Try these tips and pointers when gardening with Inca Lilies / Alstroemerias.
Add an exotic touch to your garden by planting gorgeous summer-flowering Alstroemerias.
Alstroemerias, more commonly known as Inca lilies or Peruvian lilies, are the stalwarts of countless flower gardens. Rhizomatous perennials with fleshy, tuberous roots, they’re versatile plants that can be used to bring colour to your garden in a variety of ways.
Why grow Inca Lilies/ Alstroemerias?
- Their long flowering time means they bring colour to your garden for months on end.
- The range of colours is extensive, including orange, pink, rose, purple, red, yellow and white or salmon; some are marked with contrasting whiskers and rouged cheeks.
- They need little maintenance.
- They’re seldom troubled by pests and fungal diseases, but watch out for snails.
- They’re relatively frost tolerant.
- Hybridisation has resulted in compact plants for small gardens.
- They make superb cut flowers, lasting 2–3 weeks in the vase.
In the garden: Inca lilies will flower best in full sun but as they need protection from the hot afternoon sun an east-facing position is best. For the best results plant them in well-composted, nutrient-rich soil a little deeper than the level they were in their containers. High soil temperatures can inhibit flower production so planting them a little deeper will help insulate them from the heat; it’s also advisable to keep them well mulched.
In pots: Always select a pot that will allow room for growth as Inca lilies don’t like their roots to be restricted. They’ll also need to be feed and watered more often than those planted in the garden.
Mass plant them for a gorgeous display all summer long.
Inca Lilies/ Alstroemeria Growing Tips
- Feeding Inca Lilies/ Alstroemeria: Feed Inca lilies regularly, particularly those in containers. In spring apply 2:3:4 fertiliser followed by 8:1:5 when the flower buds are forming; repeat after the first flush of blooms.
- Watering Inca Lilies/ Alstroemeria: Water them regularly in the summer growing season; in summer rainfall areas water them periodically in winter.
- Frost protection Inca Lilies/ Alstroemeria: Inca lilies are hardy to -5°C provided they are well mulched in first two years; in severe frost the top growth can die back but the tubers will survive if mulched well.
- Staking Inca Lilies/ Alstroemeria: The stems of the taller types tend to flop over and so need to be staked.
- Maintenance: Once the flowers have faded, pull out the old flower stems with a sharp tug; this initiates new growth at the site of the wound. Pull out weak shoots and those
- with more than 30 leaves or which have reached 90cm high without forming flowers; the latter won’t flower.
Credits: Text and some photographs Marianne Alexander