Alstroemeria, the lily of the Incas

The Lily of the Incas or Alstroemeria, also called the Peruvian lily, is appreciated for its magnificent blooming.

Essential Alstroemeria facts

Name – Alstroemeria
Family – Liliaceae (lily family)
Type – perennial

Height – 12 to 32 inches (30 to 80 cm)
Exposure – sun, part sun
Soil – ordinary, rather rich

Flowering – June to September

Planting Alstroemeria

Before starting with the growing of Alstroemeria, best to start with young plants that are already formed, purchased in nursery pots, preferably during the months of April or May.

Alstroemeria directly in the ground

It is recommended to plant Alstroemeria in spring, and planting your alstroemeria in fall is possible if your climate has mild enough winters to permit it.

Whichever the option, always avoid days when the air is freezing cold or sweltering hot for planting.

  • Bury the roots deep into the ground.
  • Cover with a mix of soil mix and garden soil.
  • Water regularly.

Since this plant can take slightly acidic soil, you can add both fresh and used coffee grounds in the garden.

Alstroemeria in pots

Repotting in spring will let the plant develop well.

Select a flower plant soil for this.

Protect the pot in winter because the roots will suffer more from the cold than if they had been directly planted in the ground.

Where should the Alstroemeria be set up?

This plant loves slightly shade-covered emplacements or sunny spots but that don’t get too hot.

Both in pots and directly in the ground, prefer light sun and a spot that seems sheltered enough from wind.

Propagating Alstroemeria

To keep your Alstroemeria as long as possible, proceed to divide the crown after the blooming but take care while handling the roots, because they are quite fragile.

Alstroemeria division is preferably performed on specimens that are at least 2 or 3 years old.

Pruning and caring for Alstroemeria

Once properly settled in, Alstroemeria or Lily of the Incas only requires very little attention and care.

After the planting, it bodes well to water regularly but without excess so that roots don’t get flooded, we’ve seen they were quite fragile.

Afterwards, every spring, add flower plant fertilizer in order to intensify the blooming.

Pruning Alstroemeria

  • Eliminate stems with wilted flowers regularly.
  • Cut back as short as you can once the leaves have withered, and not before this.

In case of winter that is colder than usual, it is best to protect the base of the plant with dead leaf mulch.

Wonderful pink alstromeria blooming in a cluster.

All there is to know about the Alstroemeria

Alstroemeria is a flower that belongs to the Liliaceae or lily family, or to the Alstroemeriaceae family depending on the classification.

Its buds open up to reveal flame-tongued and brightly colored petals that remind us of bird-of-paradise feathers.

Any other reason to fall in love with Alstroemeria? It symbolizes friendship.

It is often called Lily of the Incas or Peruvian Lily because of its geographical point of origin. Indeed, the Andes mountain range is where it particularly feels at home.

Among the main Alstroemeria species, one can find

  • Alstroemeria aurea – Lily of the Incas
  • Alstroemeria hybrid
  • Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’
  • Alstroemeria ligtu var Ligtu
  • Alstroemeria pelegrina L.
  • Alstroemeria psittacina Lehm.
  • Alstroemeria pulchella L. f.
  • Alstroemeria ‘Summertime’

In a flower bed or as a cut flower in a vase, it is extremely striking.

Smart tip about Alstroemeria

The lifespan of Alstroemeria in a bouquet or vase tops that of almost all other plants.

Alstroemeria, pink with yellow inside and black spots, close-up.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Sun-colored Alstroemeria by Kevin Cannings ★ under Pixabay license
Cluster of pink alstroemeria by Pablo Valerio ★ under Pixabay license
Close-up of an alstroemeria flower by Nicolas Raymond ★ thanks to Freestock.ca CC BY 3.0