- Peter Pan Agapanthus
- Bird of Paradise
- Bird of Paradise
- Colorful Combinations
- Bird of Paradise Care Must-Knows
- Birds on Birds
- More Varieties of Bird of Paradise
- Plant Bird of Paradise With:
- Bird Of Paradise Growing Conditions: Caring For Outdoor Bird Of Paradise Plants
- How to Take Care of Birds of Paradise Outside
- Bird of Paradise Growing Zone
Peter Pan Agapanthus
This variety produces a mound of luxurious narrow green foliage; lovely light blue flowers appear in mid-summer on medium stems; a perfect accent plant in the garden or massed along borders.
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Other Species Names: Lily of the Nile, African Lily
Plant Height: 12 in.
Spread: 18 in.
Plant Form: towering
Summer Foliage Color: dark green
Minimum Sunlight: partial shade
Maximum Sunlight: full sun
Peter Pan Agapanthus features bold clusters of sky blue trumpet-shaped flowers rising above the foliage from early to mid summer, which emerge from distinctive violet flower buds. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its narrow leaves remain dark green in color throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Peter Pan Agapanthus is an herbaceous evergreen perennial with a rigidly upright and towering form. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.Peter Pan Agapanthus is recommended for the following landscape applications;AccentMass PlantingGeneral Garden UseContainer Planting
Planting & Growing
Peter Pan Agapanthus will grow to be about 12 inches tall at maturity extending to 18 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 18 inches. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.Peter Pan Agapanthus is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. It is often used as a ‘filler’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination, providing a mass of flowers against which the larger thriller plants stand out. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.
Agapanthus ‘Peter Pan’ (Dwarf Lily of the Nile) – This dwarf variety of Agapanthus forms clumps of leaves to about 12 inches tall with flower stalks to 18 inches with uniform heads of pale blue flowers. Tolerates coastal conditions, frost and neglect. Good cut flower. Prefers full sun, but will tolerate light shade. Requires water in spring and summer. Foliage hardy to about 25 degrees F. and root hardy below 15. The original Agapanthus ‘Peter Pan’ was a plant selected from A. orientalis var. minimus by Jimmy Giriidlian at his Oakhurst Gardens in 1949. Unfortunately this plant has been propagated for many years by seed and it is likely that the original Giridlian plant was lost. There also is considerable variability in the seedling crops in the nursery trade and because of this in 1993 San Marcos Growers selected one particularly nice plant and now propagates all of our crops vegetatively from this one clone. Initially we called this plant ‘Peter Pan Select’ to distinguish it from seedlings crops we were concurenlty growing while building up our stock and this is how it is listed in Wim Snoeijer’ s book “Agapanthus; A Revision of the Genus”, but now with only the one clone in our nursery we have returned to labeling it simply ‘Peter Pan’. The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery’s garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Agapanthus ‘Peter Pan’.
Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise
Nothing says tropical quite like the bird of paradise. With its large, coarse-textured leaves and long-lasting blooms, bird of paradise plants find themselves at home in any tropical garden. The complex blooms not only look like tropical birds, but also rely on birds for pollination! They last for quite a long time and make fantastic cut flowers.
Bird of paradise plants can make an amazing statement piece in a garden setting. Their large, tropical foliage is reminiscent of banana leaves in a cool blue-green color, acting as a great foil for the amazingly intricate flowers. Blooms of the bird of paradise are actually made up of many different parts. The base of the flower—the “beak” of the bird—is a bract or a modified leaf. The showy orange petals at the top aren’t true petals, but actually sepals or modified petals. The true petals of the flower are the blue petals. These multicolored blooms are truly unique, and each blossom can last up to 2 weeks.
Bird of Paradise Care Must-Knows
Since bird of paradise plants are tropical in nature, they need protection from cold and plenty of warmth and sun to thrive. In many cases, it’s best to keep bird of paradise plants as potted container plants so they can easily be moved indoors in cool conditions. In settings warm enough to overwinter bird of paradise outdoors, the plant makes a great addition to poolside gardens since they don’t shed leaves. Some smaller varieties can survive part shade, but give them as much sun as you can for a show of flowers. Foliage may also become leggy and flop in too much shade. See more low-maintenance perennials that thrive in Southern California.
