A pretty flower to grow -lily-like trumpets about 2 in. across borne in loose clusters on top of leafy stems. It is, however, quite a challenge because it is so temperamental – Alstroemeria sometimes does not grow at all in the first year after planting and it may take three years before it is fully established. To ensure success, buy the specimen in a pot or container and plant carefully in deep, sandy soil which has been enriched with compost. Cut blooms are long-lasting in water.

VARIETIES: A. aurantiaca bears yellow or orange flowers in which the two upper petals are attractively streaked in red. Height 3 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft. (lowering period June-August. There are several named varieties, such as ‘Lutea’ (yellow), ‘Orange King’ (orange) and ‘Dover Orange’ (orange-red). A. ‘Ligtu Hybrids’ are shorter growing (2 ft) and offer a wider range of colours – white, pink and red as well as yellow and orange.

SITE AND SOIL: Thrives in fertile sandy soil – requires a sunny sheltered spot.

PROPAGATION: Sow seeds under glass in spring. Only divide up clumps when they have outgrown their allotted space.

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