Do Agapanthus Like Full Sun? What About Shade?

Some plants tend to wilt or droop when given full sun. But, one plant that enjoys full sun is the Agapanthus plant. You’ll find that agapanthus plants or the Lily of the Nile will flourish with more sunlight. 

Agapanthus like full sun and should be given no less than 6 to 8 hours of direct sun a day. Anything less than this could risk your chances of seeing a full bloom of violet or white flowers. 

Do Agapanthus Need Sun to Grow?

Yes, of course, agapanthus needs full sun to grow let alone to grow to the best of their ability. In very hot climates, morning sun is best and you can pair this with afternoon shade to avoid sunburn. 

Agapanthus needs sun to carry out photosynthesis like all green plants. But when it comes to agapanthus, the sun helps them to grow their strong and dense foliage.

It is not an understatement to say that agapanthus requires more sun than shade and cannot grow when given more shade than sun. 

If you ever see agapanthus growing in a bunch lining a sidewalk, you will notice they are the tallest plants in the vicinity. This is what they prefer and there should be no obstacles blocking the sun. 

Got other problems to worry about? Find out the answers to why do Agapanthus leaves curl? 

How Much Sun Do Agapanthus Need?   

Agapanthus plants are naturally sun-loving! They need long hours of sunlight for growth as well as for producing excellent blooms. A lack of sunlight will definitely alter flowering habits and compromise the flower output. 

For optimal growth and flowering, Agapanthus needs sunlight for approximately ⅔ of the day. This equates to anywhere between 6 and 8 hours of intense sunlight. A minimum of 3 hours of direct sunlight is mandatory for survival!

However, in mild climates and colder seasons, the minimum and a desirable number of hours of sunlight a day will increase. This is because the sun is weaker in these conditions and hence the plants will need more time for it.  

In addition to enough sunlight, Agapanthus will thrive in mostly dry conditions with frequent watering and fertilizer. 

Agapanthus Native Land 

Originating from South Africa, Agapanthus is a common indigenous species that can be seen in every garden. They are the epitome of a garden plant.

They have green strap-like leaves that are long and occupy space well. Their blue, violet or white flowers look great against the green background. 

Apart from growing in South Africa, agapanthus also grows in other countries in the African continent. Other places where you can spot Agapanthus or its hybrids are Mexico, and even Jamaica. 

If you look particularly at the reason why Agapanthus grows where it does, you’ll notice one thing in common. All these areas are known for being hot and extremely sunny! 

Sunny spots in the USA like North California are appropriate for agapanthus growth. USDA zones 9 to 11 are suitable locations to grow agapanthus plants. 

Any state or district under the USDA zones 9-11 can grow agapanthus plants relatively well as long as protection from winter frost is offered. 

Can Agapanthus Grow In Shade? 

Agapanthus plants prefer more sun than shade. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need any shade at all. 

In very hot climates, agapanthus plants should be provided with morning sunlight and afternoon shade.

Intense sunlight and low humidity may result in sunburn. A condition that could compromise the plant as well as produce no flowers.

Agapanthus plants cannot grow in full shade or shade-favoring conditions. They would not be able to synthesize enough energy for growth and flowering would be the first to be affected. 

If your agapanthus is getting too much shade, it may not even be your fault! Maybe you have planted it somewhere where you think it is getting enough sun but that’s only for a short time. 

NOTE- Prior to planting agapanthus, watch the area to make sure that there is sunlight for most of the day. If not, you have to transfer your agapanthus to a sunnier spot. 

Are your Dahlia Leaves Turning Brown? (Causes and Solutions)

Is Your Agapanthus Getting Too Much Shade?

How do you know your agapanthus are getting too much shade or not enough sunlight? Simple, just look for the following signs of lack of sun/excessive shade: 

Another point to note is that the flower heads develop deep in the plant towards the end of summer. 