When looking for a home for your bird of paradise, be sure to pick a spot with rich, organic soil. Have a regular water schedule for at least the first six months after planting. Once the plants are established, they can handle a little drought, but these plants ideally want consistent, even moisture. Be careful not to overwater, however, as this is a sure way to stress the plants and eventually kill them.
As bird of paradise plants continue to grow, they might get crowded. These plants actually don’t mind being snug in a pot, and in many cases tend to bloom better when they are. They also tend to bloom most from their outer growth, so divide if yours is reaching its limit in the pot. Simply dig up the plants or unpot them and carefully separate the shoots into smaller divisions. Once done, replant the new divisions and keep them consistently moist for 3 to 6 months or until the plants have thoroughly rooted. New divisions may take a few years before they are ready to bloom again.
Birds on Birds
If you plant these indoors (or in less-than-tropical areas), you may notice that they never set seed. That’s because, unlike many other plants, birds of paradise are not pollinated by insects. They are pollinated by sunbirds! Bird of paradise has evolved so that in order for pollination to take place, a bird must sit on the lower bract of the bloom. Once the bird is perched there, the weight of the bird levers the pollen of the bloom. As the bird goes in for nectar, pollen is deposited on the breast of the bird. When the bird visits another flower, the same process happens again, and the pollen from the bird is then deposited on the exposed flower parts of the next bloom.
More Varieties of Bird of Paradise
‘Mandela’s Gold’ Bird of Paradise
Strelitzia reginae ‘Mandela’s Gold’. A yellow blooming variety of the commonly orange blooming bird of paradise. Zones 10-11
Orange Bird of Paradise
Strelitzia reginae offers brilliantly colored flowers on 3-foot-tall stalks in winter, spring, and summer. It grows 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Zones 10-11
White Bird of Paradise
Strelitzia nicolai grows like a tree with a fan of large 5-foot-long leaves. It produces white flowers in spring and grows 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide. Zones 10-11
Plant Bird of Paradise With:
Daylilies are so easy to grow you’ll often find them growing in ditches and fields, escapees from gardens. And yet they look so delicate, producing glorious trumpet-shape blooms in myriad colors. In fact, there are some 50,000 named hybrid cultivars in a range of flower sizes (the minis are very popular), forms, and plant heights. Some are fragrant. The flowers are borne on leafless stems. Although each bloom lasts but a single day, superior cultivars carry numerous buds on each scape so bloom time is long, especially if you deadhead daily. The strappy foliage may be evergreen or deciduous. Shown above: ‘Little Grapette’ daylily
Make a bold statement in your garden with kangaroo paw. This unusual perennial comes from Australia and bears strappy green leaves and upright spikes of fuzzy flowers in radioactively brilliant colors. The blooms last a long time and make great cut flowers.
Complete the tropical look by pairing bird-of-paradise with a showy sago palm.
The leaves of this South African native bulb look like chives, and if you brush its foliage while walking by, you’ll catch a whiff of garlic. However, the beautiful clusters of lavender-pink flowers have a sweet fragrance, similar to hyacinth perfume. They open on tall stems from early summer until late fall. Noted for its drought tolerance, society garlic has become a staple in southern California landscapes.
Bird Of Paradise Growing Conditions: Caring For Outdoor Bird Of Paradise Plants
Some say blossoms of the bird of paradise plant resemble the heads of tropical birds, but others say they look like brightly colored birds in full flight. Regardless, ideal bird of paradise growing conditions both indoors and out remain the same: bright light, well-drained soil and adequate water through the growing season. Read on to learn how to take care of birds of paradise in the garden.
How to Take Care of Birds of Paradise Outside
Bird of paradise is a clump-forming, evergreen plant. A mature clump can be 5 feet tall and wide. The waxy, gray-green leaves get some 18 inches long and resemble banana leaves. Gardeners are particularly interested in the brilliantly hued flowers, each with three bright orange bracts and
three indigo petals. It is these blossoms that give the plant its common name.
If you are looking for numerous flowers and shorter stems on your bird of paradise plants, try growing bird of paradise outside in full sun. Those grown in shade have bigger blossoms but taller stalks.
