Alstroemeria, which is also known as a Peruvian lily, is a flower that comes in many colors. This plant can have white, red, orange, and purple blooms. It is most recognized by its unique leaves, which twist upside down and are said to associate the plant with the ups and downs of friendship. Originating from Chile, there are over 20 different species of this plant.
In this guide, we are going to look at the best ways to care for the Peruvian lily as well as some other growing tips that you will want to know about.
How to Plant and Care for Alstroemeria
Caring for this plant takes a lot of effort, but when you are able to give it the proper care, the gorgeous blooms that you will see will really make it worth your while. In general, this plant will require the following conditions to thrive in your garden.
- Soil Requirements – When you choose a type of soil in which to plant your Peruvian lily, you will want to make sure that it is composed of at least 70 percent organic material. The other 30 percent can be made up of perlite. The plant will need air to reach the roots, and it will also need to have a good drainage system. In addition, in order to help protect the roots from the heat of the summer sun, you will want to add a layer of mulch around the base of the plant that is about three inches thick.
- Light Requirements – If you lived in a location where the temperature is typically over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, then you will need to protect your plant from the hot afternoon sun. In areas that are colder than this, Peruvian lilies will grow in full sun. In most situations, the plant will grow best in partial sun that keeps the air between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Water Requirements – This is a plant that likes a lot of water. So, when it is first planted, the soil should remain wet. When the plant begins to grow, it should be watered once a week. In addition, you may want the soil to be moist but not overly wet.
- Fertilizer Requirements – A fully grown Peruvian lily can grow to be four feet high, but it may need some fertilizer to reach its full potential. When the plant has been growing for a period of two years, you may want to supplement the soil with fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Fertilizer should always be applied during the spring of the year.
- USDA Growing Zones – This is a flower that can be grown in any zone within the US, but it will grow best in zones seven through 10.
- Propagating – When you are ready to propagate this plant, there are two different methods that are commonly used. The first way is planting the seed of the Alstroemeria. This is the easiest way that you can grow a plant when you do not already have one in your garden. If you already own Peruvian lilies, you can dig up the bulbs and divide them. Before you do this, you will need to cut the top of the plant in order to get ready for propagation. A plant that has been growing for a year is likely to give you up to 15 rhizomes, while a plant that is two years or more in age can yield more than 25.
- Pruning – In general, this is a plant that does not require a lot of pruning. If you find dead flowers or stems around the plant, they can be trimmed or cut off to help preserve energy for the new bloom’s to grow.
Peruvian Lily Common Problems and Solutions
There are quite a few diseases that can affect your plant, some of the ones that you may encounter include:
Pythium Root Rot: This is a type of fungi that can form when the roots wet consistently. It can cause wilting, weak stems, and even stunt the growth of the plant. To allow your plant to recover from this disease, you will need to dry out the roots and allow them time.
Rhizoctonia Root Rot: This is a condition that can form when the soil holds too much water. It can cause the leaves to wilt and the stems to dry out. To fix the problem, make sure your soil is draining properly, and separate the infected plants from the healthy ones.
Gray Mold on Alstroemeria: this is a disease that looks like furry spores that will appear on the plant’s stem and leaves. It can transfer from plant to plant, so make sure to separate any infected Peruvian lilies from your garden.
Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus: This is a virus that can affect your plant, especially if aphids are present. There is no treatment for this virus, so if you see a pattern of lines or new spots on the leaves of the plant, you may want to remove them from your garden and clean your gardening tools with a bleach solution.
There are also quite a few different types of pests that will hinder your Peruvian Lily. Some of the more common pests include:
Aphids on Peruvian Lily: These are small little insects that like to suck on the stems and leaves of the plant. If you notice that the leaves of your plants are damaged, investigate to see if you find any evidence of aphids. In most situations, they can be simply washed off using a hose.
Harlequin Bugs: This is a type of shield bug that is black with yellow spots. This is an insect that can drain fluids from the leaves, which leaves yellow and white spotty areas that will eventually turn brown and cause the leaves to die.
Snails and Slugs: These are also common when it comes to the Peruvian lily, and the easiest way to tell if they are present is to look for a slime that they leave behind. They can create irregular holes in the leaves and the flowers.
Spider Mites on Peruvian Lily: These are very small insects that are nearly invisible to the naked eye. They can most often be found on the underside of the leaves, so if you see any discoloration on the leaves or the leaves start to fall off you may want to look for spider mites. In most cases, they can be washed away with soap and water.