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Growing agapanthus in pots is a good idea for the evergreen varieties of an agapanthus. These are not as hardy as the deciduous kind of agapanthus, so you may need to give them a little winter protection. This could be putting them inside a cold greenhouse or a more sheltered position against a wall during the winter months and adding a little lagging around the pot.
To learn more about growing and caring for agapanthus in pots, here’s what you need to know to plant your agapanthus in a pot and to care for it. Let’s get started!
Choosing a pot or container for your agapanthus
Agapanthus needs relatively small pots in relation to their size. In fact, I find that they like their roots squished up and almost rootbound. But not too much, as oxygen still needs to get into the roots. The rule of thumb is that each large agapanthus can go into a 30cm (12 inch) diameter pot. If your container is larger than this, just put several plants in. For smaller or younger plants, 20cm to 25cm is a good size pot.
The most important part of the pot are the drainage holes in the bottom. Ensure that there are enough by running water into the pot and seeing how fast it drains out. You may need to add more holes. It’s easier to drill the holes in a plastic pot than a ceramic one.
If you are using a ceramic or terracotta pot, consider planting the agapanthus in a plastic one with good drainage holes and then putting that inside the ceramic one. You also need to add some broken crockery to the pot to avoid them getting clogged up.
The best soil for agapanthus
Agapanthus aren’t too particular about soil as long as it’s well-drained. Sitting in water-logged soil is bad for their continued good health. I recommend a good soil-based compost such as John Innes No. 2 or No. 3 soil for growing agapanthus in pots. Make sure that whatever soil or compost you use isn’t clumpy or compacted. On another note, don’t use garden soil as its usually too compact and often transfers diseases and pests. I always use good quality compost from the local garden centre, I just make sure it’s soil-based which means a John Innes mix.
How to plant agapanthus
Step 1 – Add some broken crockery to the bottom of the pot
Firstly, and don’t skip this step, its super important, add some broken crockery or stones in the bottom of the pot. You can even use polystyrene. This avoids blockage of the drainage holes by the soil and also adds some weight to lighter plastic pots.
Step 2 – Part fill the pot with compost
Fill the pot two-thirds with the soil/compost mix (John Innes potting compost). Create a well in the centre and plant the agapanthus. Position the plant (add more compost if needed), so the root ball is about 3cm below the soil level. If you buy potted agapanthus, then plant them at the same level they are in the current pot. Its the bare root stock that you plant slightly deeper.
Add in more soil and gently tamp it around the plant. Don’t worry if the roots seem a little close together – the plant likes it that way for the first few years of its life.
After planting, I like to add fertiliser. Choose a well-balanced one. A fertiliser designed for tomatoes is also a good choice, and I like to just water it in. You can also use slow-release fertiliser and add this to the soil before planting them, but there is usually enough food value in the compost.
Don’t forget to water them
Water the plant well. Check that the excess water is draining thoroughly from the drainage holes in the bottom of the container.
Move the agapanthus pot to its location
Agapanthus enjoys full sun to get the most out of them. Find a spot on your patio or front steps to place the plant pot. The place should be sheltered from cold winds as these can lead to leaf scorch.
Caring for your agapanthus
All the information you need about caring for your agapanthus plant is contained in the second half of the guide How to grow and care for agapanthus plants. Head over there to learn what your plant needs for a long and healthy life.
Agapanthus can start to develop yellowing leaves. Check my guide here to lead more about yellowing leaves in agapanthus.
When it comes to dividing, they also benefit from dividing every few years once they become root bound, which is one of the reasons agapanthus don’t sometimes flower, which I discussed in this guide here.