The plant produces flowers all year long in tropical climates. Most flowers grow on outer sections of the clumps. Organize your planting to allow sufficient flowering room by spacing your outdoor bird of paradise plants about 6 feet apart.
The best bird of paradise growing conditions include fertile soil rich in organic content that drains well. Outdoor bird of paradise plants need sufficient water to keep their soil moist all summer long, but less in the winter months.
Bird of Paradise Growing Zone
Growing bird of paradise outside is only possible if you live in USDA zones 9 through 12. The plant makes an attractive addition to the backyard garden in these zones and can be used as the focal point in a floral planting. In colder zones, the plant may survive but developing flower buds may be damaged.
In these growing zones, you can propagate outdoor bird of paradise plants by division. When the clump has five or more stalks, dig it up in the spring and separate the root into one-stalk sections. Each should be replanted at the same depth as the original clump.
Agapanthus or Lily-of-the-Nile
Agapanthus is a genus of six species of fleshy-rooted perennials with a long history of taxonomic confusion. It was originally included in the lily family (Liliaceae), was then moved to the amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae), moved again into the onion family (Alliaceae), went back to Amaryllidaceae and now resides in its own family, the Agapanthaceae, a sister family to the Amaryllidaceae. Despite the common name of Lily-of-the-Nile, they are not native to the Nile River basin of northeastern Africa; this monotypic family (consisting of only one genus) is actually endemic to southern Africa. In its native areas, Agapanthus is considered to be both a magical and a medicinal plant, used to treat heart disease, paralysis, coughs, colds, and other ailments, and the leaves are used as bandages (the plant does contain chemicals with anti-inflammatory and other properties). However, the plant’s sap can cause minor irritation or dermatitis in susceptible individuals, and will cause severe pain in the mouth if ingested.
Agapanthus are common landscape plants in mild climates
The first plants were brought back to Europe in 1679 by the early explorers to South Africa. They are grown for the spectacular blue spherical flower clusters in early to mid-summer. There are two species of Agapanthus, along with many hybrids, which are commonly used as landscape plants in mild areas or houseplants in colder climates. The dwarf forms are especially good as container plants, as restricted root growth induces heavier flowering.
This tender herbaceous plant grows in upright clumps from fleshy rhizomes that produce short, tuberous roots. Tufts of leaves are produced on short stems. The arching, strap-like leaves are 12-24” long and 1-2” wide.
The strap-like leaves remain attractive when the plant is not blooming
The dark, glossy green leaves are attractive even when the plant isn’t flowering (some species have bluish leaves or are lighter green in color). Most of the common types are evergreen, but there are some that are deciduous. The evergreen ones shed a few of the older, outer leaves every year and grow new leaves from the growing shoot.
Flowers clusters are borne on sturdy, erect stems held well above the foliage. Each single terminal inflorescence consists of numerous tubular to bell-shaped flowers, each with 6 parts. There are 20 to 100 flowers in each rounded umbel, depending on variety and species. The individual flowers look like a miniature lily flower, often with darker stripes down the middle of each tepal (3 petals and 3 sepals that all look the same). Flower color ranges from deep violet-blue to pale shades of blue, as well as pure white. They bloom primarily in summer, although in frost-free climates they will bloom over a longer season. The flowers also make good cut flowers, and the dried seed heads can be used in arrangements.
The terminal inflorescence opens to reveal the individual flowers. Seeds may follow the flowers if pollinated.
Agapanthus makes quite a show in a large container on the patio, and can add an exotic touch to any planting scheme. The blue flowers of Agapanthus combine well with lemon-yellow flowers, such as daylilies, marigolds or lantana. For a flashier combination, pair them with potted cannas with bright yellow and/or orange flowers. For a more subtle and elegant effect, combine them with silver- or blue-leaved foliage plants, such as dusty miller or honeywort (Cerinthe major). For a tropical look, place them with other containers of palms, banana plants and hibiscus.
Agapanthus is a nice container plant.
