Alstromeria, also know as the Peruvian Lily, originally comes from South America. Species alstroemeria are found throughout Chile and in Brazil. Taller alstroemeria cultivars make excellent garden plants for display and cutting. the flowers look exotic but given the right conditions they are very tough and easy to grow. This makes Alstroemeria the perfect cut flower and border plant
Alstroemerias are mainly summer flowering perennial plants. Many species flower from June to November. So you can have a colorful display of these plants in your garden throughout the summer and into early winter. The yellow Alstroemeria ‘Golden Delight’, red Alstroemeria ‘Red Beauty’ and the bright pink Alstroemeria ‘Polka’ are some of the most popular cultivars. Alstroemeria ‘Polka’ is unusual as it has variegated foliage.
The species Alstroemeria aurea, and Alstroemeria ligtu hybrids make particularly good garden plants. They can be grown easily from seed sown in autumn and planted out the following spring.This makes these Alstroemeria the perfect cut flower and border plant for your garden.
How to grow Alstroemeria
Alstromerias now come in many different colours. The species plants and ligtu hybrids can be grown from seed. Other hybrids, cultivars and garden varieties are also available as bulbs and as potted plants.You can find them here.
‘Marguerite’ (see picture) is an example of a new variety. It is available as a potted plant ready for planting out in spring. It is compact and very hardy plant growing up to 35cm tall. The plant has large heads of striking yellow flowers. These are flushed with burgundy in throat and streaked with deep red-brown. It will flower all season from May to October. See it here.
These plants will grow in any well drained but moisture retentive, fertile soil in sun or partial shade. They spread quickly by fleshy roots and make large clumps. Lift and divide large clumps in autumn or early spring.
Slugs and snails as well as caterpillars and aphids may attack the new growth and young foliage of the plants. Use organic and wildlife friendly methods to protect the plants from these pests. The plants also contain a compound that can cause skin irritations and dermatitis. So always handle these plants with care and use gloves if necessary.
In colder areas with heavy winter frosts it’s wise to cover the crowns with a mulch of garden compost mixed with a little grit to provide protection. In very damp soils alstroemerias benefit from plenty of grit mixed in with the planting soil to aid drainage. They do not like standing in soggy ground, particularly in winter.
A light mulch with peat-free garden compost in spring will get them off to a good start at the beginning of the season. But too much nitrogen will produce lots of leaves and few flowers. The addition of a good tomato fertilizer during the growing period will increase Flower production.
Alstroemerias make excellent cut flowers and will last in water for at least two weeks. Pulling the stems rather than cutting them will produce more shoots and flowers the following season. Given the right conditions these plants are fuss-free and easy to grow. They will last for many years. And with a little care they will provide you with lots of exotic-looking flowers throughout the growing season. If you are looking for the perfect cut flower and border plant then alstromerias have it all.