We have grown Alstroemeria for many years for both cut flowers and garden plants. As a rule, they are easy to grow and flower all summer, here are a few tips to allow you to get the best from them.
Choosing which ones to buy can be difficult, are you looking for a tall growing variety, suitable for both borders and cutting, or maybe a dwarf one for a pot on your patio, we cater for both:
All the Summer Paradise and Garden Jewels grow up to about 1m tall, they are great for growing in borders and for cutting, or indeed large pots, these are the hardiest of our Alstroemeria and survive temperatures down to minus 15, but will not survive being waterlogged.
Princess Lilies and Inticanchas are dwarf, often growing no more than 30cm tall, perfect for pots and in the front of borders, the flowers can also be cut for posies on a table. Varieties from both these groups need protecting in winter if temperatures fall below minus 5, they are best overwintered in a cold greenhouse.
One tip to remember is that when we refer to cutting alstroemeria this is not technically correct, you should pull the stems with a sharp tug, this stimulates the plant to produce even more flowers.
We despatch Alstroemeria plants from around the middle of April until September. Upon receiving your plants the first thing you should do is water them well, this makes getting them out of the pots far easier if they are dry the roots stick to the pot and the plants can get damaged, plant them at the same level, not deeper, as they grow the rhizomes will creep down into the soil until they find the optimum depth.
For pots, we recommend one plant in a minimum of a 30 cm container, filled with multipurpose compost, do not be tempted to cram in more, one plant will fill this sized pot easily, water them well and put the pot in a sunny spot. During summer months keep them well fed and watered, we recommend either tomato feed about every two weeks or the slow-release fertiliser granules sold for hanging baskets.
If on the other hand, your newly acquired are for in the garden space them with about 45cms between the plants with the soil at the same level as in the pots they arrived in. When positioning your Alstroemeria remember they like a free draining soil and a sunny spot, they will grow in part shade but tend to lean towards the sun. Feeding in the ground is very easy one good dressing with such as Fish Blood and bone or chicken manure pellets will last the whole year.
Winter care, the taller growing varieties tend to be hardier than the dwarf ones, so if you plant any of our summer paradise or garden jewels they are quite happy left alone in winter, having said this a touch of mulch is always beneficial just in case we get a very bad winter.
Dwarf varieties will definitely benefit from a good covering of mulch in winter, if they are in a pot then they are best overwintered in a cold greenhouse or conservatory, if you choose the latter they will often flower all winter, whichever you choose do not let them dry out, alstroemeria hate being dry.
The two pots above are of an overwintered alstroemeria plant taken in April just as the they start into regrowth. Looking carefully at the plant out of its pot and you will notice the big white water roots, the plant produces these to store nutrients and water, if when you tip a pot out it is packed with these it is desperate to be split up and repotted. Propagation is done by gentle splitting up the rhizomes, which is best done in late autumn or early spring. when splitting your plants don't be fooled by the fleshy water roots the actual rhizomes sit above them.