Grow Agapanthus as a houseplant in bright light and average temperatures. Keep well watered when growing, but allow it to dry out in winter. This plant blooms best when grown in full sun and pot-bound, so don’t divide or replant until the plant is pushing out of its pot. Potted plants can be moved to a sheltered spot outdoors after all danger of frost is past in spring, but be careful to acclimate it gradually to full sun to prevent sunburn. Bring inside at the end of the growing season, before frost.
Evergreen types should be grown year-round, treating them as houseplants during the winter. The deciduous ones can be stored in a cool, dark place (above freezing). They can be kept in their containers, just allowing them to remain dry until spring, or the tuberous roots can be dug up, the soil removed, and wrapped in newspaper for storage.
Agapanthus can be grown as a houseplant in cold climates.
Plant Agapanthus just deep enough to cover the roots, spacing them about 8” apart. A single plant will fill a 12” pot, or use more in larger pots. Use well-drained potting mix, as they do not tolerate waterlogged soil. During the growing season, containers can be fertilized lightly; overfertilization will result in lanky growth.
Agapanthus can be propagated from seed or division. Seed should be sown in spring; germination usually takes 1-4 months. It will take 3-5 years to flower from seed. Root bound potted plants can be divided every 4-5 years. Division is best done after flowering, but it can be done any time. Use a very sharp knife to cut the clump into sections, each with roots attached, and pot the sections up. Divisions may not flower until the following year. Commercially selected clones are propagated by tissue culture.
Flowers are borne on strong stems
There are two evergreen species (A. africanus and A. praecox) and four deciduous species (A. campanulatus, A. caulescens, A. coddii and A. inapertus), but few of these are commonly available as ornamentals (and not all nurseries follow this most recent classification so you may see other species names used). There are numerous hybrid cultivars with a range of characteristics and sizes hardy in zones 7-11. Because Agapanthus species hybridize readily with each other, especially when grown in close proximity, many of these garden hybrids are of undocumented parentage (not to mention the confused taxonomy of this group). Some include:
There are both blue and white cultivars.
‘Albus’ – a white-flowered selection of A. africanus
- ‘Baby Blue’ – a dwarf cultivar with bright blue flowers on 12-16” tall stems.
- ‘Back in Black’ – a new cultivar with very dark blue flowers on dark stems.
- ‘Blue Triumphator’ – one of the most commonly found deciduous types.
- ‘Bressingham Blue’ – dark violet blue flowers to 4 feet. Also a white version, ‘Bressingham White’
- ‘Elaine’ – upright and vigorous selection of A. africanus, with deep purple-blue flowers on 4 ft. stems.
- ‘Ellamae’ – bright violet-blue drooping flowers on stems 3-5 feet tall.
- ‘Getty White’ – medium sized with large clusters of white flowers on 2-4 foot stems.
- ‘Headbourne Hybrids’ – a deciduous group developed in England in the late 1940’s, with plants up to 30” tall and flowers in various shades of blue. Many hardy varieties were then bred from these. Hardy in zones 6-9.
‘Lilliput’ – dwarf, dark blue flowers on 18″ tall stems.
- Midknight Blue™ (‘Monmid’) – deep, violet-blue flowers on 36” tall stems.
- ‘Mooreanus’ – pale blue flowers.
- ‘Peter Pan’ – a vigorous dwarf variety (8-12”) with large clusters of mid-blue flowers on 1-2 foot stems.
- ‘Queen Anne’ – clump to 12” tall with bright blue flowers on 24” tall stems (A. africanus).
- ‘Rancho White’ – white tubular flowers on stems to 18” tall.
- ‘Snow Cloud’ – rounded umbels of small, pure white flowers on 4 ft stems.
- Summer Gold™ – a selection of A. africanus with yellow variegated foliage and powder blue flowers on 30″
- ‘Storm Cloud’ (= ‘Purple Cloud’) – intense purple-blue flowers on 4 ft stems
- ‘Streamline’ – open flowerheads of mid-blue on dwarf plants.
- ‘Tinkerbell’ – a sport of ‘Peter Pan’ with variegated leaves (edged with creamy white) 6-8” long and pale blue flowers on 18” tall stems. It is slow-growing and does not bloom reliably, so is best grown for the foliage.
– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin – Madison