African Lily flowers are tender perennials that belong to the genus Agapanthus. They are classified under the Amaryllidaceae family but belong to the subfamily Agapanthoideae. There are 6 species, plus subspecies, cultivars, and hybrids! They are either evergreen or deciduous and depending on which, may need extra care over winter or be more suited to container planting!
Their genus name means “flower of love” and is a combination of the Greek words “agape” which means love, and “anthos” which means flower. They are nicknamed the Lily-of-the-Nile, however, they are natives of South Africa and were first introduced into Europe in the 1600s. In parts of their native range, they are considered to be magical and are valued for their medicinal properties.
African lily flowers grow in clusters and typically have trumpet-shaped blooms. Flowers can be in groups of 20-100 depending on variety and are most commonly blue. However, many cultivars and hybrids exist with white and purple flowers! They are good choices for cottage-style or coastal gardens but are also amazing container plants for brightening up patios!
Unique African Lily Varieties Every Gardener Needs To Know
#1 Albus (A. africanus)
Albus is a wonderful cultivar that reaches between 2 and 3 feet high. It is an evergreen variety that is wonderful for cottage-style garden borders in milder climates. It produces clusters of trumpet-shaped pure white blooms in late summer that rise above the rich green foliage.
#2 Bell African Lily (A. campanulatus)
The Bell African Lily grows as tall as 40 inches and is ideal for containers! It is a vigorous plant with narrow, gray-green leaves that produces clusters of pale to dark lavender-blue trumpet-shaped flowers. This variety blooms in summer and will require a good mulching over winter as well as additional shelter from the winter rain.
#3 Wendy (A. campanulatus)
Wendy is a dwarf African lily plant that reaches a maximum of 15 inches tall. It is a deciduous variety that has umbels of flowers that are larger than normal for its size. Its buds are flushed pink and open to become soft white. This type is well suited for borders, and would look delightful paired with lavender and Russian sage in a coastal garden!
#4 Stalked African Lily (A. caulescens)
The Stalked African Lily is a relatively hardy variety that grows between 2 and just under 6 feet tall! It is deciduous and a fantastic choice for bringing height to the border! Flowers are dark blue-violet and are paler towards the base. They are produced in clusters that stand above the dark green, strap-like leaves which can grow between 10-24 inches long.
#5 Narrow-Leaved African Lily (A. caulescens subsp. Angustifolius)
This lovely African lily type is a deciduous clump-forming plant. It is a half-hardy variety that will benefit from a good mulching over winter. Expect it to grow to a maximum of 4 feet tall, with relatively small violet-blue flowers that have a darker central stripe on its petals. Its foliage is gray-green and has narrow leaves that reach less than 1 inch across.
#6 Graskop (A. inapertus subsp. pendulus)
Graskop is an unusual African lily that has clusters of drooping, tubular, blooms. Its flowers are rich, dark blue-violet which contrasts nicely with the bright green foliage. It blooms late in the season from mid-summer to fall and grows as tall as 40 inches. This deciduous plant is relatively hardy and looks lovely in coastal garden borders alongside sea holly and Shasta daisies.
#7 Ardernei Hybrid
Ardernei Hybrid is a hardy, deciduous plant that can grow up to 4 feet high. It produces clusters that can reach as wide as 6 inches across, and are composed of large white flowers that have pink and purple flushed outer tips. It blooms in late summer and would look delightful in a cottage-style garden border! This variety will benefit from winter mulching for some added protection.
#8 Blue Bird
This deciduous African lily flower can grow to a maximum of 40 inches and has clusters of funnel-shaped blooms that are deep blue with darker stripes along the petal centers. It flowers from summer through to fall and makes a brilliant container specimen for patios or city gardens!
#9 Black Buddhist
Black Buddhist is a vibrant flower and one of the darkest African lily cultivars! It will reach heights between 2 and 3 feet, producing groups of trumpet-shaped flowers from mid to late summer. Flowers are a vivid dark blue with a darker central stripe along its petals. This variety looks fantastic planted in drifts or containers in coastal gardens!
