A South African flower has won Plant of the Year at Chelsea Flower Show in the UK. ‘Black Jack’ is a striking deep purple-black Agapanthus that took 18 years to bring to life. It produces 10 times as many florets per flowerhead, providing a longer flowering period.
Agapanthus Black Jack, bred by De Wet Plant Breeders in Hartebeespoort, has come a long way since Andy de Wet and Quinton Bean began producing new Agapanthus in 1995.
The dark-flowered plant with green stems beat 15 others shortlisted in the prestigious competition.
According to the RHS organisation, Patrick Fairweather of Fairweather’s Nursery in the UK had trialled the plant and said it was drought-tolerant and perfect for decorating balconies and small gardens:
“Black Jack sets a new benchmark for dark-flowered agapanthus. The umbels are huge, rounded and densely packed, with up to 100 florets for an extended blooming season. Requiring some frost protection, it’s perfect for terraces, balconies and small gardens, and is low maintenance and drought-tolerant.”
De Wet Plant Breeders said the plant was “disease resistant, stable, with no hidden flaws.”
Bean said he and De Wet were “over the moon” about the win.
“It’s amazing. It’s the culmination of many years of work with international recognition.”
Bean added that they had both always loved agapanthus and felt that there was “so much scope for improvement” in the plant.
“Historically, it’s been foreigners improving South African flowers. It’s about time South Africans make a South African plant famous,” he said.
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