Alstroemeria

Alstroemeria are tuberous perennials originating from South America. They are a great addition to borders combining well with other plants and making excellent cut flowers. Alstroemeria are free flowering, producing attractive flowers in a wide range of colours from June until the first frosts.

Alstroemeria Indian Summer = 'Tesronto'

Quick facts

Common name Peruvian lily
Botanical name Alstroemeria
Group Perennial
Flowering time Summer autumn
Planting time Spring or autumn
Height and spread 15cm-1m (6in-3¼ft) x 45-75cm (18-30in)
Aspect Sun or part shade
Hardiness Frost tender to hardy
Difficulty Easy

Cultivation notes

Planting

Plant in rich fertile free draining soil which is neutral or slightly acidic. Ideally position in full sun although they will tolerate partial shade. For best results use container grown plants, as bare root tubers often fail to grow.

The roots of the plants resent disturbance so allow room for growth at planting time.

Watering and feeding

Plants are drought tolerant, but watering in dry periods will encourage further flowering. Feed with high potash fertiliser each week during the growing season.

Aftercare

Mulch with bark to a depth of 20cm (8in) to protect from frost for the first two winters after planting. After this the roots should be deep enough in the ground to survive the winter. Stake or support with pea sticks as needed.

Alstroemeria make good container plants; use John Innes No 2 with 20% by volume added grit for drainage and re-pot every other year. Keep container grown plants frost free during winter.

Cutting and deadheading

For cut flowers: during the first season the flower stalks should be cut, but in subsequent years they can be pulled out at the base.

When flowers fade remove the whole flower spike at ground level to encourage further flowering.

Propagation

Division

Named cultivars are propagated by division. The roots are fragile and need to be lifted and divided with care and replanted immediately. This is best done in April.

Seed

Alstroemeria ‘Ligtu hybrids’ can be propagated from seed.

  1. Seed is best sown in the autumn.
  2. Pods can be collected from the plants as they turn brown and kept in a sealed paper bag until they explode and then sown immediately.
  3. Sow in peat free seed compost in 8cm (3in) pots and cover the seeds with a thin layer of vermiculite. Cover the pots with cling film or a plastic bag to maintain humidity.
  4. Place under protection at 20ºC (68ºF) for three weeks.
  5. Then place in a cold frame or cold greenhouse at 5ºC (40ºF) for three weeks.
  6. After this move back under protection at 20ºC (68ºF).
  7. Germination can be erratic.
  8. Roots are fragile so don’t separate the seedlings, but plant out in clumps.

Flowering can be expected in 2-3 years from seed.

Micropropagation

Commercially alstroemerias are often micropropagated.

Cultivar Selection

Alstroemeria Indian Summer = 'Tesronto' (PBR): Beautiful orange/yellow flowers and bronze foliage. Height 60cm (24in)

A. 'Apollo' AGM: White flowers with a yellow throat. Height to 1m (39 in)

A. inticancha Dark Purple = ‘Tesdarklin  (PBR): Dwarf cultivar, ideal for containers. Dark purple flowers. Height 20cm (8in)

For a further list of reliable Alstroemeria cultivars to choose from, see the RHS Find a Plant.

Problems

Alstroemeria can suffer from a range of root stem and crown rots caused by Fusarium, Phytophthora, Pythium and Rhizoctonia species. Viruses may occasionally be a problem.

In terms of pests slugs and snails may attack plants.

Advertise here

Gardeners' calendar

Advice from the RHS

Find out what to do this month with our gardeners' calendar

Advice from the RHS

Did you find the advice you needed?

RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.

Join the RHS now

Discuss this

for the site or to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.