About Alstroemeria

Overview

The Alstroemeria flower has a lily appearance and is available in many color choices. There are approximately 50 species of the genus Alstroemeria, with most hybrid plants being created in a laboratory setting, according to plantingflowerbulbs.com. The flowers are popular in cut flower bouquets and floral arrangements as they have a long vase life of up to two weeks.

Identification

Alstroemeria is a tuberous flowering plant that is also called the Inca lily or Peruvian lily. The flower originated in South America and grows well in warm climates. Alstroemeria cannot be grown outdoors in growing zones 5 and under. The plants grow up to 40 inches high and produce a flower with three petals. The flowers are not fragrant but come in many colors because of hybrid and laboratory-propagated plant varieties.

Pests and Diseases

Alstroemeria is rarely infected with pests or diseases. It is possible for plants to get a mosaic virus infection, but the disease only affects the foliage through chlorosis, which causes a lack of chlorophyll. The virus has no cure, so infected plant tubers should be dug up and discarded.

How to Plant

Plant Alstroemeria no later than early spring in areas where full sun is available. The tubers should be planted at the same depth as they were in the purchase containers, or about 15 to 20 centimeters. Set each plant at least one foot apart and apply a fertilizer to the hole prior to covering. Mulch the area around new plants with three inches of organic compost. After planting, water to completely moisten the soil.

Care and Maintenance

Alstroemeria plants bloom in late spring through early summer. During the growing season, dead head or prune back flowers that have died off. Each spring, apply a three-inch layer of mulch around the plants. The plants should be watered regularly at least once per week through the summer when there is little rain. Alstroemeria plants should be fertilized when flowers start to open and every two to three weeks through the blooming season. In the fall, the tubers can be dug for fall and winter protection. Store dug tubers in moist soil in a cool, dark location.

Separating and Moving

Alstroemeria will spread quickly through rhizomes underground. The plants grow in two stages; the first is a green stage and the second is a flowering stage. Plants should be separated when the first stage becomes more prevalent than the flowering stage. To separate, dig the plant tubers and carefully pull apart the root sections to separate. Replant all separated plant sections, leaving at least a one foot between each plant.

Keywords: Alstroemeria, flowering tubers, flower bouquets

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.