(Blue Yonder Lily of the Nile) 2.25 stars
Agapanthus is a member of the Amaryllis family. Commonly called Lily of the Nile, it is native to South Africa. Plants are often grown in containers for their showy flowers. Blue Yonder produces large rounded clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers that are deep cobalt blue. They are tender perennials that grow from fleshy-rooted rhizomes.
Flower Description and Bloom Time
The unique aspect of this plant is the true blue flower color. The plants bloomed in one garden for three weeks in July. The evaluator noted that the plants produced attractive seed heads for a few weeks after bloom.
Foliage Interest — Color and Texture
Vibrant strap-like lush green foliage; remained green all summer. Leaves are basal, numerous, long and narrow.
Habit and Growth Rate Observations
Plants grew into a clump of 15 inches tall and wide at one site.
Site Preference — Soil and Light
Agapanthus ‘Blue Yonder’ is tolerant of shade but will likely flower best where it gets at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight. Evaluation sites ranged from full sun and average garden soil to part shade with clay-loam soil and good drainage. (All plants were placed directly in the soil, not in containers.) In the fall, plants grown in pots should be placed in a frost-free place and provided with minimal water until they are set out in spring, after threat of frost has passed.
Successes and Possible Drawbacks
Blue Yonder is touted as hardy into zone 5 with proper siting, such as the south side of a building or other structure, and mulch. Evaluators noted that extreme cold winter weather during the first growing season may have contributed to the death of many of the plants. Planting earlier in the year may help plant roots adjust before going into a bad winter.
Notes from Growers/Retailers
If planted in containers, use Blue Yonder as a “thriller” plant and surround it with trailing annuals, such as Calibrachoa, Helichrysum ‘White Licorice’ or Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea.’
Parting “SHOT” — The overall evaluation results were Fair 2.25 stars
This plant was evaluated from 2013 to 2016 at six sites including Chicago, the western and northwestern suburbs, and near the Illinois/Wisconsin border with a total of 18 plants in the trial.
By the third year of the evaluation, only one plant survived. Plants died at four out of five sites the first year. An extremely cold winter (2013-2014) may have contributed to their early demise. In the site where a plant survived, the plants were grown in full sun and average garden soil.