Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas): an Enchanting Lily-Like Flower

Unveiling the beauty of Alstroemeria and the secrets to grow it at home

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By Alex


Alstroemeria, also known as the Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas, is a beautiful flowering plant that belongs to the Alstroemeriaceae family. It is native to South America, particularly Peru and Chile, but it is now cultivated and enjoyed in many parts of the world for its stunning flowers. This plant gives fantastic blooms in many different colors and can be planted either in the ground or in pots perfect for beautifying balconies and terraces.

Let’s find out, then, all about this plant including tips and advice on its cultivation.

What kind of plant is Alstroemeria?

Also known as the Lily of Peru and the Lily of the Incas, Alstroemeria is a perennial plant renowned for its decorative and vibrant nature.

Native to the mountainous regions of South America, it has gained popularity worldwide, including in North America and Europe, where it thrives in moderate climates. With its stunning colors and large lily-like flowers, Alstroemeria is an ideal choice for enhancing flower beds and terraces, as well as creating captivating floral arrangements.

The Meaning and Symbolism of Alstroemeria

In the enchanting world of flowers, Alstroemeria, also known as the Peruvian lily, holds a significant meaning. This vibrant bloom is associated with good luck, prosperity, and wealth, making it a cherished symbol in various cultures.

In its native regions, Alstroemeria is not only admired for its beauty but also holds cultural and ceremonial significance. It is frequently incorporated into rites and ceremonies, where it serves to emphasize the triumph of good over evil in the eternal struggle of life.

The Peruvian lily’s symbolic representation of good fortune and abundance has made it a popular choice for special occasions and celebrations. Its inclusion in floral arrangements and bouquets adds an auspicious touch, conveying wishes of prosperity and success to the recipient.

Whether adorning ceremonial altars or gracing festive occasions, Alstroemeria’s presence brings a sense of optimism and positivity. It reminds us to embrace the blessings of life and cherish the moments of triumph in our own personal journeys.

This is not just a flower of remarkable charm but also a symbol that speaks of the enduring power of good and the potential for abundance in our lives.

The Appearance of Alstroemeria: Resembling Lilies

Alstroemeria captivates with its distinct features and striking resemblance to the lily. It showcases unbranched stems that can grow to impressive heights, reaching up to 70 cm or even taller in some varieties. At the apex of these tall stems, a magnificent flower blooms, capturing the attention of all who behold it.

The flowers of Alstroemeria exhibit an array of captivating colors, which vary depending on the specific variety or hybrid. Shades and hues of red, purple, yellow, orange, lavender, and purple can be found among the diverse palette of this exquisite bloom. Each petal is a testament to nature’s artistry, displaying intricate patterns, gradients, and sometimes even contrasting streaks or spots.

Contrasting the vibrant display of the flowers, the leaves of Alstroemeria are characterized by their vivid green color. These leaves are elongated and have a pointed shape, adding an elegant touch to the overall appearance of the plant. The bright green foliage provides a stunning backdrop to the vibrant blossoms, enhancing their visual impact.

When Alstroemeria is in full bloom, its lily-like flowers create a captivating spectacle. The tall stems, adorned with a profusion of colorful petals, lend an air of grace and beauty to any garden, flower bed, or floral arrangement. Whether as a focal point or complementing other blooms, Alstroemeria stands out with its unique charm and adds a touch of sophistication to any setting.

The varieties of Alstroemeria

To date, about 50 species of these bulbs have been identified. Here are some notable varieties of Alstroemeria:

  • Inticancha‘ Series: This series is known for its compact growth habit, making it ideal for container gardening and smaller garden spaces. The ‘Inticancha’ varieties produce an abundance of flowers in vibrant colors, such as red, orange, pink, and yellow.
  • Princess‘ Series: The ‘Princess’ series is renowned for its large, showy flowers and long stems, making it a popular choice for cut flower arrangements. These varieties come in an array of captivating colors, including deep purples, fiery oranges, and soft pinks.
  • Inca‘ Series: The ‘Inca’ series showcases a range of stunning bi-colored flowers, with distinct markings and patterns. The blooms often exhibit contrasting shades, such as white petals adorned with deep purple streaks or yellow petals with dark red speckles. These varieties add a touch of drama and intrigue to any garden or floral display.
  • Parade‘ Series: The ‘Parade’ series is known for its compact growth habit and abundance of flowers. These varieties produce clusters of vibrant blossoms in shades of pink, purple, and white, creating a stunning spectacle when in full bloom.
  • Tangerine Tango‘: This variety stands out with its striking tangerine-orange flowers. It offers a vibrant burst of color and adds a cheerful element to gardens and floral arrangements.
  • Summer‘ Series: The ‘Summer’ series is recognized for its exceptional heat tolerance, making it suitable for warmer climates. These varieties produce an abundance of flowers in various colors, including shades of pink, red, and yellow.
  • Indian Summer‘: This variety features large, golden-yellow flowers with dark orange streaks and markings. Its warm and radiant hues make it a popular choice for adding a touch of sunshine to garden beds and bouquets.
  • Sweet Laura‘: ‘Sweet Laura’ is a variety with soft pink flowers that exhibit a delightful fragrance. It adds a delicate and romantic touch to gardens and cut flower arrangements.

