summer stock: Agapanthus ‘Indigo Frost’

I have even less impulse control when plant shopping now because…summer. Of the four seasons, summer seems to be the one that we’re constantly admonished to savor to its fullest or risk being filled with inconsolable regret.  And you won’t get any argument from me.  It can be hot, dry, and miserable, but since about 5 years of age the season has become baked into us as inseparable from adventures, vacations, vagabonding, daydreaming, and overall freedom from boring routines.  Liberación!  You can’t fight that kind of hardwiring.   

 photo P1019783.jpg

So when I sensed a need for a few more Sesleria ‘Campo Azul,’ because a few more of this grass are always needed, off I went to the local nursery, where I ran smack into Agapanthus ‘Indigo Frost’ and its seven swaying bloom stalks.   It was definitely playing the summer card.  Shamelessly playing it.

 photo P1019788.jpg

I see agapanthus all over town in summer and have never particularly desired to possess it for my garden.   I’ve tried some dark, dark blues and some golden-leaved variegates as occasional novelties. But this ‘Indigo Frost’ number seemed to be a purpose-built messenger for summer:  Psst, you know this summer will never come again, right?   Sure, I’m a little OTT, but it’s summer!  Subtlety is for losers!  So what are you waiting for!?

 photo P1019811.jpg

There’s the Sesleria ‘Campo Azul’ in the foreground. A Salvia ‘Love and Wishes’ filled that pot winter and spring and needed a cutback for rebloom. But gardening is a fluid thing. A light cutback inexplicably turns into yanking the entire plant out of the pot and instantly deciding to move on to something else. Hmmm, what could it be? Oh, yes, the bromeliad just brought home from Ray’s plant sale. I’ll drop that in the pot, shove the pot a few feet this way, plant the base of it up with more sesleria, make a quick dash to the nursery to purchase said sesleria — oh, and a bicolor agapanthus too. As I say, it’s a fluid process.

 photo P1019820.jpg

And as far as losing Salvia ‘Love and Wishes,’ a great salvia btw, I’ve got a much stronger bond with the willowy, smaller-flowered Salvia chiapensis. Comparing the leaves of the two, I’ll always prefer chiapensis.

 photo P1019784.jpg

I’ve been regularly deep watering the eastern boundary cypresses, the indispensable privacy workhorses of the garden, but apparently not so much the rest of the garden other than containers. This area under the tetrapanax’s canopy was spitless dry, not easy conditions to dig a hole for a 3-gallon agapanthus. (The dry conditions and increasing shade were no doubt to blame for the poor show this year of the big clump of kangaroo paws, Anigozanthos ‘Tequila Sunrise’ nearby, which was also dug up.) After planting I must have stood watering the area in for a solid half hour. Slow hand watering — another of summer’s pleasures.

Agapanthus ‘Indigo Frost’ came bearing the Sunset Western Garden tag:

Feature: Multiple spikes of large, bicolor, white and blue flowers

USDA Zones: Hardy to 10°F – 20°F USDA Zones 8-10

Sunset Zones: 4-9, 12-21 (I’m technically in zone 24)

Special Features: Attracts Pollinators, Clumping Habit, Cut Flowers, Disease / Pest Resistance, Heat Tolerance, Upright Habit

Landscape Use: Border, Container, Cut Flowers/Foliage, Firescaping/Fire Wise

Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Flowering season: Summer (reputed to rebloom through summer)

Dimensions: 1-3′ H x 1-2′ W

Growth Rate: Moderate

Plant Type: Evergreen

Water Needs: Medium Water Once Established

Soil: Well-drained garden soil

Fertilizer: Yearly in spring and summer

Pruning: Remove old flower stalks after bloom. Divide every 2-3 years

This entry was posted in Plant Portraits, pots and containers. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to summer stock: Agapanthus ‘Indigo Frost’

  1. Alison says:

    That Agapanthus is indeed beautiful, I might have been tempted and I don’t have good luck with them. Your photos really highlight its qualities, making it look like a real jewel. I have no problem fighting summer’s hard wiring, though. It holds no allure for me, it’s been a long time since school.

  2. Denise says:

    Alison, right around August I’ll be sick to death of summer — and I remember even as a kid, by September I was ready for school again! But in June anything still feels possible.

  3. ks says:

    Not only an Agapanthus but a 3 gallon Agapanthus ! My impulse buys are usually more in the 4inch range. But sometimes you really need to have it . I just can’t overcome Agapanthus aversion. I salute your objectivity, and I’ll admit this one would be tempting if I ran across it somewhere.

  4. Kris P says:

    Somehow growing up in one of SoCal’s inland valleys left me with a less hospitable outlook on summer but my plant addiction usually overcomes that voice that tells me “you shouldn’t plant anything after April” (“or at least not after the end of May”). Circumstances have kept me (mostly) out of garden centers for the past month but I’m feeling the itch again, and then the noise and general uproar associated with our blankety-blank remodel, will almost certainly drive me out of the house soon. I still want to find that Tulbaghia you showed off in one of your recent posts. I like your ‘Indigo Frost’ but I’m not buying a 3-gallon Agapanthus when I have more plants in that genus than anyone needs.

  5. I so appreciate you not disparaging summer, even though I know it’s different in California…

    Oh and “…but it’s summer! Subtlety is for losers!“ is now my official motto for the next 3 months (September is still summer for my way of thinking)…

  6. Nell says:

    That’s one ‘zazzy Agapanthus! Can see how you found it impossible to resist. Hope the slow hand watering retains its charm through July at least…

  7. hb says:

    Gorgeous Agapanthus!

    Used to be a summer fan…but it’s gotten a lot hotter the past 20 years…too hot for me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *