How to Care for an Alstroemeria

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Caring for alstroemeria, which is native to Peru, involves providing it with plenty of moisture but good drainage, and not allowing it to freeze in the winter. Create a hospitable environment for the alstroemeria plant with help from a sustainable gardener in this free video on flower care.

Part of the Video Series: Flower Gardening
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Video Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we're going to talk about how to grow an alstroemeria, one of my favorite plants from South America. And in order to grow it we need to find out where it's native and it's conditions. So alstroemeria or an Incan lily is native to the Peru. So it likes mountainous conditions, good drainage, lots of rain, lots of water but yet good drainage. And it can handle a little bit of frost but if it freezes hard it will die out. So when you're growing it in other parts of the world you've got to take all of those considerations into account. You want to have good drainage. You don't want to have it just sitting in clay. You want to have good composted organic material because it grows in the forests of Peru. And I love to think that the Incans developed it. Thousands of years ago before anyone else in the world was really developing and hybridizing plants the Incans were all over it. And it's one of the most beautiful plants in the world. Now alstroemeria are really an interesting plant. They're considered a bulb because they go dormant for part of the season. So they go and die back completely in cool climates in the winter. And then in warmer climates actually when it's dry and hot in the summer they'll go dormant. Okay so when you're dividing it out you'll see that there's all these tubers. And they grow from these weird looking tubers. And so they'll just keep multiplying up in a pot. This one's just totally full of tubers. So you want to plant those back down. And I plant them sideways. So if you've just got the tuber plant them sideways. And even the little pieces, not all the time will they come up, but sometimes even the little pieces will come up. And so you want to put them in warm shade. A lot of times they'll burn in full hot sun if you're in a warmer climate. If you're in a colder climate you can do a little more shade. And so the key is you want to have, you need to have a tuber to have a start. So once it's been cut off like that it's not going to regrow. Sometimes it will though. I have tried and they'll start running roots and you can get them to grow. But usually you need that tuber to get a start. Now the trick with the alstroemeria, too, in taking care of them is don't just cut off the dead flowers. Actually pull them. By pulling them then it will encourage new growth and you'll get more flowers that way. And then it'll give it more chance and energy to grow more. Or you can just leave it and let it die back in the fall. Cut it back, let it mulch itself and it'll come back every year. Even in the northwest I've lost them over the winter because they just rot out on me and they can't handle even a heavy, heavy freeze. So you can leave them in a pot, leave the pot in the garage and keep them dry but not too dry either. And wet but not too wet. And then just transplant them and start them in the spring every year. But they're a beautiful addition to your garden.

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