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How to create pretty containers from agapanthus

PUBLISHED: 10:33 06 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:33 06 June 2017

African lily, agapanthus africanus, flower of the agapanthaceae family originating in South Africa (photo: RPFerreira/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

African lily, agapanthus africanus, flower of the agapanthaceae family originating in South Africa (photo: RPFerreira/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

RPFerreira

Judy recommends agapanthus for a collection of stunning containers

Dahlias can be planted out from the end of May (photo: lenta/Getty Images/iStockphoto)Dahlias can be planted out from the end of May (photo: lenta/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

I often advise people against having too many plants in pots over the summer months. Unless containers are connected to a regular supply of water, they all too often dry out, despite our best intentions to water regularly! And most plants would rather have their roots firmly in the garden border.

However, there are some plants that make an excellent choice for containers through the summer months. Agapanthus, or African Lily (pictured), does very well in a container, it can cope quite comfortably with long periods of drought and the root restrictions of growing in a pot encourage the plant to develop lots of lovely flowerheads. They look spectacular planted ‘en masse’, offer a great nectar supply for pollinators and even after flowering, strappy green foliage continues to look good all summer.

They come in a fantastic range of cool colours, with a choice of white, and shades of blue and purple. If cool, contemporary and sophisticated is your thing then Agapanthus fits the bill, but there are also dwarf cultivars like agapanthus Peter Pan that can fit into a lower border spot. Drainage is key with these plants, give them gritty drainage and soil which is not too rich. Flowering in pots and the border can be boosted with a regular liquid tomato feed through the growing season.

Five things to do in the garden this month

1) Create regal borders

Stunning and stately agapanthus Queen Mum will bring beauty and height to borders and containers.

2) Plant squash & pumpkin

Spaghetti squash is delicious and seeds of this and other squashes and pumpkins can be sown ready for an autumn harvest.

3) Prune early flowering clematis

Vigorous clematis armandii that has finished flowering can be pruned back now to retain shape, but remember that delicate clematis alpina should not be hard pruned at all.

4) Water veg during dry spells

Spring can be increasingly dry in the south east, so remember to water developing crops including onions and potatoes.

5) Buy dahlias

Dahlia can be planted out at the end of May. There is an array of colours and shapes to choose from at local suppliers and they will flower all summer with some slug protection.

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