Check out these 25 breathtaking flowers resembling the agapanthus. Paint your landscape with these show-stopping blooms that provide a glorious display of hues into your garden.
Native to South Africa, Agapanthus praecox, Lily-of-the-Nile, or African Lily is a tropical herbaceous perennial. It is a member of the family Amaryllidaceae. It has been widely cultivated and has become a popular garden plant all over the world.
It is grown in USDA zones 7 to 11. In warmer climates, one should plant them into the ground in fall or winter. In cooler climates, these evergreens can be grown in pots, and one should take them inside over winter as they are not frost hardy.
Agapanthus likes to grow in full sun but can grow in partly shaded conditions. Although they are tolerant of even the poorest soils, they benefit from nutrient-rich, well-draining soil with lots of organic matter to help with water retention. These plants require regular watering.
Plants grow bunches of long, strap-like leaves and shoot up tall flower stalks in the summer. They produce round umbels of blue or white trumpet-shaped flowers. Agapanthus makes a striking impact when planted in large swathes.
In a landscape, Agapanthus is used to stabilize banks by preventing erosion. They produce a dense network of roots but do be careful when dividing or planting them, as the roots can irritate the skin.
The Zulu and Xhosa people of South Africa use Agapanthus for its medicinal properties. It is used to treat colds, coughs, chest pain, heart disease, and paralysis. The leaves contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oedema compounds. Traditionally, the Agapanthus is used by women during pregnancy to ensure a healthy baby.
Table of Contents
- 1. Ornamental Onions
- 2. Nerines
- 3. Bush Lily
- 4. Dutch Hyacinth
- 5. Bearded Iris
- 6. Daylily
- 7. Amaryllis
- 8. Grape Hyacinth
- 9. English Bluebells
- 10. Cymbidiums
- 11. Watsonias
- 12. Crinums
- 13. Hostas
- 14. Portuguese Squill
- 15. Hydrangea
- 16. Daffodils
- 17. Snowdrops
- 18. African Iris
- 19. Sword Lily
- 20. Rock Lily
- 21. Dahlias
- 22. Lilyturf
- 23. Sage
- 24. Blue Flax-lily
- 25. Purple Coneflower
1. Ornamental Onions
Flowering onions are in the same genus as culinary onions, leeks, and chives – Allium. However, ornamental onions, like Allium giganteum put their energy into producing large, round, purple flower heads rather than big, fleshy bulbs. Their tall blooms closely resemble Agapanthus flowers.
Native to Central and western Asia, alliums can grow in USDA zones 5 to 8 as herbaceous perennials. They prefer growing in full sun and require consistent moisture but good drainage so that the bulbs do not rot. Plant alliums in rich, composted soil for best results. They grow up to 5 feet tall. Alliums bloom abundantly in late spring and continue through summer. The small starry flowers attract pollinating insects.
Nerines, botanically named Nerine bowdenii is perennial flowering bulbs that are native to South Africa. They are part of the Amaryllidaceae family, so they are related to Agapanthus. From afar, their round umbels of trumpet-shaped flowers with curling petals in hues of white and pink can be mistaken for Agapanthus.
Nerines can be grown in USDA zones 7 to 10. While they are quite hardy, they will need some extra mulch in winter, especially in colder climates. They like to grow in full sun and can tolerate poor soil. Nerines have long, flat, strappy leaves. They produce flowers in late summer and autumn.
3. Bush Lily
Clivia miniata belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family and, like Agapanthus, is native to South Africa. Bush lilies have become popular garden and indoor plants. They grow in USDA zones 9 and 10 as perennials. They can tolerate heat and drought, but not frost.
Clivias produce clusters of large, trumpet-shaped flowers on tall, fleshy stems that resemble Agapanthus blooms in winter and spring. However, they are red, yellow, and orange in color. Rare cream varieties have also been cultivated.
In their natural habitat, bush lilies grow in forests. In the garden, it grows best in dappled shade, in rich, composted soil that has good drainage. Water them weekly in warm months, but sparingly in winter and fall. They grow about 3 feet tall. Once established, they form clusters of evergreen, strap-like leaves, like Agapanthus. Clusters will need dividing every 4 or 5 years.
