Alstroemeria

The Alstroemeria flower is commonly referred to by one of three nicknames – the Parrot Lily, Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas. It can be a tricky plant to grow in the UK as many avid gardeners know only too well, but persevere and it will be well worth the effort when it does finally flower in all its glory.

Description
Colours range from pinks and reds to whites and yellows and the petals tend to have striking markings. Alstroemerias are often described as miniature lilies.

Habitat
This South American flower originated predominantly from tropical and subtropical countries like Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

Availability
Alstroemeria flowers tend to bloom in the period between the end of spring and at the start of summer if planted in a sunny area. Ensure you water well straight after planting and on a regular basis if rainfall is at a minimum.

Species
The Alstroemeria genus consists of roughly 50 perennial species and was named after Clas Alströmer, a Swedish naturalist who travelled through Europe in the late 1700s collecting plants for botanist Carl Linnaeus.

Parts of the Alstroemeria plant contain toxins that cause eye irritation, so be careful when handling and wash your hands thoroughly. Seek medical attention if you endure any skin irritation.

Care Tips
It is advisable to make sure Alstroemeria flowers receive a plentiful supply of water as well as an organic liquid fertiliser. Dig them to a depth of 15-20cm. Store in a greenhouse if possible as the flowers thrive in warm conditions.

Did you know?
Alstroemeria flowers are thought to represent friendship and good fortune, and are sometimes given on Mother’s Day.

Somewhat surprisingly, Alstroemeria flowers are unscented.

Exposure to high temperatures for an extended period of time prompts the Alstroemeria plant to stop producing flowers.

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