ALSTROEMERIA – Peruvian lily

A charming group of herbaceous perennials that bear masses of small, lily-like flowers from June to August. Their bright petals are beautifully marked and carried on erect, wiry stems making them excellent for cutting.

Suitable site and soil. Prefers a sunny, sheltered location on a well-drained, sandy, fertile soil. These plants look pretty in borders and are favourites for flower arrangements.

Cultivation and care. Plant out young pot-grown specimens in spring. Handle the roots and shoots carefully as they are very easily damaged. Plant dormant tubers 15cm – 6in below the soil surface in August or September and leave undisturbed for several years. Fertilize in spring and water well during dry spells. Dead-heading is recommended.

Propagation. Increase plants by careful division in early spring. Set in pots and grow on indoors before planting out in the autumn. Alternatively, sow seeds in peaty soil in a warm location in spring. Prick out and replant seedlings into pots and grow on for the summer.

Recommended varieties. A. ligtu is the most useful species and hybrids and varieties of it come in shades of pink, yellow and orange, often spotted or streaked with a contrasting colour. A. hookeri has loose heads of orange and pink flowers, the upper petals blotched with red and yellow. A. aurea has orange flowers tipped with green and streaked dark red.

Pests and diseases. Generally trouble-free.


As these plants are not entirely hardy in cold areas, protect them during cold winter months by placing a mulch of straw, to a depth of 15cm – 6in around the base.

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