Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily; Lily of the Incas)

Alstroemeria is a genus belonging to the Alstroemeriaceae plant family, consisting of over 50 different species of flowering plants.

These plants come from South America, but they are grown all over the world for their beauty and bright colors.

Alstroemeria At A Glance

These lovely plants are usually referred to as lilies, but they are not true lilies, as they aren’t part of the Lilium genus.

Nearly all plants from this genus come from eastern Brazil or Chile, and have naturalized in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the world.

There is only one annual species within the genus, Alstroemeria graminea, which comes from the Atacama Desert, and the rest are perennials.

You can recognize these plants by their flowers, which are shaped like a trumpet.

They come in a kaleidoscope of color, consisting of 3 sepals and 3 petals, with speckles and often different colored markings at the center of each flower.

It’s worth mentioning that the sap of these plants can be dangerous.

If you get any on your skin, this can result in quite a few problems, so always wear plastic or nitrile gloves if you need to cut them for any reason.

It’s worth knowing that gloves which are made from vinyl don’t protect you enough, as the chemicals within the plant’s sap can seep through them!

Alstroemeria Name Meaning

The genus name honors the Swedish baron Clas Alströmer, who was a student and friend of Carl Linnaeus, and collected plants from Southern Europe for him.

He also set up a botanical garden and museum near Gothenburg. 

The common name Peruvian Lily comes from the resemblance to a true lily, where both feature trumpet-like flowers, prominent anthers, bright colors, and speckles.

Alstroemeria Flower Significance

Peruvian Lilies symbolize devotion, platonic affection, good luck, wealth, prosperity, and success.

Peruvian Lily Uses

These fantastic plants have a wealth of ornamental value, and it also helps that the flowers are very long-lasting when cut for bouquets.

With the wealth of different colors available, this has cemented their popularity with florists across the world, and they are often given as part of a large arrangement.

Alstroemeria Growing Requirements

Alstroemeria form from bulbs, and are hardy in USDA zones 5 through to 11.

The majority bloom through summer and fall, and can reach between 20cm and 4 feet tall, depending on the type you go for.

These plants require well-draining soil to stop the bulbs from rotting, which preferably has plenty of nutrients, and stays moist.

You can grow Alstroemerias in a bright position or in partial shade, and it helps that they are very low-maintenance plants, which mainly look after themselves.

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