|Alstroemeria subsp. var.||Alstroemeria, Peruvian Lily|
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Alstroemeria (Baron Alstroemer, friend of Linnaeus). Amaryllidacéae. Alstremeria. Coolhouse and stove plants, with tuberous roots, treated as bulbs; and some of them also grown in the open for summer bloom.
Showy tall or slender plants with the red, purple or yellow blossoms in simple or compound umbels terminating the st.: fls. small (2 in. or less long), comparatively narrow, with 6 segms., parted nearly or quite to the ovary, often irregular; stamens mostly declined; stigma 3-cleft; sta. slender and leafy, weak, or even disposed to climb, arising from a root of thickened fibers. — Perhaps .50 species in S. Amer. There are garden hybrids. The alstremerias are not now very much grown. Monogr. by Baker, Handbook of the Amaryllideae.
Some of the alstremerias have survived the winters in Washington of late years only when a heavy mulch has been given, as A. aurantiaca and its form A. áurea, A. chilensis and its forms. Evidently among the hardiest are A. brasiliensis and A. pulchetta, although some of the others have not been tried. For outdoor planting, alstremerias are at their best in a partly shaded position, and at all times during their growth the roots must have an abundance of water. In fact, there is little use in attempting their cultivation out-of-doors when these conditions cannot be given.—In colder climates, the alstremerias can be grown very successfully by planting out in spring, and, as soon as they die down, lift, and keep over winter in a place from which frost is excluded. An annual lifting, or, when grown in pots, an annual shaking-out, should be given, because they increase to such an extent that the younger and smaller crowns are apt to take the nourishment from the large flowering crowns. The largest ones ought to be separated from the smaller ones, and either grown in pots or planted outside when the proper time arrives. In this way the genus will become much more popular than it now is. either for cutting or for the decoration of the border.— The best soil is largely composed of vegetable humus; when this is not to be had old well-decayed cow- or stabler-manure should be incorporated with the soil. When they are planted outside, the tubers should be put deep in the ground, and the soil should be well worked for at least 15 inches. The tubers are slightly egg-shaped, attached to a common stem; the roots are from the ends of the tubers, and also from near the growing points of the crowns.—For greenhouse work one of the best is A. Pelegrina val. alba. The roots may be potted up in autumn in large pots, and treated as other tender late winter tuberous or bulbous plants are treated. See Bulbs. Some of the Van Houtte hybrids are extremely pretty, but, with the others, they are rather unsuitable for pot culture, owing to the peculiar formation of the roots.—The species are easily raised from seeds, which should be sown rather thinly in deep pans, and allowed to remain without pricking off or shifting for the first season; also by division of the roots.
Most species are great in herbaceous or mixed borders, though species like A. pygmaea and A. hookeri may be better off in an alpine house. Many Alstromeria make excellent cut flowers. For evergreen varieties, the entire flower stalk should be gently twisted from roots when gathering cut flowers.
Erect stems with mid to gray-green leaves produce showy, funnel shaped, 6-tepaled flowers. Flowers are about 1.5-4 inches (4-10 cm) long, but can be smaller in dwarf-type species. Blooms mainly in summer, but this varies by species as well. Blooms come in loose, many times compound clusters (terminal umbels) which are 3-5in (8-13cm) across. Stems grow from fleshy or rhizome-like tubers, spreading to form clumps.
Tubers should be planted 8in (20cm) deep in late summer or early fall. Handle them with care, as they are extremely fragile. In growing season, water freely and fertilize monthly with balanced fertilizer. In winter water very little.
Outdoors they should be grown in moist, well drained and fertile soil, either in full sun, or in afternoon shade where very hot. Mulch the plants the first two years, and where there are winter freezes, plant near a warm wall and give extra winter protection with a dry mulch. Alstroemeria 'Sweet Laura' is a newer variety that is said to grow as far north as USDA Zone 5, and also has scented flowers. A. aurea and A. ligtu, as well as hybrids of these species can tolerate short drops in temperature to 5°F (-15°C). Plants form clumps when left undisturbed.
In an alpine house, grow in mix of loam, leaf mold and sharp sand. In cool greenhouses use a soil-based potting mix.
Established clumps can be divided in fall or very early spring. Plants can be grown from seed sown in containers as soon as ripe. Seedlings should be planted out by the pot (rather than separated at time of planting) to avoid damage to the delicate tubers.
Pests and diseases
- Alstroemeria aurea - Lily of the Incas.
- Alstroemeria aurantiaca - Peruvian Lily
- Alstroemeria caryophyllacea - Brazilian Lily
- Alstroemeria haemantha - Purplespot Parrot Lily
- Alstroemeria ligtu - Lily-of-the-Nile
- Alstroemeria psittacina - Lily of the Incas, White-edged Peruvian Lily
- Alstroemeria pulchella - Parrot Lily, Parrot Flower, Red Parrot Beak, New Zealand Christmas Bell
- American Horticultural Society: A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, by Christopher Brickell, Judith D. Zuk. 1996. ISBN 0789419432
- Sunset National Garden Book. Sunset Books, Inc., 1997. ISBN 0376038608
- w:Alstroemeria. Some of the material on this page may be from Wikipedia, under the Creative Commons license.
- Alstroemeria QR Code (Size 50, 100, 200, 500)