Image by Isa Sorensen
By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener
Peruvian lily plants (Alstroemeria), also known as Lily of the Incas, are striking late spring or early summer, half-hardy perennial bloomers that are available in a myriad of colors including pink, white, orange, purple, red, yellow and salmon. Flowers resemble azaleas and make a beautiful addition to an indoor bouquet. Keep reading to learn more about how to plant a Peruvian lily in the garden.
How to Plant a Peruvian Lily
Starting Peruvian lily bulbs, which are widely available online or in home and garden centers, is the easiest way of growing Peruvian lilies, although they can also be started from seed.
Peruvian lily plants need lots of space as they can become invasive. Mature plants grow to 4 feet high and 2 feet wide. Plant the rhizomes in slightly acidic, well draining soil, at a depth that is three times their height and 12 inches apart. If you have sandy soil, you should plant your Peruvian lily bulbs two inches deeper. Amending the soil with organic material will give the rhizomes plenty of nutrients.
Peruvian lilies prefer some sun each day and will tolerate shaded locations, especially in very hot climates.
Peruvian Lily Flower Care
Growing Peruvian lilies is not difficult, nor is Peruvian lily flower care. These easy to keep plants thrive when given a balanced 6-6-6 fertilizer throughout the year.
Provide plenty of water for these lilies but do not overwater. You can also add some mulch each spring for protection and to help with moisture retention.
If plants dry out, you can cut them back to 4 inches. They should recover and come back quickly. Additional Peruvian lily flower care includes pinching off any leaves that begin to turn yellow before the flower dies.
Divide Peruvian lilies by digging up rhizomes and cutting off sections in the fall after they bloom.
Peruvian lily plants have few disease or pest problems.
If Peruvian lilies are not grown in USDA zone 8 though 11, it is recommended that they be dug up and stored for the winter.
Trim leaves before digging up the rhizomes, being very careful not to damage the roots. Place the roots, along with some soil, in a container with some peat moss and store them in an area between 35 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit. You can replant the Peruvian lily bulbs in the garden the following spring.