Discover the Meaning and Symbolism of the Alstroemeria Flower

shutterstock 1237881490 FloraQueen EN Discover the Meaning and Symbolism of the Alstroemeria Flower

The alstroemeria, or lily of the Incas, has enjoyed considerable success and a steadily growing reputation in recent years in gardens and pots to the point of being one of the best-selling summer flowers. The long flowering period with exotic accents is renewed from the end of May until October-November.

While most varieties are planted point in flowering pots, most of them multiply in our borders and can be cultivated very easily in fertile, loose soil, kept cool throughout the summer. Avoid places that are too dry and sunny, subject to the wind effect. If the climate is a little harsh, you can bring the pot in during the winter. When repotting or transplanting, you should avoid disturbing the brittle roots too much, especially in young plants.

Cut flowers are available all year round and have won the hearts of florists, who now have a wide range of colors available: white, red, pink, orange, yellow and mauve. They make up beautiful bouquets on their own but can be successfully combined with other flowers. Flowering lasts two to three weeks without stopping! To optimize the holding of your alstroemeria in bouquets, change the water every two or three days and remove the faded flowers and their stems as you go along.

As you read this, you can learn the following:

* Botanical Description
* Where to Plant Alstroemeria
* When and How to Plant Alstroemeria
* Maintenance and Watering
* Floral Associations and Fun Facts

Botanical Description

The alstroemeria, commonly known as the Inca lily or Peruvian lily, belongs to the family alstroemeriaceae (formerly liliaceae or amaryllidaceae) and includes about fifty species all originating from South America and mainly from the Andean countries. All the plants of the genus are perennials with tuberous and rhizomatous roots.

The tuft of the alstroemeria emits erect stems 30 cm to 1 m high, adorned with alternate, ribbed, or lanceolate leaves 10 to 12 cm long, shiny green to greyish green, sometimes even bronze with purple reflections. It spreads quite rapidly due to its tuberous roots, which are thin and brittle, sometimes also becoming invasive.

From June until frost in hybrids, the umbels of streaked and spotted flowers generously complete the robust stems. The clump completely disappears at the first frost. Thus, it is difficult to place it before it comes out of the ground in spring.

The bilaterally symmetrical flowers have six petals (three petals and three similar sepals), but with differences in color. Leaves slightly narrower than the sepals often have extensive, bright-yellow patches with brown streaks to attract pollinating insects. The flower has six curved stamens and one pistil. Some are even fragrant, like the Brazilian species alstroemeria caryophyllaceae, which gives off a surprising carnation scent.

Where to Plant Alstroemeria

The lilies of the Incas appreciate a location that enjoys the morning sun or half-shade under the bright shade of a foliage tree. They require a light, well-drained, well-worked soil, with a tendency to be sandy and not very calcareous, neutral to slightly acidic. The freshness of the land supports flowering, but they adapt quite well to dry soils in summer. They colonize quite quickly a clear undergrowth or a slope.

These plants are hardy if the soil does not remain waterlogged in winter. In cold regions, you can protect the stump by a thick mulch of leaves, dry peat, or fern fronds in the fall. Slugs and snails love young shoots that must be protected if you want to preserve the plant.

As the plant disappears entirely in the autumn, it is best to mark its location. Weed carefully by hand. Choose the area thoroughly; because once you establish them, alstroemeria does not like to be moved!

When and How to Plant Alstroemeria

Plant the alstroemeria in spring, between March and May, or even in early summer if you buy a potted plant. Avoid disturbing the roots at flowering time. Beware that young plants sold in pots take 2 or 3 years to form an opulent clump, except in new hybrids.

To plant your Alstroemeria:

* Place the plants 40 to 50 cm apart.
* Moisten the root ball to facilitate recovery.
* Dig a planting hole, two to three times the size of the root ball. Bring in some decomposed compost or organic fertilizer.
* Place the plant in the planting hole a little below ground level to give the roots more freshness.
* Make sure that the bulbs from the rhizome are placed vertically. Trim them if necessary, replace the soil, pack lightly, and water regularly.
* Spread a layer of mulch to keep the roots fresh. This will also limit the growth of weeds.

For a potted crop, place a 3-4 cm drainage layer at the bottom of the pot (gravel, pottery shards, etc.). Add a mixture of potting soil and non-calcareous garden soil.

Maintenance and Watering

Alstroemeria requires regular watering to maintain flowering. You should water at least once a week during the warm season to maintain impeccable and abundant flowering.

* Cut off wilted flowers to stimulate flowering even though most hybrids do not bear fruit.
* Add flowering plant fertilizer, especially on potted plants, to encourage flowering.

The plant is very resistant to pests and diseases. However, it is regularly attacked by slugs and snails in the spring. A fern mulch has a repulsive effect on these pests.

Floral Associations and Fun Facts

With its orchid-like appearance, the Inca lily is a sensation in different uses. The compact shapes highlight the edges of a flower bed, a path, or shine a semi-shaded slope covered with epimedium. Since they have a long flowering period, they can be cultivated as annuals.

The tall forms are perfect for occupying large mixed-border type beds. They combine splendidly with generous plants such as landscape roses, agapanthes (golden drop, silver moon), amaryllis, crocosmias, dahlias, echinacea, foxgloves or phlox. To lighten the scene, choose instead to mix them with the beautiful blooms of fuchsias magellanica and gauras.

Did you know that?

* The alstroemeria flower is the flower of happiness. It symbolizes the pleasure of being together, in friendship, as well as in love. Offering a bouquet of Peruvian lilies is a way to convey your wishes for happiness and prosperity!
* The genus alstroemeria honors the Swedish botanist and naturalist Clauss Alströmer who sent seeds of psittacea to Linnaeus from Spain.

Alstroemeria or Inca Lilies are summer perennials with an exotic look, very flowering, which replace bedding plants with splendor. They have many varieties with large trumpet-shaped flowers in a kind of attractive colors reminiscent of a myriad of butterflies. Its exceptional flowering can delight you, both on the balcony and in the flowerbed. They require a sunny or semi-shaded, warm situation, and a fresh, fertile, well-drained soil. Flowers are appreciated for their excellent vase holding and their spectacular colors.

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