Alstroemeria blooms are slow to start.
image by Swami Stream/Flickr.com
Alstroemeria, also known as the Peruvian lily, is a perennial flower native to South America. It requires little care to maintain and produces colorful blooms that are prized for their value as cut flowers. Alstroemeria is available in colors from white, yellow and orange to pink, red and purple. While common in florists shops, the flowers are not often found in gardens, probably because alstroemeria doesn't bloom much in the first year. However, once settled in, the plants will bloom prolifically for years.
Plant alstroemeria tubers in late summer to early fall in an area that receives four to six hours of full sun per day and has rich, well-drained soil. Work several inches of organic compost into the soil before planting. Space the tubers at least 8 inches deep and 12 inches apart to allow room for growth.
Water alstroemeria immediately after planting and each time the soil becomes dry. Alstroemeria needs consistently moist soil, so check daily and water as necessary. In temperate zones, watering twice per week is typical, but watering once per day might be required in arid locations.
Apply a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch to the soil surrounding alstroemeria plants to conserve moisture and provide extra nutrients. Try using any bark mulch, straw, grass clippings or shredded leaves for the best results. Mulching isn't necessary for the growth of alstroemeria, but it will increase the duration of time between waterings.
Fertilize alstroemeria once in early spring and once in early summer using a balanced 6-6-6 NPK garden fertilizer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for bulbs or perennial plants for proper dosage and application. Do not fertilize in the winter, as the nutrients will not be absorbed by the plant.
Cut the old plant stalks back to within a few inches of the ground after alstroemeria plants have flowered. This will allow the plants' energy to go into producing more tuberous roots, which can be divided and planted the following season.