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Home & garden.

16 August 2021

How to grow alstroemeria

Beautiful in borders and the vase, discover our best varieties of alstroemeria and tips for how to grow them.
CT
Ceri Thomas
Alstroemeria

Alstroemeria are beautiful perennials that are ideal for summer borders and as cut flowers in a vase. They’ve benefitted immensely from recent breeding work and the newer varieties are long-flowering, and come in a range of shades and patterns. Bred in the Netherlands, the Summer Paradise series, which all have ‘Summer’ in their name, standout in particular.

Which? Gardening magazine grew a range of popular varieties in the north and south of the UK over two years to see which would give us the best display and be hardy enough to get through UK winters.


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Key facts

PLANT TYPE Herbaceous perennial

POSITION Full sun or partial shade

SOIL Fertile and free-draining

How to grow alstroemeria: month by month

January
February
March
April
May
June




PLANT
FLOWERING
July
August
September
October
November
December
FLOWERING
FLOWERING
FLOWERING
FLOWERING
FLOWERING/MULCH

Best alstroemeria varieties

Which members can log in now to see the full results and which are our Best Buy varieties. If you're not a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Best Buy alstroemeria for pots
What it looks like
Variety name
Height x spread
35 x 45cm
Alstroemerias usually have stunning flowers, but this variety stood out in our trial as the prettiest of the bunch. The flowers were quite small but there were masses of them. The pale-cream petals had a cherry-pink throat with flushes of yellow and distinctive dark markings, which was very striking. The plants were healthy and filled the pot well, and kept flowering from early July into September. Bees loved them. Peak flowering: Jul-Sep
What it looks like
Variety name
Height x spread
35 x 45cm
If you like a blaze of colour from your alstroemerias then you’ll love this variety. The flowers are a deep orange, streaked with red and purple with strong brown markings toward the throat and fiery red edges. Even the buds appear red and purple as soon as they develop. The flowers stood out well against the deep-green leaves and the plant filled the pot to form a mound of colour from July until the first frosts in October. Peak flowering: Jul-Sep
What it looks like
Variety name
Height x spread
35 x 50cm
Despite a wealth of colour from the other varieties on test, this variety really shone, with almost glowing scarlet flowers set against quite dark green leaves. The cream throat and brown markings were pretty, but the large, red petals were the star of the show, from the time the first flowers opened in June through to September. ‘Princess Kate’ is a semi-dwarf variety so grew quite upright, but still filled the pot well with bright red blooms. Peak flowering: Jul-Sep

Best Buy alstroemeria for borders
What it looks like
Variety name
Height x spread
80 x 80cm
If there was an accolade better than a Best Buy, then this variety would receive it. It is truly spectacular, with attractive, strongly marked, burnt orange and yellow flowers held high on sturdy stems. Even the foliage adds to the overall effect; the leaves area dark green with a variegated pattern of dull purple-green. It formed a large clump, absolutely filled with flowers from early June all the way into October at both our northern and southern sites. Peak flowering: Jun-Oct
What it looks like
Variety name
Height x spread
60 x 75cm
This variety was impressive, with a mass of yellow flowers streaked with shades of orange and strong brown markings. The lighter-coloured leaves, variegated with dark purple with a brighter green edge, added extra interest. It had a long flowering season, with the first buds opening in June and a profusion of flowers adding colour to the garden until early October. It did well in Alnwick, shrugging off the cloudier weather to give a brilliant display. Peak flowering: Jun-Oct
What it looks like
Variety name
Height x spread
70 x 80cm
The soft pastel pink-yellow colour scheme of this variety may not be to everyone’s taste, but the sheer flower power of this variety means it’s a Best Buy. In the south, it was among the first varieties to start flowering in early June and kept producing blooms with no lull until a succession of frosts in November. In our northern trial site, it also flowered well, despite being in an area of the garden with poor soil. Peak flowering: Jun-Nov
What it looks like
Variety name
Height x spread
50 x 60cm
The individual flowers of this variety were a creamy-white, delicately marked with pale yellow and occasionally a little pale pink. They combine on the plant to create a mound of flowers that were subtle and quite different to the brighter varieties, but still made a real impact. The plants were healthy and vigorous, with plenty of bright green foliage, and gave more than 20 weeks of flowers including at our northern trial site.  Peak flowering: Jul-Sep

How we test alstroemeria

 In spring, we purchased 17 varieties of alstroemerias. We planted three plants of each variety at our Capel Manor trial site in north London in mid-May, after all danger of frost had passed. A further three plants of each varietywere planted at our northern trial siteat Alnwick Garden, Northumberland. We assessed the plants throughout the summer. We looked at how well they filled out with blooms, the length of time they flowered for and how attractive each variety was. We also checked for any pests and diseases. The plants remained in the trial beds over winter. We assessed how well they survived the colder months and how well they flowered into a second season.

Caring for your plants

Planting

We found that bare-root plants don’t grow particularly well, so we would recommend buying potted plants wherever possible. Alstroemerias prefer full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. Plant in a sheltered, sunny border, or grow in pots using a Best Buy compost for containers with a Best Buy controlled-release feed.

Feeding and watering

Alstroemerias don’t need a lot of watering, but if you keep them well fed and watered they will flower for longer. Use a liquid tomato feed once a week if they have pale leaves or the display starts to weaken.

Deadheading

Once all the flowers on a stem have finished, remove the whole stem, pulling it from the base. Always pull blooms like this if you’re picking them for cut flowers.

Overwintering

Alstroemeria are hardier than you might think and, if their tuberous roots are planted deeply, they can survive quite hard frosts. However, they still appreciate a layer of mulch over the crown at the end of the season. 

If you’re growing them in pots, then they will overwinter quite happily in a frost-free greenhouse or outside in a sheltered spot with their pots wrapped in bubble plastic. Watch out for pests, such as whitefly, that will feed on the tender green leaves over winter. 

Although the green leaves may die back completely, it’s worth waiting until late spring to see if your plants have made it through the winter. Some pots that we left out over the winter were bursting with bloom again by late May.

Common growing problems

Slugs and snails

Watch out for slugs and snails in spring as they may nibble the young shoots. Use organic slug pellets or biological-control nematodes (slugs only).

Read more about slugs and snails

Greenfly

Greenfly might also invade the young plant, so squash these if you find any.

Read more about greenfly