A genus of strong growing, handsome greenhouse plants which do well out of doors during summer, and when slightly protected will live through the winter where there is not more than 10 degrees of frost. In the south of England A. umbellatus does well planted out of doors, with us it requires large pots or tubs and thrives in a well enriched coarse loam. In summer you cannot well overwater them. In winter they can be stored under a bench in a cool house and will then require very little water. But be careful after so keeping them all winter not to expose them to a late spring frost or they will suffer and their beauty be marred for the whole summer. They grow very fast and can be rapidly multiplied by division.
The varieties are all from A. umbellatus, introduced into Europe from South Africa two centuries ago. Its erect stem and showy umbel of bright blue flowers is familiar to all. The best known varieties are albidus, pure white; aureus, leaves striped; varie-gatus, smaller but finely variegated leaves; and maximus, a blue of the largest size, as its name denotes. Propagated by division of the roots.