Dive into the Exotic
You may have already met the beautiful alstroemeria from our article about flowers that start with A. You may also know this plant as the Peruvian lily, or more affectionately, the Lily of the Incas. In any case, growing alstroemeria is a noble pursuit as these unique and colorful perennials are a joy to have in your garden or your home! Once summer arrives, your alstroemeria will greet you with its wonderful speckled blooms the run the gamut of bright colors.
The Lily of the Incas isaherbaceous perennialwith zygomorphic flowers. These bilaterally symmetrical bloomsgenerally have three sepals and three speckled petals. Interestingly, the leaves of alstroemerias twist in growth and end up upside down. Additionally, these plants have tuberous roots and usually grow 2- 3 feet in height. Finally, the alstroemeria is most popular for being an excellent cut flower, both for its showy blooms and its very long lifespan.
In the Know
Despite the many misconceptions about this exotic plant, the alstroemeria continues to rise in popularity! And for a good reason. Once you give this plant a chance, it will surely surprise you.
Hence, I’ve listed 14 important points about what will you need to know and do to grow and nurture alstroemeria.
1. You must take care when you handle the alstroemeria as its entire body is poisonous. Improper handling of alstroemerias can cause severe skin irritation. Hence, always wear gloves and the proper protective equipment when handling this plant.
Establishing Alstroemerias via Seeds
2. If you are growing alstroemerias from seeds or rhizomes, consider establishing them early into summer, between the months of May to August. Then, plant to a depth of about 7 inches and approximately 23 inches apart.
3. Plant and keep new alstroemeria plants in sunny but sheltered spots with rich soil that drains well. Well-drained soil is paramount as the alstroemerias tuberous roots are prone to rot when waterlogged.
4. Water consistently and keep the soil moist until seeds or rhizomes break through the ground’s surface.
5. Although alstroemerias are drought tolerant, frequent watering, especially during dry periods, yield the most blooms. However, take care that you do not water the soil until it’s soggy.
6. Allow some time for growth as the roots of the Alstroemeria can be quite sensitive to disturbance.
7. Transplant seedlings once they are about 2inches tall. Cultivate the ground, mix in good compost, fully water the soil, then place plantlings a foot apart from each other. Repeat this process after every 3-4 months.
8. Support taller varieties of alstroemeria with stakes to protect them from high winds.
9. Utilize a light, time-release fertilizerto feed your alstroemeria. Apply the fertilizer according to package recommendations then water to distribute the fertilizer down the plant’s root system.
10. Add 3 inches of mulch around, and not over, the alstroemeria. Bark, straw, or compost are good choices for the mulch you need. This layer not only enriches the soil, but it also protects your young alstroemerias from the harsh winters as well as extends their flowering stage.
11. Pick instead of cutting. Whether you’re readying to display the alstroemerias glories blooms or deadheading spent flowers, pull the flowers with the whole stem instead of cutting. Plucking ensures that your flowers don’t go to seed. Additionally, pulling the stems will encourage new growth and more blooms in the future!
12. However, you may need to use bypass pruners to pick off immature alstroemerias.
13. Alstroemerias attract gastropods, especially during spring. Hence, routinely inspect your plant during this season for any damage while removing any pests accordingly.
Propagation via Dividing
14. Propagate alstroemerias like you would other perennials. A particularly useful propagation technique is dividing. April would be the best month when propagating alstroemerias.
Divide alstroemerias by lifting the plant and gentling pulling apart its fibrousroots. Afterward replant divisions immediately in your chosen spots or potting mediums, then water well. Remember to keep these fragile divisions in places with full morning sun.
Ready for more color
You’re now ready to grow and take care of the lovely Alstroemeria! When cut, the alstroemeria blooms will bring an exotic flavorful to your home and will last for around 14 days! Just keep their soil moist, feed them dappled sunshine, and they’ll reward you season after season!
Would you have more tips on growing alstroemerias? What are your favorite varieties and colors? Let us know!
- 20 favorite perennial flowers
Kathleen N. Brenzel. 2017. Sunset.com
Mar. 1, 2017. Theflowerexpert.com
- Alstroemeria Flowers