Are you looking to add a new variety of flower to your home or garden? Alstroemerias are a perfect choice — they’re very versatile, can grow in many locations and come in a wide range of striking colors.
If you’re new to gardening or are a first-time Alstroemeria owner, learning how to properly care for your plant doesn’t have to be complicated. This Alstroemeria care guide has all the information you need in order to successfully plant, grow and care for your newest addition.
Alstroemeria is a tuberous perennial plant native to South America, especially in Chile and Brazil. Also known as the “Lily of the Incas” or “Peruvian Lily,” these flowers bloom in early summer and can last throughout the fall depending on the variety. This plant produces lily-like flowers with strong stems that grow in a bush up to two to three feet tall. Alstroemeria thrives in warmer weather (zones 7-10).
A member of the Alstroemeriaceae family, this flower is named after Claus von Alstromer, a Swedish baron who introduced this species to Europe in the 1700s. Since then, this plant has become a popular florist flower throughout the world. Additionally, these lilies symbolize devotion, commitment and friendship, so they are sent for many occasions and to many recipients — great as anniversary flowers or just because.
Types of Alstroemeria Flowers
There are over 120 species of Alstroemeria flowers showcasing a variety of colors such as yellow, orange, red, white, pink and purple. Alstroemerias are known for their five to seven long stamens as well as their distinct speckled throats and contrasting color patterns — making striking additions to mixed bouquets. If you’re not sure what Alstroemeria variety to choose, explore six types of Alstroemeria flowers.
Alstroemeria Bali blooms with golden-apricot flowers with bold streaks of red and mahogany. The bright colors allow them to blend well with other summer flowers. This is a densely branched plant with dark green leaves. Since this variety grows shorter (32 inches) than other alstroemerias, they’re the perfect fit for smaller gardens or if you want to plant them in a pot.
Much like its name, the Candy variety of the Alstroemeria showcases candy-pink flowers. This variety is taller than other Alstroemeria flowers, reaching up to 3 feet in height. Because of its height, it’s ideal for first-time growers since they’re more sturdy.
The Fougere is a white Alstroemeria variety with pink and white accents. It can grow up to 28 inches tall and is great for small gardens. Be sure to keep this variety away from your skin as it can cause minor irritations.
Inca Ice is a variety that can grow up to three feet in height. The petals feature either creamy yellow or apricot colors highlighted with burgundy streaks inside. Since this type has more slender leaves, it becomes an ideal border plant for a garden. Inca Ice is one of the few that do best with mulching in the winter months.
Indian Summer is a striking variety that comes with bronze-colored leaves. The petals feature bright copper-orange or golden flower petals once bloomed. This plant grows up to over 28 inches tall and is great for attracting butterflies to your garden. Indian Summer does well in full sun or partial shade.
Since the Princess Fabian variety reaches up to one foot in height, they also do well in pots in containers. Its creamy white petals create a base for the light yellow insides of the flower and pop against the dark-green leaves. When planted outdoors, Princess Fabian prefers soil on the moist side and dull sun.
How to Grow Alstroemeria & Tips
Alstroemeria is an easy plant to grow. Here are some plant care tips and tricks to help keep your Alstroemeria at its healthiest.
Sunlight: Alstroemeria flowers should be planted in an area of your garden that is mostly sunny. They thrive when receiving full morning sun and some partial shade in the afternoons.
Water: These plants do best when they’re watered regularly. When first planted, keep the rhizomes (the underground stems) wet until you see the first shoots appear, then one-inch of water every week. After the plant has become more established, it can take less water. Avoid over-watering as this will lead to root rot.
Temperature: Autumn and spring are the best times for planting Alstroemeria where the ideal temperature ranges from 65-80°F. As temperatures get gradually warmer nearing the end of spring, greenhouses can help aid in preventing scorched leaves.
Toxicity: The Alstroemeria plant contains the toxin tulipalin, which can be harmful to all animals. Tulipalin is present in the sap of the cut part of the flower and can cause irritation on contact, and a reaction if swallowed. While these plants are considered non-toxic to pets, they can still cause unpleasant reactions to cats and dogs if ingested, such as mouth irritation, vomiting and digestive irritation.
To be safe, wear gloves when handling the Alstroemeria plant to avoid any potential skin irritation and avoid touching your hands and mouth if you do come into contact.
Pests & Problems
Pests: Because of their slightly toxic leaves and flowers, the Alstroemeria has few animal pests. However, insects can cause problems for the plant. The most common pests include aphids, slugs, spider mites and thrips. These pests can also carry and spread certain diseases to these plants.