Alstroemeria hybrids

Also available on the market are numerous hybrids that are characterized by particularly brightly colored petals that may have streaks that contribute to making these flowers, even, more scenic.

alstroemeria or peruvian lily
All the colors of alstroemeria.

How to grow Alstroemeria

Generally, the cultivation of these plants is not easy and it may take a few years before you get a lush bloom.

If one has, however, patience it can give great satisfaction and one of its merits is that it can be grown without particular problems both in the ground and in pots.

Find out, then, how to grow it with our tips.

How to plant Alstroemeria in the ground

This plant can be planted in the open ground in sunny, wind-sheltered areas characterized by well-drained soil.

The bulbs should be planted at a depth of about 15-20 cm, and during the winter in cold and frost-prone areas it is necessary to cut the stem level with the ground and cover it with dead leaves and a tarp so as to keep it at an acceptable temperature.

How to plant Alstroemeria in pots

Especially in its dwarf version, it is particularly suitable for growing in pots to beautify porches, terraces and balconies.

The advice is to place the pots in sunny areas and retire them indoors to protect the plants from the cold.

Blooming of Alstroemeria

The flowering period is from June to August, but may vary depending on the particular climatic conditions of the place where they are grown.

In particularly mild springs, flowering may be brought forward to April or May and is usually very abundant, especially, after 2 or 3 years of cultivation.


How to care for Alstroemeria

It is a rather robust plant, but it requires patience and care, particularly if you want to have it in our latitudes, which are not those found in its places of origin.

Let’s find out, then, all about caring for the Peruvian lily.

  • Exposure. Cultivation of Peruvian lily should be done in sunny, wind-sheltered areas; this plant does not tolerate temperatures below zero degrees.
  • Watering. In spring and summer, the Peruvian lily should be watered regularly but care should be taken not to overdo it; rotting of its roots and rhizome caused by too much water is among the most common problems encountered in its cultivation. This plant can tolerate short periods of drought well.
  • Planting. In order to promote the plant’s growth and flowering, it is necessary to carefully remove dry or damaged parts.


Common diseases and pests of Alstroemeria

This plant is not hardy, but it is still a hardy tuberous plant that is easy to maintain. Its flowers are strong and unlikely to be attacked by pests or diseases.

Even for this hardy plant, however, it can happen to be attacked by fungi or pests, for example:

  • grey mold which is fought with anti-fungal treatments
  • aphids, mites and lice that are eliminated with natural remedies or antiparasitic products
  • flies that attack especially when they have just been planted.
  • root and rhizome rot is the most feared disease and the most harmful.

Winter Care Tips for Alstroemerias

As the vibrant blooms of Alstroemerias fade and the cooler winter months approach, it’s important to provide proper care to ensure their well-being during the dormant period. Here are some tips to help you care for Alstroemerias in winter:

  • Vegetative Rest: Alstroemerias naturally enter a period of vegetative rest after the summer flowering season. During this time, their vigor diminishes, and they require less active care.
  • Bulb Maintenance: The bulb of the Alstroemeria plant may not produce as many flowers or leaves during winter, but it remains alive and resilient. It is crucial to keep the bulb dry during this period to prevent rotting or damage.
  • Container Plants: If your Alstroemeria is in a pot, you can store it in a dry and dark location from late autumn until March. Choose a place where the temperature remains cool but above freezing. Ensure that the soil is completely dry before storing the plant.
  • Garden Plants: For Alstroemerias growing in the garden, you have two options. First, you can carefully lift the bulb from the ground after it has entered dormancy and transfer it to a dry and dark location until spring. Alternatively, you can choose to leave the bulb in the ground and protect it from the winter elements.
  • Mulching: If you decide to leave the bulb in the ground, you can provide protection by applying a layer of mulch. Create a mulch bed using straw and bark, covering the area where the bulb is buried. This layer helps insulate the bulb from extreme cold temperatures and fluctuations, providing an added layer of protection.
Also popular is the pink variety.

What it means to give a Peruvian lily as a gift

Today, giving this flower as a gift means celebrating sincere affection and friendship. It is a positive symbol that, for example, can be given after an argument with a best friend to signify devotion and renewed affection.

If you are looking for a plant that can express lasting bonds, this is a perfect option!

Did you know that…

It can prove mildly toxic to cats and the main symptoms of intoxication are diarrhea and vomiting.

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