Alstroemeria ... Can a flower with such an unusual name, in which there is something from the stars and mountain peaks, from the raging sea waves and impenetrable forests, be ordinary? Of course not! Alstroemeria is one of the few plants that combines the proud beauty of lilies and the exotic grace of orchids. These flowers can become a real decoration of a flower bed, porch or gazebo, or even a room. Alstroemeria in a cut costs about two weeks - no other plant with such bright and delicate flowers can do this.
Alstroemeria is a natural perennial native to the South American continent. The genus Alstroemeria has at least 75 wild species, most of which grows in the forests and meadows of Peru, Chile and Brazil. In nature, these charming plants rarely reach a height of 1 meter, while cultivated, varietal and hybrid alstromerias, of which there are at least 200 species, grow two-meter high.
Alstroemeria shoots are formed of two types:
- Vegetative - with large numerous leaves collected at the top in the likeness of a whorl.
- Reproductive - with evenly spaced small and rare leaves of lanceolate-pointed form.
Alstroemeria rhizomes are fleshy, fibrous, and highly branched. Most of them have a fusiform shape with a thickness in the widest part of about 15 mm, and their length is about 150 mm. The plant rhizomes contain a record amount of starch.
Alstroemeria flowers are small, reach 5 cm in diameter, various coloring. Their form in botany is called a zygomorph. They are collected in complex umbrellas, each of which contains from 10 to 25 flowers.
Alstroemeria: cultivation features
Use in landscaping and floristry
Alstroemeria is a very unpretentious plant that grows well and blooms in open space in the garden and in pot culture. It is also widespread in industrial cultivation in greenhouse conditions. Alstroemeria undersized can be grown as a border plant, She is good in mixed landings with beautifully flowering summers. Tall alstroemerias are good in the background in the flower beds. They look great on the green surface of the lawn in the company of lilies or roses.
The plant feels great with container growing, so it is often used for landscaping balconies and verandas. Flowerpots with miniature alstroemeria can be placed on the stairs, placed on window sills or placed in the garden.
The main advantage of alstroemeria is the long-term preservation of an attractive appearance in the cut, as well as the absence of smell. Thanks to this, the plant is grown mainly for making bouquets.
Alstroemeria will make a good company with roses and gerberas, complement the beauty of chrysanthemums and shade the charm of irises. It is alstroemeria in mixed bouquets that plays the role of the creator of a large volume and density of the composition.
Varieties and types of alstroemeria
In nature, there are several dozen species of alstroemeria, which differ in the size of the flower and the height of the stems and peduncles, as well as in their habitat. The most popular alstroemeria among flower growers and breeders:
- Alstroemeria aurea - The indigenous inhabitant of the highlands of Chile, which tolerates frosts of -12 degrees and grows up to half a meter in height. The color of the petals varies from golden yellow to bright orange.
- Alstroemeria brasiliensis - Brazilian alstroemeria with a spear-shaped petals of red or bronze color, growing up to 2 m in height.
- Alstroemeria nana - Peruvian appearance, characterized by miniature size. The height of the plant rarely exceeds 10 cm, but at the same time it is dotted with yellow flowers with black strokes and spots.
- Alstroemeria psittacina - Peruvian lily hails from the hottest areas of Argentina, whose orange flowers adorn the green border.
In addition, varietal, but most often hybrid forms of alstroemeria are used in the garden and pot culture, which allow any flower garden or room to bloom as much as possible. Of the 200 types of varieties and hybrids, the following were especially popular with flower growers:
|Variety / hybrid||Plant description||Flowering period||Flower description|
|Virginia||Loves the sun, but tolerates shading, height up to 70 cm||June - November||White, large, with a slight waviness along the edge of the petals|
|Beauty||Height from 130 to 170 cm, powerful, with straight stems||In the spring, repeated - from September||Lilac, sometimes with a bluish-purple hue|
|Harmony||Strong-growing stalk variety with a height of 160 cm in height||The first wave - from April to June, the second - from September to frost||Bronze petals with a pronounced pattern of strokes of black color|
|Canaria||Tall variety with thick stems and dense foliage, height from 1.5 meters||The first wave - from March to June, the second - in the first half of autumn||Canary yellow with small dots.|
|King Cardinal||Medium growth strength with high peduncles (up to 150 cm), which can lie down with a lack of light||It blooms from spring to cold||Scarlet, very beautiful flowers resembling orchids|
|Regina (Regina)||Tall variety (up to 2 m)||April - June, with repeated flowering in September||Pink, very beautiful flowers|
|White Wings||Tall plant (up to 200 cm) with large leaves and strong stems||All summer with a break of several weeks in July-August||Snow-white flowers of surprisingly beautiful shape|
Growing Alstroemeria: Choosing a Place and Care
Alstroemeria prefers slightly acidic or neutral soil with good air and water permeability. A plant grows and blooms better where sand is present in the ground or a good drainage system is created. The looseness and lightness of the soil is the key to excellent flowering, so you need to take care of this at the stage of choosing a place for alstroemeria.
It is recommended to plant alstroemeria according to the scheme 40 x 60 or 40 x 20 cm, depending on the size and strength of the growth of bushes. Watering it after planting should be moderate and regular, preventing the soil from drying out even on the surface. More attention should be paid to loosening and weeding. To avoid wasting time, it is better to use mulch - it drowns out weeds and creates a layer due to which the soil surface remains loose.
During the flowering period, wilted parts of alstroemeria need to be removed, and in autumn cut off the entire ground part at a height of 5-7 cm above the soil level. At this time, it is useful to mulch the beds with alstroemeria with humus or compost, and cover them with straw or lapnik from above. It is recommended to do this after the onset of cold weather, so that the plants do not protrude in the sun.
If there is a risk of freezing, the roots of alstroemeria can be placed together with a lump of earth in a cellar with a winter temperature of about 0 degrees.
Alstroemeria can be propagated by seed or division of an adult bush. For the seeds to germinate, they need stratification at a temperature of 2 to 5 degrees for 30 days. After that, they are placed in pots with fertile moist soil to a depth of not more than 1 cm. Keep them at a temperature of no more than 18 degrees in a covered form (under a film or glass). Received by sowing alstroemeria for 2-3 years bloom.
To get flowers the very next year, use the method of dividing the bush. To do this, before spring planting in the soil, large rhizomes of the plant are carefully cut from the mother plant. It is advisable to make sure that there is a kidney on the dividend. Sections are recommended to be treated with any disinfectant or sprinkled with charcoal. Plant them to a depth of not more than 20 cm.
How to care for alstroemeria
Alstroemeria is a bright and very unusual flower that can be grown even in cool conditions. It will adorn both a small front garden and a spacious flowering garden, becoming a bright touch on the background of summer trees or large garden plants.