The cut flower of all cut flowers, alstroemeria is a staple flower in almost all bouquets. With blooms that can last up to two weeks and a color palette almost as wide as the spectrum itself, it is easy to see why. This South American native has made itself into a commodity for the flower markets—and has even worked its way into home gardens.
The flowers of the alstroemeria plant are so interesting and diverse that they are often likened to that of orchid blooms. You can always find an alstroemeria to meet your design needs, thanks to the wide variety of color combinations available. The center three petals on these beautiful blooms feature streaks and speckles that almost remind you of whiskers. Some flowers come in multicolor blooms with brushstrokes of color. Speaking of brushstrokes, you can craft your very own pressed flowers with alstroemeria's amazing blooms!
Alstroemeria Care Must-Knows
Alstroemeria is a fairly easy plant to grow. The roots of the alstroemeria form tubers, which are a form of storage root. These tubers allow the plants to store up nutrients and water for times of need. This allows the plants to deal with drought and other stressful periods better than most.
Tuberous roots also mean that these plants are easy to divide and multiply. As the plants form large colonies, it's easy enough to dig them up and divide them. Make sure there are healthy tubers among the bunch, then simply replant and water well. In general, alstroemeria doesn't enjoy having their roots disturbed too often, so avoid dividing every year. With some of the more temperamental varieties and species, you may have to go a year or two after dividing with no blooms as the plants reestablish.
Like caring for any perennial, plant alstroemeria in well-drained soil that won't stay too wet. Because of their fleshy tuberous roots, alstroemeria is likely to rot in too much water. However, they do appreciate consistent moisture, especially during flowering, but once the plants are established, they can handle short droughts without a problem.
For the best display of flowers, make sure to grow these plants in full sun. Many varieties can handle part sun, but they are much more likely to flop and not be as floriferous. To prevent flopping, which is especially likely with older varieties and varieties grown for cut flowers, make sure to have some sort of support or stake to hold up the tall stalks.
Cut Flower Care
Growing alstroemeria in your home garden is a great way to supply cut flowers with minimal care. It's actually best to not cut alstroemeria blooms from the stem as you would any other cut flower. The best way to pick stems of blooms is to pull the stem out of the flower. Simply grasp the flower stalk at the base of the stem near the ground and pull upward until the whole stem comes up from the ground. This helps encourage the plant to form new shoots at the base. Cutting the stem halfway down (like you might any other bloom) can actually slow the growth of the plant. Once you pull the whole stem up, cut the stalk to the length you need, remove any lower foliage that might be sitting directly in the water, and place in your vase. You'll have blooms for weeks!
More Varieties of Alstroemeria
Alstroemeria Companion Plants
Sedums are nearly the perfect plants. They look good from the moment they emerge from the soil in spring and continue to look fresh and fabulous all growing season long. Many are attractive even in winter after their foliage dies and is left standing. They're also drought-tolerant and need very little, if any, care. They're favorites of butterflies and useful bees. The tall types are outstanding for cutting and drying. Does it get better than that? Only in the fact that there are many different types of this wonderful plant, from tall types that will top 2 feet to low-growing groundcovers that form mats. All thrive in full sun with good drainage. Ground cover types do a good job of suppressing weeds, but seldom tolerate foot traffic. Some of the smaller ones are best grown in pots or treated as houseplants.
Asters get their name from the Latin word for "star," and their flowers are indeed the superstars of the fall garden. Some types of this native plant can reach up to 6 feet with flowers in white and pinks but also, perhaps most strikingly, in rich purples and showy lavenders. Not all asters are fall bloomers. Extend the season by growing some of the summer bloomers also. Some are naturally compact. Others are tall types that grow more than 2 feet and benefit from staking or an early-season pinching or cutting back by about one-third in July or so to keep the plant more compact.
Miscanthus is one of the most prized of ornamental grasses. One particular cultivar, 'Morning Light', sums up much of its appeal: This grass is stunning when backlit by the sun, either rising or setting. Statuesque miscanthus makes dense clumps of arching grassy foliage in an assortment of widths, decoration, and fineness, according to variety. Erect, dramatic plumes of flower spikelets rise among the leaves or well above them and last beautifully through the winter. Site miscanthus with good drainage and plenty of space in sun or light shade.