But, if the plants are grown in shade or moved during this time, they may not develop any flower heads at all. You will have to forfeit the year and wait till next year for flowers. That’s assuming you put the agapanthus back in the sun! 

So if soil, watering, and fertilizing are all okay, it must be the sunlight! Observe your agapanthus plant to see exactly how many hours of sunlight it is getting. This will help to determine why and how to make agapanthus flowers.

Best Place to Plant Agapanthus 

Seeing as agapanthus plants love sunlight, they should be placed where they can get the most sunlight. Of the highest quality- direct sunlight. 

An open place that doesn’t have anything obstructing the sun’s rays is ideal for planting agapanthus plants. Ensure that the plants are getting the right amount of sun. 

Read our full guide on where to plant your Agapanthus.

Sunlight -The Core Building Block for Agapanthus 

Planting agapanthus in full sun is crucial! It influences many other factors that are also important to grow healthy agapanthus that flower well. 

Soil- Agapanthus needs well-draining soil to grow. But, sunlight plays an important role in making this soil have excellent draining properties. With the help of the sun, excess water will evaporate through direct heat and the heating up of the soil. 

Air- Consistently stagnant and humid air will ruin your agapanthus plants. This wet environment will bring about conditions that favor fungal growth. But, with the sun’s rays, moisture lingering in the air will be evaporated to prevent any fungal infestations. 

Photosynthesis- Agapanthus have long leaves which present a large surface area. This allows the plant to carry out maximum photosynthesis to power its growth and flowering. But, this will only happen if you provide full and direct sunlight to your agapanthus plants.  

Pests- Full sun is usually not forgiving to some delicate pests such as snails and slugs. These pests can be totally destroyed by the heat of the sun alone. If given more shade than the sun, these pests could take to eating your agapanthus during the day. 

Have pests? Take a look at what’s eating your agapanthus.

How to Give Potted Agapanthus Sun in Winter

If you have potted agapanthus plants, they will have to be brought indoors for winter. Often agapanthus is not hardy and does not handle frost well. Bringing it inside during winter will be its best chance of survival. 

But how will indoor agapanthus get enough light? 

If you are lucky enough to be experiencing good amounts of the sun even during winter, you can place your potted agapanthus on a windowsill. Alternatively, you can place it near a glass door that will reveal the most sunlight to the plants.

What if you aren’t getting sunlight during winter? This is a common second question when thinking about how to give agapanthus enough sun during winter. 

In this case, you will have to get an artificial grow light. Don’t fret if you don’t have one. LED grow lights are easily available on Amazon and other online retailers. It won’t be that expensive to buy and you can use it on your other indoor plants. 


After reading through this blog it is quite clear that agapanthus plants like full sun. Without the major part of the day is the sun, these plants will not thrive to the fullest! You certainly won’t experience their best flowering without full and direct sun.  

Agapanthus plants need 6 to 8 hours of intense direct sun. While a minimal 3 or 4 hours of the same is essential for survival.   

These plants are not shade lovers and should never be planted in full shade or in locations which are mostly shady. Even during winter, make sure to provide enough sunlight or artificial light to your agapanthus plants. 

Shocked to hear agapanthus can be a weed? Find out why agapanthus is a weed.


Do Agapanthus plants prefer sun or shade?

Agapanthus grows best when positioned in full-sun or partial-sun. These are not shade-loving plants and cannot grow in full shade. Although, in extreme heat, agapanthus plants should be provided with shade during the hottest time of the day. 

When do Agapanthus shoot and flower? 

During spring agapanthus shoot and during summer they will bloom. But if you are planting seeds or young shoots, it could be years before you get to see flowers! Planting should occur in the fall to ensure roots become established before spring arrives. We advise planting them in pots indoors to avoid death due to winter frost. 

Can Agapanthus experience sunburn?

Yes, agapanthus plants can be at risk of sunburn when temperatures are scorching and sun intensity is high and direct for prolonged periods. Also, poor watering efforts may contribute to influencing sunburn.