4. Dutch Hyacinth
Hyacinthus orientalis, or hyacinths are herbaceous perennials that are native to Europe. These popular garden flowers are grown in USDA zones 4 to 8 and are prized for their sweet-smelling spring blooms. The star-shaped flowers grow in clusters on 12-inch-tall flower spikes. White, blue, and purple varieties resemble Agapanthus flowers.
Hyacinths grow best in full sun or partial shade and need moist, well-draining soil. They prefer poorer soils, without too much organic matter. Hyacinths are grown from bulbs. Plant them in late winter for a colorful springtime display.
5. Bearded Iris
Iris germanica, the bearded iris, is a hardy perennial that is native to the southern parts of Europe and the Mediterranean. They are popular garden plants grown in USDA zones 3 to 9. Like Agapanthus, Irises have long, sword-like leaves.
White, purple, and blue flowering varieties resemble Agapanthus blooms from a distance, but the flowers are quite different in shape. They have six lobed petals that droop open. Plants grow up to 40 inches tall. They bloom in the spring.
Bearded irises grow from rhizomes. These should be planted shallowly and not mulched to prevents the rhizomes from rotting. Plant them in a sunny spot, in well-draining soil. They can tolerate sandy, gravelly, poor soils, as long as the drainage is good.
Hemerocallis fulva, the daylily, is a favorite low-maintenance perennial flower amongst gardeners worldwide. Daylilies are native to eastern Asia, but they are highly adaptable and have been naturalized in Europe and North America. They thrive in USDA zones 3 to 9. They have a long flowering time, from spring to fall.
Like Agapanthus, daylilies produce clusters of large, lily-like, trumped-shaped flowers in white, purple, yellow and pink. Although individual flowers only last for a day, each tall flowering spike carries about 12 flowers, so they bloom for weeks on end in summer. They have long, flat, strap-like leaves and grow in clumps, about 3 feet tall.
Daylilies like to grow in full sun and can tolerate poor soil conditions. They do, however, need good drainage. They need to be watered well until they are established.
Amaryllis belladonna, the March lily, is native to South Africa, like Agapanthus. They have long, strappy leaves and grow in clumps. In the summer and fall they produce clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers with pink, white and purple flowers. From afar, they can be mistaken for Agapanthus.
They are low-maintenance plants and can tolerate drought, frost, bright sunshine, and poor soil conditions. Amaryllis only require light watering. Plants grow to 1.5-foot tall. They are mostly grown from bulbs because when grown from seed, they take about 6 years before they flower.
8. Grape Hyacinth
Muscari neglectum, the grape hyacinth, is a small, purple-flowering perennial bulb that is native to Europe and Asia. Muscari is a popular garden plant and is widely cultivated all over the world. They produce clusters of small, blue-purple flowers in spring. While they resemble Agapanthus flowers in their growth form and flowers, they are much smaller, growing to around 12 inches tall.
Muscari likes to grow in sandy, well-draining soil in a sunny position. It is easily grown in USDA zones 4 to 8. The bulbs should be planted in the fall. Long, strappy leaves will grow in late winter and early spring. Muscari looks gorgeous in mass plantings, as part of the border, or in a pot.
9. English Bluebells
Hyacinthoides non-scripta, more commonly known as bluebells, are bulbous perennial wildflowers that are native to Europe. They are cultivated in gardens in USDA zones 4 to 9. In spring, they produce sky-blue to purple, trumpet-shaped flowers on tall flowering shoots. In the wild and in woodland gardens, they grow in massive carpets.
Bluebells like growing in partially shaded areas in well-draining soil. Mulch them with leaf mold compost. They grow to a height of about 12 inches. Water them well for masses of purple flowers. Their foliage is long and strap-like, so from afar, they look like mini-Agapanthus. Bluebells are lovely to grow as part of naturalistic plantings, like in wildflower meadows.
Cymbidiums are orchids, so while they are quite different to Agapanthus in many ways, they share some characteristics. The plants have a similar growth form, with long, strap-shaped leaves. They produce long flowering shoots with multiple flowers on each. Widely cultivated, Cymbidium flowers can be any color. They look most like Agapanthus with white, purple, and pink flowers.
Like most orchids, cymbidiums flower seasonally. They can be grown in USDA zones 10 to 12 as perennials. Cymbidiums prefer to grow in part-shade and need a free-draining growing medium so that their roots do not rot. Plants grow into clumps around 3 feet tall. They grow well in containers or in borders in dappled shade. Cymbidiums are sought after by florists as they make dramatic, impressive, cut flowers.
