Also known as Peruvian lilies, Alstroemeria are among the most widely grown and extensively hybridised perennials. Part of the reason is that these beautiful, straight stemmed flowering plants are the ultimate cut flowers for bouquets.
Inca Alstroemerias hail from Konst, one of the foremost cut flower breeders in the world, who have developed an extensive collection of Alstroemerias for florists. But in addition, these talented breeders have also come up with a selection ideal for the home gardener.
As our gardens have got smaller, breeders have selected plants that are more ‘dwarf’, but produce more and more large and perfectly formed trumpet flowers on shorter sturdier stems. The Inca Alstroemerias of the ‘micro’ category grow around 30cm tall and wide. Examples include new releases Candy and Magic, and favourites like Vienna, Gold Rush and Lemon Drop. Vibrant red Bandit is the next size up, ‘compact’ at around 40cm tall and wide.
Incas grow from underground tubers and will ‘clump up’ over time with favourable conditions, but are well-mannered garden plants which don’t become invasive (as older varieties were inclined to do).
Inca Alstroemerias prefer a sunny to part shade position with friable well-drained soil. Adding compost and perlite to heavy soils can pay dividends. Overly dry conditions will see these plants retreat to their underground tubers as a survival mechanism, flushing again when more moist and warm conditions return. If they are in the right spot and kept watered, Incas will bloom from spring until well into autumn.
Gathering flowers for indoors is best done by ‘tugging’ stems from the base as this triggers the tuber to produce more flowers. Then it is simply the case of tidying up the raw stem with a fresh clean cut to the desired length and removing any leaves below water level. Your flowers will easily last two to three weeks if you occasionally re-cut the stems and refresh the vase water.
For more information visit www.livingfashion.co.nz and search Alstroemeria