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Alstroemeria spp. (al-stro-MEE-ri-a or al-stro-MER-ee-uh)
Peruvian lily, Lily-of-the-Incas
These popular flowers grow from rhizomes or tubers, depending on the variety. They are quite suitable as potted plants for indoor and outdoor displays. The stem lengths will vary and can be more than 5 feet long.
Alstroemerias come in a wide range of colors, including white, red, pink, orange, salmon, yellow, lavender, bronze and bicolors. There is no pure color of Alstroemeria; all have spots or another color present in the flowers.
Each bloom cycle will last for several weeks.
Countless hybrids and varieties make Alstroemerias readily available all year.
in-store and consumer care
LIGHT Bright, indirect light is best for plants displayed indoors. Filtered sun is tolerated outdoors. The best flowering will be exhibited on plants grown in partial shade.
WATER Allow the plants to dry between watering. Avoid irregular or overhead watering or standing water on the foliage and flowers.
TEMPERATURE Warm areas (65 F to 75 F) are best for displaying Alstroemerias.
HUMIDITY These plants will do best in areas with moderate humidity.
FERTILIZER Alstroemerias can be fertilized during their growing season. Cease fertilizing when the blossoms are set. Use a water-soluble or organic fertilizer, following the label directions.
SOIL Alstroemerias do best in a well-drained mixture of organic material and sand.
GROOMING Cut the plants back to soil level when they have finished flowering to remove faded flowers, leaves and stems.
REPLANTING an indoor blooming cycle, Alstroemerias generally do best if they are planted outdoors in the fall and winter,
from November through February.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Alstroemeria plants’ sensitivity to ethylene varies by variety. Signs of exposure are wilted or crepey flowers and dropping petals. Check with your supplier to make sure your plants have been treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the grower or transportation level.
PESTS AND DISEASES These plants are relatively insect free. Watch for red spider mites on indoor plants. Aphids can be a problem on new growth. Control both by washing them off the plants.
CAUTION Alstroemerias are known to cause allergic reactions on the skin of some people. This can be avoided by wearing latex gloves when handling these plants.
WHAT'S IN A NAME Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), the famed Swedish botanist, named the plant after his student and friend, Baron Clas Alstroemer (1736-1794), a naturalist and Sweden’s consul in Spain. Baron Alstroemer sent several roots to his tutor in 1754.
FAMILY The genus Alstroemeria originally was classified in the Liliaceae family and later in the Amaryllidaceae family. Today, botanists have placed this plant in its own family, the Alstroemeriaceae, a relatively small group of plants made up primarily of Alstroemerias and Bomerias.
HOME SWEET HOME Alstroemerias are native to South America. They were discovered in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. There are approximately 50 species of Alstroemerias and many hybrids and varieties.
BLOOMS Look for plants whose flowers are just about to open.
STEMS The plants should have strong, healthy stems.
FOLIAGE Buy plants with bright green leaves that are narrow and soft. Avoid plants that have mostly new growth; it will be shiny.
Some information provided by:
A. Repetto Nursery, Inc.; Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Back Yard Gardener, www.backyardgardener.com
Chain of Life Network®, www.chainoflifenetwork.org
North Carolina Cooperative Extension, www.ces.ncsu.edu
Weidners' Gardens; Encinitas, Calif., www.weidners.com
You may reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2008
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.