The bugle lily, or Watsonia borbonica, is another South African plant, like Agapanthus. It is widely cultivated, with the pink and white flowering varieties most popular. These herbaceous perennials produce 6-foot-tall flowering shoots that bear many showy, trumpet-shaped flowers. The leaves are long, sword-like and die back after the plant flowers in spring and summer.
They prefer warmer climates, growing well in USDA zones 8 to 10. Plant the bulbs in full sun during the fall, and water them lightly. Like Agapanthus, these plants grow to form clumps and gradually spread.
Crinium moorei is a bulbous flowering perennial. Crinums are members of the Amyrillidaceaae family, so they are related to Agapanthus and share many characteristics. They have long, strappy leaves and flowering stalks that hold clusters of large, fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers. Springtime is when the blooms arrive.
Crinums are native to South Africa and grow well in USDA zones 7 to 10. In zones 3 to 6 they can be grown in pots and brought indoors over winter, as they are not frost hardy. Plant them in full sun, in well-draining soil. They can get wind-battered, so look for a sheltered spot to plant them. Crinums are drought tolerant once they have been established.
Most hostas are grown for their gorgeous heart-shaped foliage, but Hosta plantaginea produces tall flowering stalks that bear clusters of sweet-smelling, white flowers. The blooms are trumpet-shaped and appear in late summer. Hosta plantiginea is native to China and grows well in USDA zones 3 to 9 as a herbaceous perennial.
Hostas generally love shady growing conditions, but these hostas can only flower if they get enough sunlight – plant them in partial shade. They spread to form a 12- to 18-inch-tall ground cover.
14. Portuguese Squill
Scilla peruviana, or Portuguese squill, is native to the Mediterranean. Like Agapanthus, it is a bulbous perennial flower. The leaves are long, sword-shaped and grow in a clump. During late spring and summer, they shoot up flowering spikes that bear round clusters of blue, star-like flowers.
They grow to about 10 inches tall, so are much shorter than Agapanthus. Portuguese squill likes to grow in rich, composted soil that drains well. They like full sun or part-shade. Bulbs should be planted in the fall.
Hydrangea macrophylla is native to Japan and China. They are grown in USDA zones 5 to 11. Like Agapanthus, hydrangeas produce masses of umbellate inflorescences in pink, white, purple, and blue.
However, this is where the resemblance ends. Hydrangeas are deciduous shrubs that bloom during summer and lose their leaves in winter. They grow into large bushes, 6 to 10 feet tall and wide.
Plant hydrangeas in the shade or partly shaded areas, in moist soil with good drainage. In acidic soil, the flowers are blue, and in alkaline soil, they are pink.
Narcissus or daffodils are quintessential spring flowers. Like Agapanthus, they belong to the Amaryllidaceae family. Daffodils are native to Europe and have been widely cultivated. There are many different varieties in a range of sizes and colors.
Daffodils are grown as perennials in USDA zones 3 to 9. Bulbs are planted in the fall, and their spring growth is catalyzed by the winter cold. They shoot up long, strap-like leaves and yellow and white cup-and-saucer-shaped flowers in the spring. The blooms have an intoxicating scent.
When they are grown in large plantings, they put on an impressive display. There are many different cultivars, and a variety of daffodils planted together ensures a long season of interest.
Galanthus nivalis, or snowdrops, are another member of the Amaryllidaceae family. Snowdrops are synonymous with the start of spring. Native to Europe, they grow in woodlands in vast white carpets. They have bright green, strap-like leaves and small bunches of bell-like white flowers atop long flowering shoots.
These spring bulbs are cultivated as hardy perennials in USDA zones 3 to 8. Snowdrops like to grow in rich, fertile, well-draining soil in full sun or partial shade. They can be grown from bulbs or from seed and will spread over time, forming dense patches around 4 inches tall.
18. African Iris
Dietes grandiflora, the African Iris,is native to South Africa. A member of the Iridaceae family, it is not closely related to Agapanthus, but at a glance, the plants share many characteristics. They have long, hard, sword-like leaves and grow in clumps around 4 feet tall. They have white and purple iris flowers that bloom for a long time in summer.
