Many people are looking for plants that can grow well in different types of soil, but they don't know which plant is the best for them.
How about you take a look at the flamboyant Peruvian lily? This plant is not only easy to grow but will also adorn your garden with beautiful flowers of different colors. So if you love a splash of color, this is the plant for you. Read on to understand how to grow and care for it.
What is Peruvian Lily?
The common name Peruvian lily is assigned to several species in the Alstroemeria genus. Peruvian lily, also known as Alstroemeria, is a perennial flower, an herbaceous plant belonging to the family of Alstroemeriaceae.
Peruvian lily flowers are commonly used in mixed flower bouquets, where the funnel-shaped flowers with warm brown freckles are among the last blossoms to fade.
Growing Peruvian Lilies
Planting Peruvian lilies isn't that complex. When planting, you need to consider some of its ideal growing conditions, including soil preferences, light requirements, and the preferred temperature range. You can also grow Peruvian lily in a container. If you want to control its invasive characteristics, you can plant your lilies in large containers.
You can plant Peruvian lily bulbs or seeds. Before planting lily bulbs, you should wait until after the last autumn frost. If you plant them too early, they will sprout too soon and die during winter.
Peruvian Lily Care
Caring for Peruvian lilies isn't that difficult. With the right treatment, your lilies will grow in no time. Here are some tips to follow when caring for Peruvian lily:
Peruvian lily should be planted in partial shade or indirect sunlight for the best growth. If you want to plant it in direct sunlight, make sure that the location is shady during the hottest part of the day. However, Peruvian lilies also flower abundantly in full sun, at least six hours of sun daily.
They'll only appreciate some shade during the peak of the afternoon sun. Autumn and spring are usually the best times for planting before the soil gets hot. In early spring, when temperatures are changing, using a greenhouse can help avoid getting the scorched leaves.
Peruvian lilies like fertile, well drained soil. You can accomplish both of these qualities by improving your soil with an organic amendment like compost or leaf mold. Although they prefer a slightly acidic pH, these lilies also do well in most ordinary soil. Peruvian lilies also grow well in raised beds or using the lasagna gardening method.
Watering Peruvian Lily
Peruvian lilies need regular moisture, especially as summer temperatures heat up. Make sure you water your lilies once a week or when you notice the first top inches of the soil are dry. Don't overwater them as these flowers are susceptible to root rot when the roots sit in wet soil consistently.
Temperature and Humidity
Alstroemeria likes temperatures in the 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit range. Temperature above 90 degrees can cause the plants to produce blind stems and foliage without flowers. However, you can prevent these blind stems by planting tubers in partial shade or in an extra area that receives only morning sun.
In humid areas, it's important to provide adequate spacing to help air circulation that will carry away spores of fungal diseases like botrytis.
One feeding in early spring will prep your Peruvian lily for the growing season. Use a balanced flower fertilizer like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium during the growing season to keep your Peruvian lilies productive in the garden.
You can also provide fertility via a mixture of organic additives like manure and compost tea. Pay close attention to your soil's pH level since higher than seven will result in iron and manganese deficiencies and yellowing of leaves.
Pruning Peruvian Lilies
It's a good idea to trim the stems of dead flowers and save the plant's energy for making new ones. So, cut Peruvian lilies back after blooming to prevent the plant from directing energy into seed production. Where plants are spread too much, pull up less productive stems to encourage younger plants from newly formed tubers to flourish.
Propagating Peruvian Lilies and Growing the from Seed
Peruvian lily can be propagated in many ways, but the easiest and the most reliable method is by dividing the tuberous roots. Alstroemeria seeds can be planted into the garden in early spring before new growth begins. Cut off dead growth or cut back green growth using pruners to a height of 6 inches.
Use a shovel to dig several inches around the clump you want to divide. Then, lift your entire clump from the ground and carefully brush off excess soil. Take care not to break the brittle roots. You can replant immediately in the garden if possible.
Dig a shallow hole, place the tubers over a small mound of dirt in the center of the hole, then cover with about 2 inches of soil.