Problems: While Alstroemerias are a hardier plant, freezing temperatures can still cause problems. Avoid planting in shady areas and move potted plants into shelter once colder months approach.
Fungi is a common problem that these plants can face. A common disease that can affect the plant is called Pythium root rot, where fungi cause stunted growth from wilted and weak stems. This type of fungi grows when the soil is too moist for a long period of time. In addition, a gray mold called Botrytis Blight can damage the plants if they’re planted too close together. A lack of space between plants can lead to poor air filtration, causing a warm and moist environment that’s ideal for mold growth.
If your Alstroemeria has signs of any disease, be sure to remove and discard all parts affected.
Repotting & Propagation
Repotting: When repotting your Alstroemeria, water the soil a few hours before you intend to remove it from the pot. Apply enough water so that you can see it come out of the drainage hole. This will allow the soil to stay intact when you remove the plant.
Then, remove the Alstroemeria from the container, making sure to keep the roots and soil intact. Spread out the roots of the plant into its new location, whether it be the ground or a new container. Carefully pack the soil around the plant and add one inch of water. While it gets established after repotting, make sure to water the plant every two to three days while it gets used to the new environment (about three weeks). After that, you can gradually water it less.
Propagation: There are two methods when propagating Alstroemeria flowers. You can plant the seeds, or you can dig up the bulbs and divide the rhizomes. To do this successfully, cut the plant six inches above ground ten days before you plan to retrieve the bulbs. When you dig up the bulbs, be sure to pull out all of the roots and growing points.
As you replant the bulbs, place them six inches down into pots or 12 to 18 inches apart in the ground. After about 10-15 weeks, your Alstroemeria will begin to flower and continue to do so for two to four years.
Alstroemeria care is important after you’ve planted it. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to aftercare:
Use fertilizer: Once in bloom, use high potash fertilizer each week during the growing season.
Pull stems instead of cut: To promote new blooms, pull stems from the base of the plant rather than cutting them. Cutting them avoids any damage to the plant. Also, take off the dead flowers so that your Alstroemeria doesn’t multiply out of control by self-seeding.
Utilize mulch: Mulch is great for keeping Alstroemeria warm in colder climates. This should be done for the first two winters after you’ve planted it. To avoid rotting, keep the mulch at least two inches away from the base.
Common Alstroemeria Flower Care Questions and Concerns
Is Alstroemeria an annual or perennial?
The majority of Alstroemeria flowers are perennials, which means they’re long-lived, cold-hardy plants that return year after year. Once planted, perennials require less water, which makes them great plants for those who garden in dryer areas or want to reduce water consumption.
Tip: Plant perennials that are native to your area. This helps welcome pollinators and local wildlife to your Alstroemeria.
Should Alstroemeria be cut back?
Unlike many other perennials, Alstroemeria will remain green in warm climates until the bloom period. It’s recommended to not cut these plants to the ground since it will negatively affect the vegetative growth and stunt the flower blooms until the next season.
Tip: If the stems have died during colder winter months, they can be cut down to just the base to help tidy up the plant.
How long does Alstroemeria last?
Since Alstroemeria plants are perennials, they can survive for many years when planted properly in your garden. You can also take advantage of the flower cuttings, which can last around two weeks when placed in a vase.
Tip: To make Alstroemeria cuttings last longer, place your vase in a cooler place, away from drafts and direct sunlight. Be sure to also keep them away from fresh fruit and vegetables as they emit ethylene gas which is harmful to cut flowers.
What’s the best soil and fertilizer for Alstroemeria?
Acidic soil that is well-drained and includes organic matter such as manure or compost. When planting your Alstroemeria flower, use a general granular fertilizer.
Tip: When watering your Alstroemeria, be sure to not over-saturate or let the soil dry out between watering's.
Can you grow Alstroemeria in pots?
Alstroemeria flowers can be grown in pots or containers as long as they are large enough. If the pot is too small, it can cause the soil to overheat which prevents the flowers from blooming. Be sure to move your potted Alstroemeria to shelter once the colder months approach. Potted plants are more susceptible to cooler temperatures than ones that are planted in the ground.
Tip: Since most varieties of Alstroemeria flowers grow tall, plant the flower with support attached to the stem to keep it upright.
Whether you’re using your Alstroemeria as a houseplant or as a beautiful addition to your garden, this Alstroemeria care guide and tips will ensure it thrives for years to come — not to mention, it will make for the perfect floral gift or bouquet!