Plant of the week: Al­stroe­me­ria

Garden News (UK) - - Contents - John Innes, with grit or Per­lite added for drainage.

Pe­ru­vian lilies will keep you supplied with ex­otic flow­ers

Al­stroe­me­ria brings a touch of the ex­otic to the gar­den. The choice of va­ri­eties used to be lim­ited to the in­va­sive, but boldly coloured Al­stroe­me­ria au­rea, to the pas­tel jazz­i­ness of the A. ligtu hy­brids, which were of­ten cut back by late frosts, or the green and red­flow­ered species A. psittacina, known as the par­rot lily, which is still worth grow­ing.

Al­stroe­me­ria are herba­ceous peren­ni­als from South Amer­ica, pro­duc­ing fleshy, frag­ile roots and slen­der, fleshy, white tu­bers, which en­ables them to en­dure pe­ri­odic drought once es­tab­lished. The past cou­ple of decades has seen an as­ton­ish­ing spate of new in­tro­duc­tions in al­most ev­ery colour and colour com­bi­na­tion con­ceiv­able, ex­cept pure blue. The throat is of­ten streaked or striped with lines or dots. Flow­er­ing of­ten starts in June and, with modern forms, main­tained to first frost. Many va­ri­eties are a bi-prod­uct of the cut flower in­dus­try, par­tic­u­larly the taller types, while oth­ers were specif­i­cally bred for more gen­eral gar­den use and grow­ing in con­tain­ers. The Princess, Planet and Parigo ranges have all added to the rich va­ri­ety of more com­pact forms now avail­able.

Al­stroe­me­ria are best es­tab­lished from pot-grown plants than dry tu­bers, which take longer to es­tab­lish and can fail. They pre­fer moist, welldrained soil in sun or light shade. Plant them 10-15cm (4-6in) deep, and mulch them over win­ter to pro­tect from frost. When in growth ap­ply a gen­eral fer­tiliser or liq­uid feed with a high potash fer­tiliser when flower buds are show­ing. Grow more com­pact va­ri­eties in pots of John Innes No 3 or multi-pur­pose with added

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.