Types of Peruvian Lily
Fougere alstroemeria has large white flowers with purple flushes in the throat, streaked with burgundy. It grows 24 to 28 inches tall.
Alexis alstroemeria has cheerful sunset tones that glow in the summer border and the bouquet. It tops out at about 18 inches tall.
This variety has bright mauve-pink flowers with creamy yellow throats. It's a relatively tall variety, growing up to 36 inches.
Indian Summer is an old variety that's still popular today. It has coppery orange flowers and grows 28 inches tall.
This variety boasts bright pink flowers with yellow and burgundy throats. It's a small variety, 9 to 12 inches tall.
Potting and Repotting Peruvian Lily
Peruvian lily can thrive in large containers, and for many gardeners, this is the preferred growing method. Pair them with trailing plants that enjoy the same growing conditions, such as sweet potato vines, million bells, or love-lies-bleeding.
Use any commercial potting mix for your Peruvian lilies, and select an ample size pot. You can use larger pots in warmer climates where Peruvian lilies will remain outside year-round. Any pot material will be fine but ensure the container has good drainage.
Peruvian lilies cannot be moved indoors to grow as houseplants, but in colder climates, you can bring pots indoors for winter and store them as dormant plants in a cool, dry location. Keep the soil very dry to avoid rot. Dig, divide and replant the tubers at the end of the winter, use fresh potting soil when replanting.
Peruvian lilies require no winter protection in warmer regions, other than clipping back foliage as it dies back. Gardeners in colder zones sometimes grow Peruvian lilies by digging and storing the tubers in the winter. Dig up your garden plants in the fall before the ground freezes.
Shake off the loose soil and place the tubers in a paper bag filled with peat moss and hang it in a dry, cool location for the winter. Replant in the spring after the soil warms to at least 60 degrees.
How to Get Peruvian Lily to Bloom
Peruvian lilies are not difficult to grow, and they'll bloom well if given adequate water, light, and fertilizer. Potted plants will bloom better if fed every two weeks with a balanced 6-6-6 fertilizer. They'll stop blooming after six years, and if this happens, lift and divide the root clumps and replant to create new plants.
Common Pests and Diseases
Pythium Root Rot
This common problem is usually caused by too wet and cold soil. These fungi cause wilting, stunted growth, and weak stems that collapse. A clean bed with one part composted pine bark mixed with four parts of soil is good prevention. Remove and dispose of any affected plants.
Rhizoctonia Root Rot
Wilted leaves and dried stems that don't respond to watering could indicate an infection of this fungi. Make sure you provide a well draining soil, plus working some compost into the top ten inches can help. Make sure you feed your plant carefully to help you get rid of this fungi.
Also known as gray mold, it shows up during the warmer damp days as furry, gray brown spores. Curing this fungal disease is quite hard. They transmit on wet plants, so keep some space for the plants for air. Also, direct irrigation away from stems and below the leaves and flowers, and remove any debris or damaged plants.
Diseases like tomato spotted wilt virus and Hippeastrum mosaic virus cause patterns of lines and spots on foliage. They have no treatment, not unless you destroy the affected plants. You also need to disinfect your gardening tools with a diluted bleach solution.
FAQs on How to Grow and Care for Peruvian Lily
How long do Peruvian lilies grow?
Peruvian lilies will live almost indefinitely in a favorable garden location, as the tuberous roots will gradually spread and colonize the area.
How should you use Peruvian lilies in the landscape?
Peruvian lilies are ideal for borders or naturalizing. The plants grow best if they're planted behind other species that disguise the base of the plants.
Are Peruvian lilies a good match to cats?
Not really, Peruvian lilies are among the popular houseplants that are toxic to cats. However, they’re not as toxic to cats as other houseplants.
Final Thought on How to Grow and Care for Peruvian Lily
As you can see, growing Peruvian lilies is not that much work and will give you a beautiful array of showy blooms as well as the mysterious shape of their foliage. It is an attractive, vigorous plant used in many landscape applications.