Non-Blooming Agapanthus Plants – Reasons For Agapanthus Not Flowering
By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Agapanthus plants are hardy and easy to get along with, so you are understandably frustrated when your agapanthus does not bloom. If you have non-blooming agapanthus plants or you’re trying to determine the reasons for an agapanthus not flowering, help is on the way.
Why is My Agapanthus Not Blooming?
Dealing with non-blooming agapanthus plants can be frustrating. That said, knowing the common reasons for this can help ease your frustration and make for better blooms in the future.
Timing – There’s a possibility that you’re simply being impatient. Agapanthus often doesn’t bloom the first year.
Growing conditions – If your agapanthus doesn’t bloom, it may be craving sunlight, as agapanthus needs at least six hours per day. The only exception is a very hot climate, where the plant may benefit from shade during the peak of the afternoon. Otherwise, if your plant is in full or partial shade, move it to a sunnier location. A sheltered spot is best. Be sure the soil drains well, or the plant may rot.
Dividing agapanthus – Agapanthus is happy when its roots are somewhat crowded, so don’t divide the plant until it outgrows its boundaries or becomes too crowded in its pot. Dividing the plant too early can delay blooming by two or three years. As a general rule, a young agapanthus shouldn’t be divided for at least four or five years.
Watering – Agapanthus is a robust plant that doesn’t need a lot of water after the first growing season. However, it’s important to ensure the plant has adequate moisture, especially during hot, dry weather. The best way to determine if the plant is thirsty is to feel the soil. If the top 3 inches (7.62 cm.) are dry, water the plant deeply. During the winter months, water only enough to keep the foliage from wilting.
How to Make an Agapanthus Bloom
A non-blooming agapanthus plant may need fertilizer – but not too much. Try feeding the plant twice monthly during springtime, using a water-soluble fertilizer for blooming plants, and then cut back to once monthly when the plant begins to bloom. Stop fertilizing when the plant stops blooming, usually in early autumn.
If you’ve tried everything and your agapanthus still refuses to flower, a change of scenery may be just the ticket. If the plant is in the ground, dig it up and replant it in a pot. If the agapanthus is in a pot, move it to a sunny spot in the garden. It’s worth a try!
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I'd opt for cruelty and stop watering them. Unless you're expecting to be without rain for a month or so, or they live under the eaves of the house, I'd let them take their chances on whatever the clouds send.
I wouldn't feed them much, either. Slow release in spring is about all. As much sun as you can provide - including hot afternoons. They live in cracks beside the tarseal on the road, have enough leaves to get by - and do flower, so assume they're fairly thrifty. (I mean, no one from the highway roadside department ever goes out to feed or water them here!)
They will flower in part-sun but tend to produce heaps of greenery, too.
If you grow your agapanthus in a container, you likely water them more frequently than if they are planted in the ground. This tends to leach out the nutrients in your potting soil, so you should use more fertilizer.
If you don’t fertilize your agapanthus the first year, it might not bloom. To encourage blooming, use a 10-20-20 fertilizer (10 parts nitrogen by weight and 20 parts each of phosphorus and potassium). Phosphorus encourages blooming.
- Agapanthus are hardy and vigorous outdoors, but don’t do so well in a container.
- If you grow your agapanthus in a container, you likely water them more frequently than if they are planted in the ground.
Use water-soluble, quick-release fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season or slow-release fertilizer once during the growing season. Follow the directions on the label for organic fertilizers.
Why is agapanthus not flowering?
You plant the seeds in late summer or in the fall, and they sprout in six to eight weeks. They're usually grown in trays, then potted and transplanted into the garden in the third year. Generally agapanthus grown from seed will reach maturity and bloom in three to four years.
One may also ask, does agapanthus flower every year? Discover 10 agapanthus to grow. According to agapanthus grower and expert Steve Hickman, the most common problem with agapanthus is that the plant has plenty of leaves, but no flowers. Here are his tips for growing healthy agapanthus that will produce masses of flowers, year after year.
Also to know is, what is the best fertilizer for agapanthus?
The best Agapanthus fertilizers will be fairly balanced, such as 10-10-10 or 5-5-5, or slightly higher in phosphorus than nitrogen. Agapanthus grown outdoors will die back in winter. Spread a heavy mulch around the root zone to protect the plant from the cold.
Do agapanthus flower more than once?
