Alstroemeria, Best Choice for your Home Garden

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Alstroemeria, Best Choice for your Home Garden

Alstroemeria, Best Choice for your Home Garden

Alstroemeria, sometimes called the Peruvian lily, is wonderful for borders and makes the perfect cut flower for the home

Alstroemeria, sometimes called the Peruvian lily, is wonderful for borders and makes the perfect cut flower for the home

Alstroemeria originally comes from South America, and species alstroemeria is found throughout Chile and in Brazil. The taller alstroemeria cultivars make excellent garden plants both for display and cutting. Although Alstroemerias look exotic they are very tough and easy to grow if they are given the right conditions.

Alstroemerias are mainly summer flowering perennial plants with many species flowering from June to November. So with careful selection, it is possible to have a colorful display of these plants in your garden right through the summer and into early winter.

Particularly popular are yellow Alstroemeria’Golden Delight’, red Alstroemeria ‘Red Beauty’ and the bright pink Alstroemeria ‘Polka’ which is unusual as it has variegated foliage.

Alstroemeria aurea and Alstroemeria ligtu hybrids make particularly good garden plants and can be grown quite easily from seed sown in autumn and planted out the following spring.

Alstroemeria area can be a little invasive and difficult to eradicate if planted in the wrong place. But its bright orange flowers more than makeup for this drawback. Ligtu hybrids are less rampant and better behaved and come in a wide range of colors from soft pastel pinks to dark reds, yellows, and oranges.

Alstroemerias will grow in any well-drained but moisture retentive, fertile soil in sun or partial shade. They spread quickly by fleshy roots and can soon become large clumps. These large clumps can be lifted and divided in autumn or early spring.

The new growth and young foliage of Alstroemeria plants can be susceptible to slugs and snails as well as caterpillars and aphids. They also contain a compound that can also cause skin irritations and dermatitis, so care needs to be taken when handling them.

In colder areas with heavy winter frosts, it’s wise to cover the crowns with a mulch of garden compost mixed with a little grit to provide protection.

In very damp soils alstroemerias benefit from plenty of grit mixed in with the planting soil to aid drainage as they do not like standing in soggy ground, particularly in winter.

A light mulch with garden compost in spring will get them off to a good start at the beginning of the season, but too much nitrogen will produce lots of leaves and few flowers. Flower production can be increased by the addition of a good tomato fertilizer during the growing period.

Alstroemerias make excellent cut flowers and will last in water for at least two weeks. Pulling the stems rather than cutting them will produce more shoots and flowers the following season.

So whether you buy alstroemerias as plants from your garden nursery or garden center or grow your own from seed they make a wonderful and easy to grow in addition to any flower garden.

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