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How to Care And Grow Peruvian Lily (Alstroemeria)

Last Updated on October 26, 2022 by Plant Mom Care

Peruvian lily belongs to the genus Alstroemeria and is indigenous to South America. Several species have been given the name “Peruvian lily”, but most modern garden cultivars are hybrids, frequently developed from A. aurea. 

This tuberous perennial is not a true lily, but the flowers spreading up from the lance-shaped leaves bear a resemblance to lily flowers. The flower colors come in shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, white, and purple. Mature plants can grow almost 4 feet high and 2 feet wide.

The flowers are frequently used in flower bouquets and these funnel-shaped brown freckled flowers are amongst the last flowers to fade. The flowers can last as long as 2 weeks in vases, but they are just as impressive when growing in a garden. 

how to care for Peruvian lily

These plants must be planted during spring when there’s no risk of frost. These reasonably fast-growers frequently flower in their 1st year, but newly planted tubers plants might not flower until their 2nd year. 

They don’t grow well indoors, but you can bring potted plants indoors for winter in cold climates, and keep them as dormant plants in a dry location until spring.


Peruvian Lily Light Requirements

These plants will produce abundant flowers when they grow under the full sun (6 to 8 hours), but they will value some shade from the sun during the afternoon in hot climates.


Peruvian Lily Watering

Peruvian lilies require regular watering, particularly in summer when temperatures go up. Water them only when the topsoil is dry or if the plant looks thirsty – drooping leaves are a good indicator.


Peruvian Lily Humidity

This plant likes low to moderate humidity levels between 20 – 40%. In very humid areas, the plant must have enough space between other plants to help air circulation and prevent fungal diseases such as botrytis.


Peruvian Lily Temperature

These like temperatures between 65 – 80°F. Temperatures over 90°F can make the plants produce stems without flowers. Prevent this by planting the tubers under shade, or in a location that gets only a little sun in the mornings.


Peruvian Lily Soil

They like well-drained soil, amended with compost if it is poor. They can grow well in ordinary garden soil, although they prefer it to be slightly acidic. They can also do well in raised beds.


Peruvian Lily Repotting

These plants thrive in large containers, and many gardeners prefer growing them this way. They might need staking to keep them upright.

How much sun does a Peruvian lily need

In warmer temperatures, where these plants can stay outdoors all year round, even larger pots are suggested for repotting – about 8 inches in diameter and 24 inches deep with plenty of drainage holes. 

Fill it halfway with a potting mix. Dig up the plants and replant them in the new pot. You can also divide the tubers near the beginning of spring to propagate new plants.


Peruvian Lily Propagation

This plant is propagated by tuber division and by seed. Dividing the tubers in late winter/early spring is a very reliable method to propagate this plant. 

Cut down dead or green foliage to 6 inches from the soil. Select the root clump to be divided and dig it up. It might be difficult to do as plants growing close by might get damaged. Lift the clump out of the soil and give it a gentle shake to dislodge excess soil.

Do you cut back Peruvian lilies

Now, divide the clump carefully so that each separated clump has around 3 – 5 tubers. Replant the clumps immediately in the garden or individual pots. Make a small hole, place the divided clump in the center and lightly cover it with soil. 

Propagation From Seed

Propagating these plants from seed often isn’t very successful, since germination is usually poor and it could take many years for the plants to reach maturity. Make sure you sow lots of seeds, as the failure rate is high.

When the flowers die, cut off the seed pods and dry them. Collect the seeds and sow them in a tray of potting mix and lightly cover them with soil. Place the tray in a cold spot, around 40°F, for about a month to get the seeds to germinate. 

After this, place the container in a location with 70°F under indirect bright light until two sets of true leaves emerge on the seedlings. Now they can be transferred into individual pots or in the garden under full sun to become mature plants. Avoid damaging the roots when you’re transplanting them. It will take two years or longer for these plants to flower.

Additional Care

Feed the plant once with a flower fertilizer in early spring to prepare it for the flowering season. You can also provide it with nutrition with organic fertilizers like compost tea and manure. Potted plants will flower better if fed with a balanced fertilizer every 2 weeks.

Cut the foliage back after flowering to prevent the plant from diverting energy toward seed production. If the plant has spread too much, remove less productive stems to encourage young plants growing from new tubers to thrive.

In warmer areas of zones 8 – 10, this plant doesn’t require protection in winter. Just prune back foliage when it dries and dies down. In an intermediate zone like zone 7, cover the plant with mulch during winter.

These plants flower profusely and yet have thin stems, so it’s easy for them to fall over. This can easily be handled by staking the flower stems.

Peruvian Lily Common Problems

These plants can suffer from whitefly, spider mite, and aphid infestations. Although these pests will not do serious damage and can be treated by spraying them with neem oil or insecticidal soap, their presence indicates unfavorable growing conditions suitable for diseases to spread.

Botrytis (gray mold) can appear on the plant’s foliage as fuzzy, grayish-brown spores. This disease is difficult to treat but can be prevented from spreading by removing affected foliage, and spacing plants far apart to increase air circulation. When watering, aim to water the soil and not the foliage.

Root rot can be caused by several types of fungi, and makes leaves and stems wilt and flop even though the plant is getting enough water. Allowing soil to dry might help them recover, but a serious infection calls for the plant to be destroyed. It can be prevented by amending soil with perlite or vermiculite to help it drain well.

These plants are relatively easy to cultivate, and will normally flower well if provided with enough water, light, and fertilizer. They usually stop blooming vigorously after 5 – 6 years. The simple solution is to divide their root clumps to produce new plants.

Types of Lilies Flowers

How long do Peruvian lilies last?

In favorable conditions, they can live indefinitely, since their tuberous roots will slowly spread and take over the area. This spread is generally manageable and it isn’t officially considered to be an invasive plant.

Does the Peruvian lily need full sun?

These plants grow best in areas with mornings of full sun with some shade in hot afternoons.

Are Peruvian lilies invasive?

They can take over a garden if left unchecked as their tubers can spread far after a few years.

How do you winterize Peruvian lilies?

Gardeners in cold zones often dig and store the tubers in early winter. Dig up the plants in autumn, shake off loose soil and place the tubers inside a paper bag full of peat moss and hang it in a dry location at 35 to 41°F for winter. Replant the tubers in spring when soil temperatures warm to at least 60°F.

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