Agapanthus is known for its large flowers, thick roots and dazzling colors. This plant is naturally hardy and therefore has a high winter tolerance. However, if you live in a colder zone, you need to pay a little more attention to the plant in winter. Dir plants can be deciduous or evergreen, depending on the species you are growing. Find out how to winterize agapanthus in this post!
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Can you leave agapanthus outside in winter
It depends on the type of agapanthus you are growing. Evergreen varieties are less cold tolerant. Deciduous varieties are more cold tolerant and can handle lower temperatures. They can handle temperatures as low as -23 degrees C or so, but if they drop lower or stay that way, your plant is at risk.
What happens to the plant during the cold season.
There are two options, depending on the variety: How to overwinter deciduous agapanthus? The plants simply die on their own. The rhizomes are protected from the cold under the surface of the soil, so they are not killed by the cold. Compared to the evergreen species, they are less labor intensive, and you do not have to spend so much work on these plants. Evergreen agapanthus keep their foliage out in the winter. This makes them vulnerable to the cold and requires some adjustments to protect them.
It’s hard to tell the difference between the two types when you lift the bulb. The easy way? Just check the leaves when winter comes. Are they starting to wilt and fade from the cold? If so, it is probably a deciduous plant. If they seem to ignore the cold and retain their color throughout the winter, it is probably an evergreen plant.
Winter care for evergreen varieties
To overwinter evergreen agapanthus, special care should be taken. Plants need to be cut back in the summer as fall approaches. DO NOT wait until the cold weather arrives. This is an unnecessary risk, especially if the plant is growing in northern regions where it gets very cold. After pruning, next dig up the roots. The tubers should be cleaned. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush off any soil that has adhered. Allow them to dry after cleaning.
Store them in a dry, warm, moisture-free place. You can wrap them in paper while they dry. Keep the light in the room minimal during this time. Make sure the temperature is between 5 and 10 degrees C. In the spring, inspect the plants for mold, fungus or spores. If you see any, discard the bulb as it will be useless.
In zones where temperatures are above 15 degrees C, there should be no problem leaving them in the ground all winter, but they also need full sun. Just water them once a week. Don’t let it dry out. If temperatures hover around this threshold, add some mulch. 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch around the root to keep it nice and warm. Mini greenhouses, cold frames or plant heaters are also good choices. Smaller agapanthus plants can be covered with a portable greenhouse without disturbing the plant.
How to overwinter deciduous varieties
Deciduous varieties need to be cut back. Cut them back when they turn yellow, but not too early. They should die back on their own. When the leaves start to wilt and change color, it’s time to cut them. If you do it before then, the plant won’t have enough energy stored up for the winter. As you can see, deciduous agapanthus are much easier to overwinter than evergreens. If the temperatures remain between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius, you do not need to do anything else.
The leaves have stored energy in the rhizomes for the next season. Therefore, it is important to wait until the leaves have changed color before cutting them back to a few inches above the soil line. Whether it’s completely dark or light, the plant doesn’t care. It can’t photosynthesize anyway. However, water it every 2 weeks or so. This will prevent it from drying out completely, which you don’t want.
If you are in a colder zone, add some mulch. 2 to 3 inches is good enough. It will protect them from the cold by insulating the temperature changes at night. You can use bark or straw as a substitute if you don’t have mulch.
Agapanthus overwinter in a pot
A practical tip is to grow the evergreen agapanthus in containers. This is much more convenient because you can easily move the container when the cold weather comes. Also, you don’t have to repot the plant and handle the roots every time the cold comes. The pot can be brought indoors during the winter. This saves a lot of time and reduces the shock to the plant. Provide some light by placing the agapanthus against a window in your home. Do not fertilize during this time, but continue to water at a reduced rate.