A pain in the Agapanthus

July's pest plant of the month

A dense stand of wild ginger in flower
Agapanthus spreading and surrounding a native tree

Difficult to get rid of, spreads easily, and stops our precious native plants from establishing is why Agapanthus is a real pain. So why is it so bad? Is it a problem if people still grow it? Unfortunately, the plants prevent native bush regeneration, which in turn hurts our native birds and other wildlife. Get rid of Agapanthus if you want to support our native birds.

Do you have kids or pets running around your backyard Agapanthus? The sticky sap can be an irritant for skin or eyes and parts of it are toxic if eaten! So help your native plants and birds, protect yourself, and get rid of that Agapanthus as soon as possible. The good thing is, New Zealand has some beautiful native plants which can be planted in place of Agapanthus, and these will be long-lived and help native wildlife at the same time. Read on to find out more.

What does it look like?

  • Umbrella-like clusters of large, tubular white/blue/purple flowers - typically flowers December-February

  • Thin, papery black seeds

  • Long, dark green leathery leaves curve away and down from centre of the plant

  • Form dense masses or clusters of foliage and roots (rhizomes)

  • Long, thick, white rhizomes (roots) forming dense mats

Agapanthus growing on a roadside verge
Agapanthus growing on a roadside verge preventing native plants establishing

Why is it weedy?

  • Dense clusters prevent any other species growing

  • Loss of biodiversity where it grows, outcompetes native species and other garden plants