In Praise of Alstroemeria

Red Alstroemeria at Cothay Manor
Red Alstroemeria at Cothay Manor

It’s ironic we gardeners are often highly suspicious of plants that have the potential to be really happy and spread in our gardens, whilst lavishing energy, love and concern on ones that only ever hover on the edge of survival.

Creamy white Alstroemeria with Verbascum
Alstroemeria with Verbascum

Alstroemeria, sometimes called Lily of the Incas or Peruvian Lilies, fall into the first category. I have experience of seed grown plants establishing themselves a little better than I’d imagined, but many cultivars play with other flowers better than we might imagine, as some of these pictures show. If you’re looking for flower power and joie de vivre, they’re hard to beat.

Alstroemeria at Cobble Hey
Alstroemeria at Cobble Hey

If you get too many, you can always pull a few up or divide them for friends.

My sweetheart has some confined in a large pot that do fine in Mississippi’s demanding conditions. He lavishes no care on them, so far as I know – perhaps a jet of water now and again.

Alstroemeria with Penstemon
Alstroemeria with Penstemon at Arley Hall

The alstroemerias I’m sharing here are from large gardens where they have plenty of room to do their thing, but they are a classic choice even for relatively small cottage gardens. I love their sunny nature, colour combinations and markings.

Yellow alstroemeria
Alstroemeria at Parcevall Hall Gardens

And that’s to say nothing of their value as a cut flower: they can outlast three back-to-back bouquets of garden roses. What’s not to love?

Shared for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

21 Replies to “In Praise of Alstroemeria”

  1. I confess to being one of those: suspicious of those plants that grow with high spirits, and obsessed with those that struggle to survive me. Gardeners don’t always make sense. This display of alstroemeria is breathtaking, and of course I am totally smitten by the white. The charm of the Manor roof doesn’t hurt either. Lovely image!

    1. I have a tendency not to be suspicious enough, which means there’s always a price to pay. My front garden is full of bluebells gaily making seeds, oblivious to the fact that there is no root room for them. If they were the wild kind, I would find somewhere to shake them, but they are not. It is not all that pretty a sight when the leaves fade.

  2. This was the main cut flower crop I worked with in the summer of 1986 while I was still in school. Those in the landscape here are similar cultivars to those grown for cut flower. However, those in the nurseries are low and compact garden varieties with weird rubbery foliage. They look neater in the garden, and happen to produce stems that are sufficiently long for cutting. I just am not as keen on them.

  3. They seem indestructible with it. I accidentally sliced one in half horizontally this year while struggling to move it (those fleshy roots are awesome). It still survives!

  4. I’ve asked myself why I don’t grow this plant, and also why I see it so rarely in garden centers, while it is everywhere in flower shops. True that there is a tendency to prize difficult plants while the easy ones get little appreciation. The difficult plants, if they thrive, reflect glory on the gardener, I suppose.

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