Horticulture Magazine

How to Care for Agapanthus in Winter

snow resting on the leaves of agapanthus

Agapanthus is an attractive flowering plant, but this South African native is not ideally suited to winter growing conditions here in the UK.

In order to make sure that you can enjoy this perennial over a number of years, you need to think about providing it with some protection and some care over the winter months.

How you care for Agapanthus over the winter months will depend on which variety you have chosen to grow – one of the hardier deciduous types, or a more tender evergreen.

It will also depend on whether you are growing your Agapanthus in the ground, or in a container.

Evergreen types are almost always grown in containers, while deciduous types are often grown in the ground.

Here’s an easy-to-follow summary explaining how to care for Agapanthus in winter –

  1. Mulch hardier deciduous plants growing in a suitable spot.
  2. Lift Agapanthus growing in the ground where the conditions do not allow it to remain in place over winter. Remove it to an undercover or more sheltered spot.
  3. Move container grown Agapanthus to a more sheltered or undercover position before frost threatens and take care of your plants until placing them back in their summer growing positions in the spring..

Winter Care of Hardy Deciduous Agapanthus Growing in the Ground

In a reasonably mild, sheltered location, with free-draining soil, hardy deciduous Agapanthus can be left in the ground over the winter months, but the plants will usually need some protection.

In autumn, protect the crowns by covering them and surrounding them with a thick layer of carbon-rich, insulating mulch, like straw or autumn leaves.

heavily mulched agapanthus plants in the garden

It is also a good idea to leave foliage in place and not cut back, to provide a little extra protection from the cold and wet.

If your Agapanthus is growing in a less well-drained spot, or somewhere more northerly or a bit more exposed, or if you have grown a more tender type in the ground, you will have to lift your plant and move it elsewhere to overwinter.

You can move the plant into a bed inside a greenhouse or polytunnel, into a bed covered by a cold frame, or into a sheltered spot such as one protected at the base of a wall, where it will not only be protected from cold temperatures but also from excessive winter wet.

potted agapanthus plant in a greenhouse space

Water sparingly when there is no access to natural rainfall, but don’t water too much.

You can also pot up the plant you have lifted and deal with it as you would other Agapanthus growing in containers – see below for more information.

Winter Care of Agapanthus in Containers

agapanthus plant that has been cut back, sat on an indoor windowsill

Agapanthus growing in containers should be moved into a frost-free but cool location before the first frosts in your area.

An unheated greenhouse or polytunnel is ideal, but a very sheltered spot at the base of a wall may also work in some areas and for some types of Agapanthus.

While tender Agapanthus should certainly be kept in a frost-free location over the winter, it is also important to note that they should not be kept in a heated space or anywhere that will get too warm.

High temperatures over the winter could very well lead to poor flowering the following year.

Water sparingly, but consistently over the winter months when growing in a location where the plants do not get any rainfall at all.

But remember that water needs are significantly lower over the winter than they are during the spring and summer months.

agapanthus bearing new growth in early springtime

Agapanthus in containers can be moved back outdoors to their summer growing positions once there is no longer a risk of frost where you live, in the spring.

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