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Petite, midsize, or full-size? Time to choose agapanthus in bloom.

Petite, midsize, or full-size? Time to choose agapanthus in bloom

Gardeners have more choices in agapan-thus(lily-of-the-Nile) these days. Though both petite and midsize varieties have been around for some time, they're now more widely available in nurseries. If you find the big strappy leaves of full-size plants too overpowering, these smaller ones are worth looking for.

This month and next, agapanthus will bein bloom in many places. Flower colors include white and shades of blue. The blue can vary among seedlings, so selecting a plant now will assure you of getting the shade you want.

Petite varieties have 1/2-inch-wide leavesthat grow in compact mounds 8 to 12 inches high. Blooms appear on 12- to 18-inch stalks. "Blue Baby' produces blossoms that range from medium to bright blue, "Peter Pan' has deep blue flowers.

For a midsize version, try a variety like"Rancho White'. It's 3/4- to 1-inch-wide leaves are broader than those of petite kinds but not as broad as those of full-size agapanthus (2 inches across). The foliage clump is about 1 1/2 feet high, with bloom stalks up to 2 feet tall.

Plant agapanthus in sun or part shade, inthe garden or in containers. Give plenty of water and feed lightly during bloom season. Bait for snails and slugs: these live on the plant, though they don't eat it.

In cold-winter areas, dig and store plantsover winter (or keep them in containers you can move indoors). Or try a more cold-hardy variety such as A. umbellatus Headbourne hybrids. Look for these varieties in nurseries, or order from Dunford Farms, Box 238, Sumner, Wash. 98390. Plants in 4-inch pots cost $4 each plus shipping; they'll be sent in the fall, when dormant.

Photo: Differences show up even in these young agapanthus plants, both in gallon cans. Larger one is A. orientalis; smaller is A.o. "Peter Pan'
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1987
Words:312
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