Wingecarribee Shire Council is once again calling on residents growing agapanthus plants to take to their gardens and remove the seed heads before they open and release their potentially invasive seeds.
A native plant of southern Africa, agapanthus have rapidly become one of the Highlands’ most common garden plants, enjoyed by many residents for their pretty purple flowers and year-round green leaves.
However, at this time of year when the flowers die back, the plant has the potential to spread beyond the neighbourhood garden and threaten the Shire’s diverse bushland, wetlands and other natural areas.
Council’s Waste Education Officer Elizabeth Guest explained why now was the perfect time for gardeners to prune the popular plant.
“The seeds of the agapathus plant are very robust,” Ms Guest said. “When we receive green waste at the Resource Recovery Centre it’s sorted, shredded, pasteurised, monitored and checked over many months before being reused in parks and gardens.”
“Despite all these processes, there is still a slim chance that some agapanthus seeds may survive.
“It’s for this reason we recommend residents do not place agapanthus seeds in their garden organics bin,” Ms Guest said.
Instead Council recommends residents bag the spent seed heads and dispose of them in their red-lidded domestic waste bin.
“If gardeners are trimming or removing an entire agapanthus plant, the leaves and stems can still be placed in the green organics bin,” Ms Guest added. “However it’s really important that if gardeners wish to get rid of the seed pods they don’t place them in their green bin.”
Ms Guest also dispelled the myth that the plant requires no maintenance.
“This perception couldn’t be further from the truth,” she said. “It’s really important that owners get out into the garden and cut the seed heads off before they open and the seeds get blown around in our autumn winds.”
Agapanthus is listed by Wingecarribee Shire Council as an environmental weed that has the potential to spread readily into bushland and along creeks, together with the likes of English Ivy, Privet and Willow trees.
Council has produced a full-colour environmental weeds brochure which is available online at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/environment or through garden clubs and Bushcare groups throughout the Highlands.