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Agapanthus 'Black Jack' shows hidden benefits for us gardeners

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Recent trials in Holland have proved this new cultivar has advantages over many older cultivars. It has been subject to trials to simulate being delivered in the dark! However, it was one of six in a series bred by Wet in South Africa and introduced to the UK by Allensmore and Fairwether from Holland. It is more correctly called Agapanthus Black Jack ('Dwaghyb02') (PBR) This is more commonly known as the African lily and I had been critical of the genus in the past as not being totally hardy in my heavy soil in the Midlands. 

However, it has been trialled in the south for several years before being licensed by Plantipp for UK distribution. It won at Chelsea, and the winner in the Herbaceous Perennial Best in Category at National Plant Show in 2023.

The Royal FloraHolland assessment process began on May 12, 2023, when Plantipp delivered six varieties of Agapanthus bred by De Wet Plant Breeders to the test centre at Royal FloraHolland. These plants underwent testing, including dark transport simulation and exposure to outdoor sales conditions. The final phase involved re-potting them into a 15-litre pot and monitoring their progress until September 20, 2023.

Throughout this evaluation, various aspects of the plants were meticulously analysed. These included assessing the number of good umbels, determining shelf life, evaluating the ornamental value of the leaves, and measuring the flowering period. All six varieties showcased an average flowering time of over 112 days. This is a huge increase over the average flowering of 35 days.

Royal FloraHolland also evaluated other factors related to Agapanthus by De Wet Plant Breeders. The number of good umbels was recorded to measure overall health and quality. Shelf life was also observed, and special attention was given to the patio pot performance and the ornamental value of the leaves. Factors such as colour, texture, and overall appearance were considered during the assessment.

This exciting new cultivar (the first of several) is available from many online sources Such as Crocus, Hayloft Plants, Thompson and Morgan as well as through garden centres.

Image is designed and maintained by Darren Hodson © 2022, The Drurys