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ALSTROEMERIA

Image of Alstroemeria

Maureen Gilmer

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

ALSTROEMERIA

Plant Common Name

Lily-of-the-Incas

General Description

The Genus Alstroemeria is made up of 50 to 60 species of flowering herbaceous perennials native to South America. The genus is named for the Swedish baron Clas Alströmer who first collected seeds in South America around 1750. Today Lily-of-the-Incas hybrids and cultivars are most popular with florists for use in arrangements.

Alstroemeria are clump-forming and upright. They grow from fleshy rhizomatous crowns that spread laterally over time. They’ve numerous erect leafy stems lined with linear or lance-shaped, gray-green alternate leaves. The leaves often twist or have undulating edges.

Lily-like flowers are produced singly or in clusters atop strong upright stems. The blooms are funnel-shaped with six petals and come in shades of red, pink, orange, purple, green, or white. The throats are often spotted, streaked and blotched with contrasting colors and are very attractive to bees. The fruits that follow are capsules filled with hard brown or black seeds.

Alstroemeria growth and flowering are dependent on the species and climate. Some grow and flower in summer and others in the winter. Most popular cultivated varieties are hybrids that tend to flower at any time as long as conditions are favorable.

Cultural requirements vary somewhat among species but most prefer moist, rich, acid soil with good drainage. Alstroemeria are moderately hardy. Where not hardy, they can be planted in protected locations or in containers that can be stored indoors during winter. Full sun to partial shade is best for flowering, however afternoon shade is appreciated in hot climates. Lily-of-the-Incas do not move or divide well. They are drought tolerant once established but look best if watered during dry spells; a heavy layer of mulch is beneficial for weed control and moisture retention. Plant Alstroemeria in beds, borders, perennial gardens, containers and cutting gardens.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 7

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Native To

    South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Orange, Pink, Salmon, Lavender, Brown

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor, Multi-Color, Striped

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow Green, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds