Wereham Sign Gary Trouton

Passionate About Plants

September 2010

Paul gives us a short lesson on the Agapanthus plant, otherwise known as The Flower of Love!

The Flower of Love

Agapanthus literally translates as the flower of love. Agapanthus comes from the Greek word Agape, which means 'Love' and from anthos, 'Flower'. The plant was used by the original inhabitants of South Africa: a young Xhosa bride always wears a necklace of the roots. A

bride who wears such a necklace will bear many children and give birth without any complications. A young mother having given birth to her first baby will also wears such a necklace, so that mother and child will be healthy and happy. The roots are also finely ground and used by the

mother as a medicine prior to and after the birth. It seems that this influences the contractions of the womb. Newborns are often washed in the extract of the flowers. The roots of the plant which are sold at markets are also used to heal skin complaints and help alleviate menstrual

pains. The roots are only harvested in South Africa in the winter, when the plant has already set seed. Gathering them in the summer is believed to cause thunder storms. This kind of superstition is a form of nature

conservancy, for the plants are given an opportunity to produce seed so that they can propagate before they are dug up.

The English name the Lilly of the Nile is not exactly correct. In the first place the Agapanthus is not a Lilly and secondly the plant does not originate from the banks of the Nile. The Dutch name African Lilly or Cape Lilly is only half right but at least the place where it grows is correct. Agapanthus only appears in one place in the wild and that is South Africa. It is thus an endemic plant that does not grow in the wild outside this natural site. However this plant has been known in Europe since the seventeenth century thanks to the Dutch East India company.

Choosing Agapanthus.

The most important choice is between deciduous and evergreen plants and will depend on what conditions you can give the plant over winter, ideally the evergreen plant should be kept frost free, in light but the

temperature must not exceed 8 degree centigrade. If you already have an Agapanthus but do not know if it is deciduous or evergreen, you only have to look at the plant in October to see if the foliage is dying off, if this is the case then it is deciduous. Next it is important to know if you want to put the plant in a tub or in the border. Both deciduous and evergreen plants can be put in tubs but only deciduous plants are suitable for the border. Some people like blues and others white of which there are many varieties all having different shade of blue or white. Some people prefer the largest and tallest plants while others chose lower plants with small flower heads and others may chose an Agapanthus that has variegated foliage. It is a question of taste, but there is a suitable Agapanthus for everyone. It is such a pity that some plants are just sold without names, for then you do not know which cultivar it is or how it is to be treated. More over nine times out of ten it will be a plant of inferior quality. So it is important to go in search of a reliable nurseryman who sells plants bearing a name. Then you can find a plant that is attractive and would like to have either in your garden or container.

Happy Gardening,

Quaymount Nurseries,

The Row,


01366 500691.

Shrub clearance sale starts Friday 27th August 2010 for four days, Huge reductions on all large shrubs EVERYTHING MUST GO.

Paul Markwell,

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