Pine Cottage Plants Contact Information
Dick & Lorna Fulcher
Pine Cottage Plants
Tel: 01769 580076
Mobile: 07718 50 50 53
It is now time to place your orders for Spring 2013. This may be done on line or with the order form from our catalogue. If you would like to receive a catalogue please send 3 x first class stamps for the new edition and we will forward to you ASAP.
The plants you receive will be mature and should flower in the following summer months.
We accept payment for Agapanthus and all other plants by credit card so please ring in your details, or cheque made payable to "Pine Cottage Plants".
If you require any help or advise, choice of plants or planting plans look at the information below or do not hesitate to e-mail or phone.
Dick Fulcher D.H.E.hons. M. Hort (R.H.S.)
Agapanthus are long-lived herbaceous perennials forming dense clumps with underground rhizomes, they are not bulbs and resent being treated as such. Their natural home is South Africa and botanically they belong to the plant family Agapanthaceae. The generic name Agapanthus is derived from the Greek agape, meaning love and anthos alluding to the flower, hence the name ‘’Flowers of Love’’. They first appeared in our gardens towards the end of the seventeenth century but only in the last fifty years have they become popular with gardeners around the world. There is a great variation in colour and size of flower, leaf and growth habit, although in some cases the difference may only be very subtle. Remember not all agapanthus are fully hardy, in general most deciduous forms and species are hardy, whilst the evergreen types are mostly tender and only established clumps with good leaf cover may withstand cold harsh winters, but much depends on where you live and what facilities you can provide for the winter time. More research is required in order to sort out the hardiness and how cold winters effect the flowering. Reports from customers lead me to believe that many of the evergreen types will grow successfully outside. However recent winters have confirmed our belief that many of the evergreen ones are tender until fully established, even then a hard winter like that of Jan/Feb 2010 may destroy them.
Planting in the Garden
Agapanthus prefer any well drained ordinary soil in a mainly sunny open position where your plants will not be continually over hung by trees and shrubs or other vigorous leafy herbaceous perennials. We receive reports of successful cultivation in very diverse soil conditions. Agapanthus can be grown on alkaline soils with the exceptions of true africanus and its subsp walshii. It is my experience that light sandy soils on the acid side provide the optimum conditions. Good deep soil cultivation and preparation by adding organic matter will always give better results. Plant in spring or early summer, when the ground is warmed up, 30cm - 60cm (12" – 24") apart, depending on the cultivar. Water in after planting and enjoy. After flowers fade, cut down the stems, unless required for seed or winter decorations and apply a generous mulch. We notice that working with Agapanthus some people are allergic to the various chemicals contained in the sap of the leaves. This can cause a rash and is due to the various saponins and sapogenins.
Planting in Pots Watering and Feeding
Whilst the very best plants are produced by growing them in the open ground, excellent results and flowering can be achieved by cultivation in containers. Traditional clay pots are always more aesthetically pleasing but may add considerably to the weight. These must be brought into the cold greenhouse or cold conservatory before the onset of hard winter frosts, which may not only damage the plants but also could crack and destroy pots, especially if they are waterlogged at the time. Plastic pots will be much lighter in weight and for large specimens that have to be moved about may be the wiser option. Some of the Sankey range are the best clay "look-a-likes". Evergreen types with broad succulent leaves provide the most attractive displays and are best suited to pot culture, being more drought resistant with such thick fleshy roots. Use composts containing loam, such as John Innes No. 3. The addition of a controlled release fertilizer such as Osmacote 12 – 14 month release, high potash formulation, will take care of the nutrient requirements for one season’s growth and flowering. Continue potting on annually until after a few years large specimens will be the result. Agapanthus are gross feeders, therefore if left in the same container for more than one year they will require liquid feeding. Feed during the growing season every 10-14 days from late spring to late summer. Water regularly during dry periods. However over watering is anathema to agapanthus. Eventually when flowering declines they should be split up and re-potted. Containerised plants may be plunged (not planted) in a border for the summer, but lifted in autumn.
In late autumn/early winter, when the leaves of deciduous forms have turned yellow and died down, weed and mulch over the crowns with loose organic material. However, should you be planting evergreen types then place straw or bracken around the crowns to a depth of 10cm – 15cm (4" – 6"), leaving the upper leaves exposed, this will provide some protection in severe frost. Alternatively, mulching in spring will also provide good growing conditions and weed suppression as with any other herbaceous perennial. For winter storage of containerised plants, simply aim to keep just frost free and moist. If you don’t have a greenhouse, move the pots against a warm wall of your house and protect with bubble wrap or fleece. Remember a plant in a pot above ground level is much more vulnerable to freezing conditions.
Named cultivars are best propagated vegetatively by division in order to produce plants true to type. After lifting clumps I prefer to divide carefully from the side in order to avoid damaging the terminal buds especially the large praecox types. The best time for this is from the spring to early summer, although immediately after flowering is another option. In fact the evergreen types especially, appear very tolerant of disturbance and root reduction, even during mid summer, when divisions may be taken off with great success. However avoid this operation late in the year, as small portions of large established clumps may render such plants more susceptible to frost damage. The fact that many of the choicer cultivars are rather slow to increase mean they will be in short supply, unless micro-propagated. Propagation from seed where the seed has been saved from garden plants, especially if a number of different cultivars are grown together, will result in a mixture of colours, heights, and flowering season. Seed may be sown fresh in the autumn, or as I prefer, winter. Any ordinary seed compost will suffice. Cover the seed lightly and keep in a warm greenhouse or frame and keep moist. Germination takes about 5 – 8 weeks at a minimum temperature of 15c. Sow seed thinly and leave for one year. Those germinating in Feb/March can be singled out when large enough to handle into plug trays or small pots. Plants raised from seed should flower by their third year depending on parentage and time of sowing.
The most frequent question by far is "Why are my Ags. Not flowering". Possible reasons are as follows: -
1) The plant is too young. Plants raised from seed take three years on average to flower and some of the large growing praecox forms may take up to four or more years.
2) Poor flowering strain. This is genetic and cannot be improved by cultivation methods.
3) Planting in too shady a position – lack of sunlight necessary for flower initiation. Keeping containerised plants in too much shade.
4) Overcrowding of rhizomes and root system in pot. Re-pot into larger container or maintain health and vigour by liquid feeding. Overcrowding in the ground after too many years in the same position, lift in spring, divide and re-locate.
5) Overfeeding with too much nitrogen may result in vigorous growth and lack of flowering.
6) Too cold. Too much frost may destroy flower initials, followed by leafy growth with no flowers. This applies especially to evergreen agapanthus.
7) Too cold and wet – Agapanthus are best in well-drained conditions.
If none of the above apply, we can’t help you!
Dick and Lorna Fulcher Sept 2010