How to Grow Peruvian Lilies


Peruvian lilies, also known as parrot lilies and lilies of the Incas, are a herbaceous perennial that are grown commercially on a large scale as their blossoms are long lasting when cut. Growing on stalks that range from the dwarf size to 24 inches tall, blossoms on Peruvian lilies are marked with streaks and spots of color, providing a beautiful contrast to their base colors of cream, yellow, orange, pink and red. Gardeners can choose from a wide range of species and cultivars, although they may not be able to get the varieties used by florists. They can be grown in pots or gardens and with the right conditions, will spread. With some protection, Peruvian lilies are winter hardy to USDA Zone 7, but will not survive winters in zones above Zone 7.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost or decayed organic matter
  • Peruvian lilies (pot-grown plants)
  • Water
  • Slow release fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Straw
  • Plant marker (optional)
  • Select and prepare the site for the Peruvian lilies. They need full sunlight and shelter, especially in colder climates and places with strong winds. They need free-draining soil with plenty of compost or decayed organic matter dug in several weeks before planting. They look beautiful when planted in large groupings. They make wonderful hothouse container plants.

  • Plant Peruvian lilies from established, pot-grown plants in the spring. Dig a hole that is larger that the container. Remove the lily carefully from the container it came in and put it in the hole. Fill the hole with soil and tamp down gently to remove air bubbles. Water to settle the soil. Depending upon the variety, space bedding plants 6 to 12 inches apart.

  • Water the newly planted flowers regularly throughout the spring and summer, but cut back on water after flowering. Apply slow-release fertilizer in the spring. These flowers have no known problems with insects or diseases.

  • Watch for Peruvian lilies to bloom; depending upon the variety some will bloom in spring, some in summer and others into the fall. After the flower fades, cut back the flower stem, but do not cut back the foliage.

  • Divide the flower in the fall, after the foliage has died back. Carefully dig up the rhizome, divide and replant 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart. Protect the crowns with straw during cold winters.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you divide the rhizomes, use a plant marker to indicate their location in your garden. This will prevent you from accidently disturbing them when planting other flowers.
  • Check the guarantee and return policies of the nursery, gardening center, catalog or garden website you buy plants. Some have a one year guarantee and require that you have the receipt, shipping invoice or shipping label. Michigan Bulb guarantees their plants for life and will either replace the plants or refund your money as long as you are gardening.

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