Alstroemeria is a genus of 80+ flowering plants in the Alstroemeriaceae family. Peruvian lily care is pretty much the same across all varieties. The deer resistant Peruvian Lily has South American origins. Many species have naturalized in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and the Canary Islands.
Alstroemeria is known by many other names:
- Peruvian Lily
- Lily of the Incas
- Parrot Lily
- Princess Lily
The Alstroemeria genus was named by Carl Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy, in honor of his friend and fellow botanist, Klas von Alstroemer. For this reason, Alstroemeria flowers are believed to symbolize true friendship. They also represent wealth, prosperity, devotion, and good fortune.
Caring For Peruvian Lily Alstroemeria
Size & Growth
Alstroemeria plant is a bulbous perennial and grows an average of 1’ – 3’ feet high and 1’ – 2’ feet wide and may require staking.
It produces bright, showy blooms that closely resemble lilies, hence the alternative names Peruvian and Princess Lily.
The plant has lively green leaves providing an impressive backdrop to the vibrant flowers.
Popular Alstroemeria Species
- Alstroemeria aurea
- Alstroemeria ligtu
- Alstroemeria psittacina
- Alstroemeria pulchella
- Alstroemeria “Indian Summer”
- Alstroemeria “Fabiana”
Flowering and Fragrance
From the beginning of summer until the first frost appears, Alstroemeria bears brightly colored flowers growing in loose clusters.
Each bloom measures about 2” inches in diameter.
The flowers are often streaked or freckled and come in a range of impressive colors, including deep pink, rich red, purple, yellow, apricot, orange/yellow, and white.
These vibrant, trumpet-shaped flowers are not fragrant but given their sheer beauty, they are bound to catch every eye from afar.
Light & Temperature
Alstroemeria prefers a full sun or part shade, and it’s suitable for growth in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 10.
Watering and Feeding
Alstroemeria requires a lot of water and high humidity to grow properly from their tuberous roots.
However, while the plant benefits from regular watering, the soil must not be soggy.
Young seedlings must be covered with a plastic bag to maintain humidity and watered frequently until the first shoot appears.
Once the young plant has established well, a 1″ inch deep watering is needed weekly.
Feeding is required when the plant turns two years old.
Supplement the soil with nitrogen and minerals such as potassium and phosphorous to boost plant growth and guarantee richly colored blooms.
Soil & Transplanting
Alstroemeria grows in many soil types but thrives in chalky, clay, loamy, or sandy soil.
The soil must be moist but have good drainage.
Sitting in waterlogged soil carries the risk of making the plant rot.
When planting alstroemeria in pots, make sure there are sufficient drainage holes.
The soil pH level must be kept close to neutral.
Alkaline soil creates manganese and iron deficiencies and leads to the yellowing of leaves.
During the summer season, cover the soil with a thick layer of mulch (preferably 3” inches deep) placed around the base of the plant to prevent the roots from being damaged due to excessive heat.
Both bark mulch and compost are suitable for the task.
Grooming and Maintenance
When it comes to grooming, Alstroemeria is a relatively low-maintenance plant.
Trim dead flower heads to give a neat appearance and to ensure healthy plant growth.
Moreover, deadheading is essential if you don’t want the plant to multiply uncontrollably by self-seeding.
To promote the growth of more flowers, pull the old stems from the base of the plant rather than cutting them with gardening scissors or pruning tools.
How To Propagate Peruvian Princess Lily
Most of the species of Alstroemeria are propagated by division, but a few others are more suitable for seeding.
To propagate by division:
- Whether it’s early summer or late spring, Alstroemeria tubers are suitable for planting in any season (except winter when it goes into dormancy) as long as the surrounding temperatures do not exceed 68° degrees Fahrenheit (20° C).
- Soak the tubers for 24 hours before planting them about 6 – 8” inches deep in the soil, leaving a distance of at least 24” inches between plants.
To propagate by seeds:
- Collect the seed pods from mature plants when they start turning brown in color.
- Keep the pods in a sealed paper bag.
- After some time, when the seeds explode, plant them in the prepared bed or pot immediately.
- For best results, spread a thin layer of vermiculite over the soil before covering the pot with a plastic bag or cling film.
- Autumn is the best season to seed Alstroemeria as the temperature variations during day and night provide the ideal germination conditions.
- Seeded Alstroemeria usually takes two to three years before it starts flowering.
Parrot Lily Pest or Disease Problems
Peruvian lily is deer resistant but susceptible to most common garden pests, insects, and diseases.
Snails and slugs often feed off the plants, whereas it’s common for:
… to attack the plant as well.
Alstroemeria also suffers from problems such as root rot and Gray Mold caused by viruses and bacterial and fungal growth.
Alstroemeria makes a great addition to any place, be it a prim and proper garden or just a small collection of plants on a balcony by a home gardener.
Its bright and showy flowers make colorful mounds when planted in beds and borders, whereas the plant size also makes it ideal for use as a groundcover.
Plant Alstroemeria in hanging pots and containers for stunning outdoor decoration. Its fancy exotic blooms make incredible cut flowers and look beautiful in bouquets as well. Alstroemeria flowers are highly popular among florists.
Peruvian lily care is easy. The plant has a relatively long vase life, so bring some of its white, pink, or red flowers indoors to add a pop of color to your living room.