A South American Stunner!
Common Name: Peruvian Lily, Lily of the Incas, Princess Lilies
Botanical Name: Alstroemeria aurea
Form: upright bushy clumps
Plant Type: rhizomatous herbaceous perennial
Mature Size: 1 to 3 feet x 1 to 2 feet
Origin: South America
Hardiness Zone: 8 to 10
Foliage: narrow, lance-shaped and twisted up to 4 inches long
Flowers: lily shaped wide funnels held in umbels with prominent stamens from June until frost, pinks, reds, salmon, mauves, yellows, purple, white with colourful streaks or spotting depending on the cultivar and variety. Black speckles are common on their 3 petals but their 2 sepals are wider and either have few or no dots.
Fruit: capsules with viable seeds
Stems: slender and long with flower clusters on top
Exposure: best in full sun in the morning to partial shade in the afternoon, avoid full sun in hot climates
Soil: best in organically rich, moist soil and must drain well, dislikes soggy soil
Uses: containers, borders, accent, cutting garden, foundation plantings, butterfly, hummingbird and pollinator gardens
Propagation: divide rhizomes in fall, seeds
Problems: Prone to root rots if kept too wet. Botrytis blight occurs in hot, humid climates.
Comments: Their rhizomes are brittle and easily break so be careful when handling.
You’re probably familiar with these beauties as they are commercially grown for their superb performance as a cut flower. They are found in florists as well as grocery stores throughout the world. Not only do they outlast other flowers in floral arrangements, they come in a plethora of colours, colour combinations with either spots or stripes on their petals.
Alstroemerias flower freely all summer long all the way through autumn until frost. You are lucky if you live in Zones 8 to 10, as they grow freely outdoors. If you live in Zone 7, protect them with a winter mulch. In cooler zones, grow in containers and bring them indoors before the first frost. Induce dormancy by restricting water, but don’t allow them to dry out. Place in a cool, but frost tree location with filtered sunlight.
There are many hybrid strains and cultivars available including dwarf varieties. For cut flowers, pluck each stem from their base, close to the roots. This encourages new stems and more flowers to replace the ones you’ve removed.
Be careful when planting, transplanting and repotting as their fleshy rhizomes, that look more like tubers, are brittle and break easily. Plantings grow in width, not height, as the rhizomes freely multiply underground. Plants benefit with 3 inches of an organic mulch, but keep it away from their stems. Plants rot in soggy soil so make sure drainage is good. In hot climates provide them with dappled shade especially in the afternoon.