Beautifully spotted and marked perennials, alstroemerias, or lilies of Peru, are lily-like flowers with deep, thick roots. They grow two to three feet tall on strong, branched stems. Each trumpet-shaped flower is an inch or two in diameter. Flowers come in pink, rose, purple, yellow, cream, orange, and white and are spotted or streaked with contrasting colors.
How to grow: Provide a sunny location in areas with cool summers, but in Florida and other hot summer regions, plant in shade. The roots must be well below the surface of the soil or the plants will not last long. Enrich soil with compost and manure. If soil is not well drained, or if you live in a cold climate where plants are not hardy, grow them in pots in well-drained soil. Store the root-filled pots indoors in a moderately cool but not freezing place for winter, and set them outside again in spring after the danger of frost passes.
Propagation: By division and also from seed, which is very slow (1 to 12 months) to germinate.
Uses: Excellent in garden containers and in flowerbeds and borders. They are long-lasting as cut flowers and are often seen on restaurant tables.
Scientific name: Alstroemeria species
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