An essential component of many bouquets thanks to their long vase life (over 2 weeks), Peruvian Lilies (Alstroemeria) are striking beauties that also deserve a spot outdoors. Borne in loose clusters, their 2 in. (5 cm) exotic blossoms are often streaked or freckled and are available in a fabulous range of colors. Resembling lilies with their attractive trumpet-like flowers, they do not grow from true bulbs, but rather grow from tuberous roots which spread outward, gradually increasing the plant size each year.
1. Select The Right Site
- Peruvian Lilies grow best in locations with full morning sun and some shade in the afternoons.
- They thrive in fertile, moist, well-drained soils. Good drainage is absolutely essential for success.
- Most are winter hardy in growing zones 7-10. Not sure about your growing zone? Check here.
2. Planting Your Peruvian Lilies
- Alstroemeria tubers can be planted in the spring, early summer, or fall, depending on your climate. Plant when temperatures do not exceed 68° F (20° C) daily.
- It is advisable to soak the tubers for 24 hours before you plant them. This will jump-start their germination process.
- Plant the tubers 6-8 in. deep (15-20 cm) and 24 in. apart (60 cm) with the pointy side facing up. The roots of Peruvian Lilies resent disturbance so allow room for growth at planting time.
- Cover the tubers with soil and water as needed.
- Peruvian Lilies benefit from regular watering. Water frequently so the soil is consistently moist but not soggy. Too much water will lead to root rot.
- Fertilize your Alstroemeria when in bloom. Use a high potash fertilizer each week during the growing season.
- Pull stems from the base to promote new blooms (instead of cutting). Deadhead the spent flowers to prevent your Alstroemeria from multiplying too much via self-seeding.
- Mulch around the plants with a 8 in. (20 cm) layer of leaves, bark or pine needles to protect your Alstroemeria from extreme temperatures in winter - for the first two winters after planting. Keep the mulch at least 2 in. (5 cm) from the stem to avoid rotting.
- Divide your Alstroemeria by the rhizomes for propagation. Cut down your plant to 6 in. (15 cm) of the ground. Two weeks later, dig all the way around the plant. Dig up the plant’s rhizomes as well as all of the roots that branch off from them. Divide the rhizomes of the plant with a sharp knife and then replant the rhizomes 6 in. (15 cm) deep and 12 in. (30 cm) apart. Expect the newly planted rhizomes to bloom within 10 weeks of planting.