#10 Black Pantha
A fantastic African lily flower, Black Pantha is a semi-evergreen variety that is well suited for both containers and borders! Plant it in Mediterranean-style gardens along with lavender and ornamental grasses! It grows as large as 40 inches tall and has flowerheads that reach up to 8 inches across. Blooms are dark blue-black and begin as almost black buds.
#11 Blue Imp
This clump-forming, deciduous flower produces groups of vivid blue flowers borne on long stems that can grow as high as 28 inches. Its foliage is bright green with short, grass-like leaves. This variety makes fantastic cut flowers, and looks incredible planted along garden fences or in containers to brighten up patios!
#12 Blue Moon
Blue Moon grows up to 40 inches high and is a deciduous African lily flower. It has green foliage and thick upright stems that have umbels of trumpet-shaped pale, blue-gray flowers. This is a late-flowering variety that blooms from late summer to early fall. It makes a wonderful choice for cottage-style gardens alongside salvias!
Dartmoor is a fantastic deciduous variety and is a great choice for containers in patios and city gardens! Expect it to reach a maximum of 40 inches with umbels of beautiful, pale lavender-blue flowers. Its foliage is a vivid green and contrasts nicely with its delicate blooms. In colder climates, it will need extra winter protection.
Enigma is an unusual variety that has wonderful bi-colored flowers! Blooming from mid to late summer, it produces clusters of trumpet-shaped white flowers that have contrasting blue bases. It grows between 20 and 30 inches high and is a deciduous type that will benefit from mulching over winter if planted in beds and borders.
A truly stunning African lily flower, Fireworks grows 2 feet high and has beautiful bi-colored flowers. Blooms are produced in clusters from mid to late summer and are violet-blue at the base and pure white towards the petal edges. This compact variety is perfect for container-growing and will bring an extra pop of color to patios or city gardens!
#17 Ice Blue Star
Ice Blue Star can reach heights of 48 inches and has blue-green foliage. It is a deciduous African lily plant that blooms from mid to late summer, producing umbels of pale blue-violet flowers that have a dark blue central stripe along its petals. Plant it either in containers or borders of coastal gardens and give it a layer of loose mulch over the colder months.
#18 Indigo Dreams
Indigo Dreams is a striking cultivar that has deep, indigo-blue, trumpet-shaped blooms with a darker central stripe along its petals. Its flowers grow in umbels that rise above the foliage on long stalks and contrast nicely with the yellow-green leaves. It blooms in late summer and is a deciduous variety that would look stunning planted in front of taller crocosmia flowers!
This evergreen African lily flower grows as tall as 40 inches and is a vigorous, clump-forming variety. It produces rounded clusters of flowers from mid to late summer with pale blue petals that have a darker blue central stripe. In mild climates Luly is well suited to cottage-style borders and beds, however, in colder areas, grow it in containers for easy overwintering.
#20 Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a dwarf variety that can be as small as 8 inches. It is an evergreen African lily that would look delightful planted in drifts in milder climates, otherwise, it is well suited for containers in coastal-style patio gardens! It produces umbels of pale violet-blue flowers with dark blue central stripes from mid to late summer, and has brilliant green foliage!
#21 Snow Cloud
Snow Cloud is an evergreen African lily flower that can reach up to 4 feet high. It has clusters of densely packed white trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in summer. It has bright green foliage and would look wonderful as a container plant grown alongside lantana flowers for a cheerful display!
A dwarf variety, Streamline is an evergreen African lily that has clusters of narrow, trumpet-shaped flowers. Blooms are pale blue with a dark blue central stripe on their petals. It reaches a mere 12 inches tall and has rich green foliage. In mild areas, it may survive being in the ground over winter as long as the soil is well-draining and positioned in a sheltered spot. Plant it along borders in cottage-style gardens paired with pink dianthus flowers.
Tinkerbell is a striking plant that has narrow, strap-like, variegated leaves! It is an evergreen variety that can grow as high as 20 inches and has umbels of pale blue flowers. It blooms from mid to late summer and is best grown in containers where it can be overwintered easily.