These easy to grow, low maintenance plants are drought and frost hardy. They tolerate even the poorest soil conditions, and in optimal conditions, they grow and spread quickly via rhizomes. Plant them in full sun or partial shade in moist, well-draining soil.
This iris works well in large plantings, and because they grow so easily and are so adaptable, they are a favorite for adding greenery to public gardens, parks, and urban spaces.
19. Sword Lily
Gladiolus nanus, or sword lilies, are like Agapanthus, native to South Africa. They are a horticultural favorite, and the blooms are sought after by florists. Extensively cultivated and hybridized, there are many varieties of gladiolus. White, lilac and blue varieties planted in large groupings have a similar visual effect to Agapanthus. The flowers are gorgeous and orchid-like.
Gladioluses grow in USDA zones 5 to 11. They are best grown from corms, which must be planted in early spring. They grow to around 20 inches in height. The long, sword-like leaves have veins, and they shoot up tall flowering shoots in midsummer. The big flowers can get heavy, so they require staking for support. Plant corms in a sheltered, sunny spot in loamy, sandy, well-draining soil.
20. Rock Lily
Arthropodium cirratum, the New Zealand rock lily, is a herbaceous perennial that grows in a clump with long, strappy leaves. It produces masses of white, starry flowers on 1.5-foot-tall flowering shoots in spring and summer.
It is a beautiful, low maintenance plant that is the perfect solution for difficult, shady, and dry areas in the garden. They can grow in full sun to shade in fertile, well-draining soil. Water it well until it has been established. It is a drought tolerant, low maintenance plant that looks great when it is planted in large swathes.
Dahlias pinnata, is a flowering perennial that is native to Mexico. The blooms have lilac, white, or pink petals with a yellow center. Some varieties grow to over 4 feet tall. The bright, pom-pom flowers that stick out above the rest of the flowers in the border can mimic Agapanthus.
Dahlias are grown from bulbs. They should be planted in spring to flower in the late summer and fall. They grow well in hot, humid climates. Dahlia They are grown as annuals in zones 7 to 10 but may perennialize in very hot climates. Dahlias grow well in full sun and require moist but well-draining soil.
Liriope is a genus of herbaceous perennial with tall, ribbon leaves. They are called lilyturf and landscapers like to use them as grass-like border plants and in mass plantings. Mostly grown for their foliage, they produce flowers in the spring, summer, and fall. Flowers are small and bell-like on long flowering shoots. Liriope muscari has purple or white flowers.
Liriope is native to East Asia and are grown in USDA zones 4 to 10. Tolerant to mild frost, liriope enjoys hot, humid conditions. One should water them moderately, but they are drought hardy once established. They can grow in a wide range of positions, from full sun to shade in well-draining soil.
Sage, or Salvia splendens, is a herbaceous perennial that produces masses of purple, tubular flowers in summer and fall. They put on a dramatic display when they flower, attracting loads of pollinating insects and hummingbirds. They grow well in USDA zones 4 to 8.
A member of the Lamiaceae or mint family, sage is quite different from Agapanthus, but the color of the flowers and the fact that it is easy to grow and maintain gets them a spot on this list. Sage grows into a small shrub, 24 to 36 inches tall, producing many long flower spikes with white, blue, purple, and pink blooms. The blue-grey leaves are lanceolate and furry.
24. Blue Flax-lily
Dianella caerulea is a herbaceous perennial that has tufts of strap-like leaves and produces masses of blueish-purple star-shaped flowers in the spring and summer. Native to Australia, Dianella is a winter-hardy garden plant that that grows well in USDA zones 7 to 11.
Full sun is the best position for Dianella. They enjoy growing in sandy, well-draining soil. Blue flax-lily only needs light watering. Plants grow into grassy tufts, 2 feet tall. They are perfect for mass plantings and create a dynamic groundcover.
25. Purple Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflower, is a herbaceous perennialthat originates from North America. It is a popular garden plant grown in USDA zones 3 to 8. They are grown as ornamental plants for their flowers. The beautiful, purple-pink petals and tall daisy-like inflorescences are striking, peaking out above the other plants in the border.
Echinacea is grown from seed, or cuttings, or divisions. They like to grow in fertile, well-draining soil in a sunny position. Their long, lanceolate leaves are dark green, and they grow in clumps. In summer, they bloom, shooting up to 2-foot tall flowering shoots with a single flower per stem.