Alstroemeria is a common name for this flower, but many still know this as the Peruvian lily or Lily of the Incas. This genus contains about 120 species, which all, interestingly enough, are native to one of two countries in South America – Chile and Brazil. The species from Chile are winter growing plants and the species from Brazil are summer growing plants. All but 1 flowering plant species in this genus are perennial plants. The A. Taltalia Graminea is the only annual.
A member of the Alstroemeriaceae family, this flower was named by Carolus Linnaeus after his dear friend, Swedish medical professor Claus von Alstroemer. Alstroemer collected the flowers seeds to study them when he was on a botanical exploration to South America.
Most alstroemeria have a distinct look with their spots and streaks showcased against their 3 pink, yellow, cream, or other color petals. And in most cases, these streaked petals show up against 3 plainly colored sepals. They are also well known for their 5-7 distinctively long stamens.
Alstroemerias love water, so it is recommended that watering takes place weekly and that it gets plenty to drink without flooding the soil. If the soil temperature gets too high, this flower will substitute flower blooms for more tuberous roots. So use the water to keep the soil cool as well as for drinking. Plant Peruvian lilies in soil that drains well and is rich in nutrients; adding mulch to the soil will encourage drainage. This is important so the flower does not get root rot. Alstroemeria has an extensive, tubular root system, so space them at least 1 foot apart when planting. Expect to see blooms appear in late spring to early summer.
The alstroemeria is quickly becoming one of the more popular florist flowers used alone or in mixed bouquets. These lilies symbolize friendship, devotion and commitment, so they are sent for many occasions and to many recipients. They are also thought to symbolize good fortune and prosperity. Once cut, these flowers generally last 1-2 weeks in a vase with fresh water.