With proper care, agapanthus flowering occurs repeatedly for several weeks throughout the season, then this perennial powerhouse returns to put on another show the next year. Agapanthus is a nearly indestructible plant and, in fact, most agapanthus varieties self-seed generously and may even become somewhat weedy.
Agapanthus Never Blooms
I have several Ellamae and a couple of Elaine Agapanthus in our gardens in Austin. We are experienced gardeners who do soil preparation to beds and have a reputation for spectacular gardens. Yet we cannot seem to coax one single flower from our Agapanthus. Why? They get light shade in the afternoon, good drainage, and the plants themslves are robust and healthy.
Do they freeze back each year? If so, this may be the problem. I'm in Dallas areas, and have same problem.
The die back from freeze each year, plants come back smaller in successive years and fade away. I've given up on them in the garden. Container or greenhouse might be better way to go.
Do they need to be thinned out?
Was in Anaheim, CA recently and they don't seem to thin them out. San Diego areas as well. Although, pretty, I think they are over planted out there, too many of them everywhere. They grow into massive clumps 3-4 feet tall and bloom profusely.
I think its a freeze problem from my experience. It cripples the plant. The few that have come back for me this year, are dinky little things that won't produce flowers, and will be mid summer before they get much foliage.
I have a similar problem with the African Iris they sell around here. Looks great and blooms when you plant them, but they struggle to come back after the freeze, and not much in flowers. Tried a couple again last year, and they are only about six inches tall, and sparse blades. Further south, they do very well without a severe freeze.
These past two years we've had freezes, but for several years prior to that our lowest winter temp was no less than 26 and that not long enough to damage a plant. Freeze back may be part of the answer, but I'm still puzzled. There are gorgeous blooms all over Austin.
I have the same problem with mine. When I was doing online searches regarding this I repeatedly ran across people who said they need to be crowded to bloom best.
There is a newer variety I've seen in nurseries in recent years that promise blooms all summer. The older varieities (like mine) tended to be spring bloomers, with sporadic late summer blooms. Perhaps you've seen the newer variety around town.
What is the newer variety? Agapanthus tends to be poorly labeled in local nurseries. I purchased these from Plant Delights. Tony Avent is good about sending out healthy, good-sized plants that are accurately labeled. Mistakes are rare and he gets cultivars ahead of the general nursery trade. I've asked neighbors who grow them who've done nothing, but purchase a few pots at Lowe's and throw them in the ground. They get beautiful performance year after year. I'm beginning to think that Lily of the Nile is one rare species of plant that has a particular dislike for me. LOL
Was just at Central Market and there is a Monrovia "Baby Pete" dwarf. Maybe this one will work for you.
jessileigh, did your agapanthus bloom this year? Mine haven't bloomed in several years. I, too, got them from Plant Delights, and they are good sized, healthy looking plants. I think I have 'Storm Cloud' and 'Elaine'. They use to bloom, but 5 years ago we moved them from a previous home. And like you, other people in my neighborhood, who I'm sure just go to HD or L for their plants, had great blooms. I have read about preferring to be crowded. And about preferring sun. This spring I moved them to a sunnier bed. The bed they've been in for the last 4 years has slowly become shaded in late afternoon. So I'm trying to address the sun issue to see if that helps for next year.
I had mine in containers so could move them around for sun and move indoors for freezes.
This non blooming thing irritated me enough that I swapped them off.
They are pretty when they bloom but I'd love to know what the problem is. Kristi
I'm having the same problem in Bellaire (inside Houston). A few isolated plants bloom the rest do not. I have some that are crowded and some that are not. I've tried different locations as well. I'm about ready to yank them all out!
Agapanthus enjoy the company of their kind in the wild. the bulbs touch and often appear to crowd out each other when the blooms are the most spectacular. I only have one agapanthus hybrid, so I can not confirm my theory. but the lack of blooming may be a result of space between the bulbs.
I know that when I used to pull and divide the plants, I would naturally replant them 6-8" apart. it took me a while to break that habit and plant the bulbs right next to each other. I have no problem with blooming. even after the awful winter die-backs.
Leslie. I hope you don't pull out our ags, but if you do. I will be happy to trade for them!
I'm so glad to read I'm not the only one. Mine are in a pot, and have been for years. I think I'm going to take them out and put some good fresh soil in it and put it back. Maybe relocating to a different bed will make a difference. I like the foilage anyway, just wish they would bloom too.
According to Glasshouse Works online catalog, agapanthus are much more likely to bloom when potbound.