Alstroemeria Is Awesome

There are many reasons to love this long-lasting flower.
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Alstroemeria Ligtu Hybrids Sprays of Perennials

Alstroemeria Ligtu Hybrids Sprays of Perennials

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

A showy perennial, Alstroemerias are spectacular with their large brightly streaked flowers that range in shades of pink, yellow, orange, and salmon. Having a long flowering period, these delicate flowers are superb planted in groups.

If you’ve ever bought a bouquet of Alstroemeria, you’ve probably been amazed by how long these cut flowers last. While roses and other popular florist offerings wither after just several days, Alstroemeria have been known to thrive in a vase of water for three weeks!

That’s just part of the appeal of this plant, also known as Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas.

Alstroemeria flowers, which resemble clusters of miniature lilies, bloom in late spring and early summer in an array of colors – orange, pink, purple, rose, red, yellow and white – many of them with striped petals. Many hybrids and about 200 cultivars have been developed over the years, making them a florist’s staple for bouquets, widely available even in supermarkets. Of course, from a marketing perspective, it doesn’t hurt that Alstroemeria, which offer no fragrance, symbolize friendship and devotion!

It took years for growers to develop plants suitable for the home garden, but these days Alstroemeria are widely available and, depending on the species, grow from several inches to several feet tall. Some of the most popular varieties sport names like ‘Apollo’, ‘Coronet’, ‘Friendship’, ‘Orange Gem’, ‘Orange Glory’ and ‘Yellow Friendship’.

The plants, which grow from rhizomes, require at least six hours of (preferably morning) sunlight and moist but well-drained soil, so mulch plants well. In warm climates where Alstroemeria are winter hardy (zones 8-10), plants can be left in the ground year round; otherwise, their dahlia-like root systems can’t tolerate cold soil.

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