RHS Plant of the Year 2023: Agapanthus Black Jack

This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of The Year winner is a unique new agapanthus for borders and containers

The 2023 RHS Chelsea Plant of The Year winner stood out from a very varied range of finalists as an outstanding

perennial for sunny summer borders and, in particular, for stylish containers on the patio or deck.
Emerging from slowly expanding clumps of slender foliage, the upright flower stems are topped by spherical flowerheads, each one crowded with purple-black florets that open from black buds.

Portrait of a winner

Patrick Fairweather from Hampshire’s Fairweather Nursery trialled Black Jack for five years, and his nursery is now growing all the plants to supply mail order sales and garden centres.

He told Plant Of The Year judges: “Black Jack’s alluring jet-black

buds open to velvety, black-purple florets. Its umbels are huge, rounded and densely packed with up to a hundred individual florets, which provide an extended flowering season. Black Jack also exhibits some re-blooming characteristics, giving three months of flowers.
Black Jack has a wonderful, statuesque form,” he continued. “It’s sturdy and upright, with strong stems and lush, slightly arching evergreen leaves. Perfect for terraces, balconies and small gardens, it’s a low maintenance plant that demands little water, and will survive a few weeks’ summer holiday with no water. It’s climate-proof, tolerating high summer heat and high winter rainfall.
Black Jack thrives in peat-free composts and is perfect for pots, but needs some protection from hard frosts. It’s a magnet for pollinators, and having grown Black Jack for five years, I can say without doubt that it sets a new benchmark for dark-flowered agapanthus.... Irresistible.”

Growing Black Jack

Black Jack makes a fine container specimen, with narrow green foliage arching over the sides of the pot. Its bold flower heads are set off particularly well against a pale background.
Since winter cold can be a problem in some areas, plants are best grown in pots so that they can be protected from temperatures below -10C or moved into a sheltered corner for the winter months. In milder regions, Black Jack can be grown in borders.
Plants grow strongly and flower well, but after a few years, flowering may tail off. At this point, lifting, splitting and re-planting will rejuvenate the plants.


Where can I buy Agapanthus Black Jack?

You can buy Agapanthus Black Jack (‘Dwaghyb02’) from RHS Plants, Fairweather’s Plant ShopThompson & Morgan and other mail order suppliers, as well as some garden centres.

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