A group of showy and brightly coloured summer flowering perennials, with fleshy roots. Native to South America.
Botanical Name: Alstroemeria
Common Names: Peruvian Lily, Herb lily, Lily of the Incas
Foliage: Green, deciduous, narrow lance-shaped leaves, running from the bottom to the top of the flower stems.
Flowers: Showy, lilly-shaped flowers, appear in clusters at the top of the stems. Colours range from white, yellow, orange, red, mauve and pink. Petals can be a single shade or two toned, often with darker flecks spreading out from the throat.
Flowering Period: June, July, August, September (depending on variety).
Soil: Moist but well-drained. Chalk, clay, sand or loam. Any pH.
Conditions: Full sun, any aspect, exposed or sheltered. Some varieties will tolerate coastal exposure and light shade.
Habit: Bushy, spreading.
Type: Fleshy rooted, herbaceous perennial.
Hardiness: Not fully hardy. Will need winter protection in colder regions.
Plant in a sunny or lightly shaded border in a deep, light soil. Try not to disturb the root-ball when planting, as the roots are brittle and easily broken off.
Not truly hardy, so in colder areas it is best planted 8 inches (20 cm) deep, in a warm sheltered spot. Cover the crown with a thick layer of straw in very cold winters.
Good for both cottage gardens, formal and general borders. The long lasting blooms are ideal as cut flowers.
Sprinkle a little slow release fertiliser (such as bonemeal) around the roots in spring as shoots emerge. Protect young shoots from slugs and snails. Support emerging shoots of taller varieties with twiggy stakes, in early spring, allowing the stems to grow through and hide the supports.
Cut down stems and foliage as it dies back naturally in the autumn.
Highly susceptible to slugs (protect young shoots in spring).
Propagate by the division of established clumps when the tubers are dormant - in late autumn or early spring. Take care when dividing as the roots are brittle and easily damaged.
Sow seed in spring. Use a good seed compost and germinate undercover in a propagator or warm place. Some varieties require the seed to be temporarily placed in a cooler temperature as part of the propagation process; see packet instructions for details.
Several core species exist from which many colourful hybrids have been raised. These cover a wide range of colours from pink, purple, red, white to yellow, with dark markings.
Alstroemeria aurantiaca (syn. A.
Orange/yellow to bright orange/red flowers, streaked with dark red. Height & spread 2 to 3 ft (60cm - 1m).
Low growing variety with pink/apricot flowers with yellow and brown markings. Height 4 - 6in (10 - 15cm), spread 18 - 24in (45 - 60 cm).
Alstroemeria pelegrina (syn A. gayana)
Magenta pinkish mauve petals, white and yellow at the throat, with dark flecks. Height 1 - 2ft (30 - 60cm), spread 2 - 3ft (60cm - 1m).
Pale pink, lilac, red or white flowers. Height 2 - 3ft.
Alstroemeria ligtu hybrids
Shorter growing (1.5 - 2 ft) and offer a wider range of colours, in various shades of pink, yellow, orange and scarlet. A little trickier to grow so best planted young and left undisturbed.