Yellow Alstroemeria flower
How to grow Alstroemeria
Commonly known as the 'Peruvian lily' or 'lily of the Incas', Alstroemeria species are a genus of mostly herbaceous perennials plants native to South America, though mostly restricted to central Chile and eastern Brazil. While the many of the species are only half hardy there are a number of hardy form which are capable of surviving outside in northern European gardens. They have twisted lanceolate leaves that are in most cases glaucous, and irregular trumpet-shaped flowers.

Alstroemeria seedlings in a seed tray
Alstroemeria seedlings
Popular hardy Alstroemeria cultivars and hybrids are usually only available as pot grown stock in the spring. Plant them in the ground in March or early April, taking care not to disturb the roots. Plant them in groups for best effect at a depth of 4-6 inches. They will be happy growing in any in any well-drained, fertile soil, but will do best in a sheltered position that is unlikely to be disturbed by other close plantings. Heavy soils will need to be improved with well-rotted garden compost, well rotted manure or even gravel. Light soils will also benefit with the addition of plenty of organic matter and additional watering during their first summer.

If relatively very little top growth occurs in the first year do not be disheartened as this can sometimes happen. When top growth follows normal growth patterns the stems can be cut back to ground level during late autumn after leaf drop. Provide a dry mulch such as bark chips, bracken or straw in areas prone to periods of freezing weather.

Half-hardy or tender Alstroemeria species will need to wait until late May when the threat of late frosts have passed before being permanently left outside. Although they can go in the ground they are unlikely to survive outside without being completely protected from freezing weather.

Unless you are planting in a warm temperate or subtropical region half-hardy and tender cultivars will be best grown under greenhouse conditions or kept as a container plant and brought in under protection when overnight temperatures look to drop below 8 degrees Celsius. Alstroemeria can be grown in any well-drained pot using a good quality compost such as John Innes 'No.2'. When the first flower buds form feed weekly with a liquid soluble fertiliser.

Main image credit - By JJ Harrison ( - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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