pot, or place several in a larger container to grow on.

Pots should be filled with a peat-free, loam-based growing medium with a little grit or sand added to improve drainage.

Again, it can be a good idea to place horticultural grit over the top of the growing medium in each pot.

Plants can then be grown in containers, potted up only when they are really potbound (as these are plants which like some root restriction).

Alternatively, you can plant them out into a garden border in spring, once all risk of frost has passed in your area.

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