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Alstroemeria-Peruvian Lily, Rock ‘n’ Roll plants

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Alstroemeria, commonly called Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas or Princess Lily or Parrot Lily, or “Rock ‘n’ Roll” plant is a native South American genus of about 50 species of flowering plants, in the botanical family.

Amaryllidaceae, ( bulb plants), growing mainly in the cool, dry subtropic mountainous regions of the Andes ranging from Peru to Central Chile and Western Argentina.

There are many hybrids and about 200 cultivars.

The species include Alstroemeria aureu and Alstroemeria pelegrina, Purple-Spot Parrot lily (Alstroemeria haemantha) and St.Martin’s Flower (Alstroemeria ligtu). Most modern hybrid plants are propagated in the laboratory.

After extensive breeding, there are tall, medium and dwarf varieties, a striking range of colors and a long flowering season.

Many hybrids and about 200 cultivars of Alstroemeria have been developed, with different markings and colors, ranging from white, golden yellow, orange; to apricot, pink, red, purple and lavender.

Some cultivars also have variegated foliage like Alstroemeria “Rock and Roll” foliage a distinctive yellow fading to white with a green edge, while the flowers are brilliant red.

There are dwarf cultivars as the more recent Princess series which are compact, long flowering and good for container gardening.

Alstroemerias are very popular and are grown in large numbers for commercial florist industry.

They are often given on Valentine’s Day, Mothers Day, included in wedding bouquets and floral arrangements because they have long-lasting attractive flowers which represent friendship and devotion.

This very versatile plants bring beautiful dramatic colors to all styles of garden. It will grow in different situations, and is forever popular as ornamentals.

Description

Alstroemeria is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing a cluster of upright stems from an underground, tuberous root stock.

The roots spread forming in time quite a large clump of growth. Alstroemeria plants may grow as tall as 50inches (125cm) by 1m(3ft 3in).

Cultivation Details

Alstoemeria is a plant of the drier subtropics, to higher elevations in the tropics.

It is found at elevations around 3,ooo metres at 10 south in Chile.

It cannot tolerate freezing conditions and prefers growing not too far from the coast where temperatures do not get too high.

It grows in areas of low rainfall ranging from 100-800mm, with dry season that can last more than six months.

Plants can grow in areas where there is no distinct dry season either.

Habitat

Sand dunes along the coast. Coastal: grasslands, rocky slopes and shrub lands from 200level to elevation of 3,500 meters.

The plant is occasionally harvested from the wild for local use as food.

The edible part being the root/tuber, which is cooked to supply palatable nutritious starch given to children and invalids.

It is popular as an ornamental. The flowers are used in bouquet and flower arrangements.

The lily-like flowers have a sweet fragrance of mignonette.

They are one of the longest lasting flowers for the home and are commonly grown for this purpose.

In the garden, the tall and medium can be grown in the borders, and for massing.

The dwarf types can grace the front of the border or be potted to provide color on the patio.

Also it is used for contrasting mixed with other plants and for accenting small garden beds.

Alstroemerias are good for container and indoor gardening.

The modern hybrids and cultivars were created to produce brilliant colors to bloom richly with contrasting shades and markings,, veining or mottling in dark red, purple and endearing its “whiskers”.

Alstroemeria flower is symbolic of wealth, prosperity and fortune.

It is also the flower for friendship and devotion, and the twists in the flower petals symbolize the trials and tribulations of friendships.

Alstroemeria is valued for its attractive flowers and long-lasting vase-life of 2 to 3 weeks and their continuous flower harvest.

Planting
Soil and Site

Alstroemerias require, moisture retentive, well-drained soil and a warm situation in sun or semi-shade.

Prefers a dry sheltered border and a peaty loam.

Established plants are drought tolerant according to one report, whilst another says soil should not be allowed to dry out in the growing season.

Plants succeed in maritime gardens. It is not hardy in cold regions.

All Alstroemerias like good living, so give them plenty of organic matter at their roots.

Soil: Suitable for light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. pH: Acid neutral, and basic (alkaline) soils.
Light: You can grow in semi-shade or no shade.

However, Alstroemeria grows best in locations with full morning sun and some shade in the afternoons.

If you’re growing Alstroemeria indoors, pick a sunny window ledge or a spot with lightly filtered sunshine.

Propagation

You grow Alstroemerias from seed or division of rhizomes.

Containers

It’s well worth growing Alstroemerias in containers too. Fill your containers with good quality well-drained soil.

Almost any commercially available potting medium will work fine.

Alternatively, you could use a mix of 1:1 perlite and vermiculite or 1:1 organic and inorganic material if you plan to grow Alstroemerias in a container.

Pot them up into generous 5litre pots. Make sure there are adequate drainage holes: Alstroemeria plants must not sit in water logged soil or they will rot.

Aftercare

Water Alstroemeria when dry. Once your Alstroemeria is established, it won’t need much water.

Lightly water when the top 1 inch(2.5cm) of soil is dry. Too much water will lead to root rot.

Mulch Alstroemeria to protect it. Place protective mulch around your Alstroemeria can protect it from extreme temperatures.

You can mulch with staw. Pick, rather than cut, the flowers.

Whether you want to bring some inside to put in a vase, or you need to remove spent blooms, you’ll need to pick out each stem.

Pull one or more entire stalks out of the soil or potting medium.

Don’t cut the flowers, as the underground meristems will respond to the damage and die.

Each flower has its own stalk, so won’t harm the entire plant by pulling a few stalks. In order to encourage growth regularly deadhead spent blooms.

Cut Flower: Arrange with a drop of bleach in their flower water, and with new water every 4-5 days, they’ll last 3weeks in a vase.


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