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Flower Facts: All About Alstroemeria

Flower Facts: All About Alstroemeria

posted: 2021-04-28 14:00:00 +0800

Alstroemeria is known by a few names, The Lily of the Incas, the Peruvian lily, or the Parrot flower or lily. Regardless of what you call this flower, it is an understated beauty with plenty of charm and colour. Often used as a flower filler by florists, these beauties have been a popular flower for centuries. With its simple, stunning, and numerous blooms, this flower has become a favourite of many.

Alstroemeria Pronunciation


Scientific Information

Alstroemeria is a genus from the family Alstroemeriaceae and is related to the lily. There are over 50 different species of alstroemeria and over 190 cultivars that have since been developed. Growing from clusters of tubers, alstroemeria send up stems with flowers, some of which are sterile and some are fertile, with the fertile stems reaching a taller height, around 1.5 meters. Alstroemeria also generally has 6-8 flowers per stem with each flower containing six petals that can be around 5 centimetres long. Alstroemeria’s roots grow thick and deep but are generally delicate. Alstroemeria contains some zymographic traits in that its flowers are somewhat bilaterally symmetrical.

Origins and Naming

Alstroemeria is native to all of South America although many varieties have since become naturalized in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira and the Canary Islands. For those that grow in Chile, they are a winter growing variety, while the variety that grows in Brazil grow in the summer. All varieties are long-living perennials except for one annual species found in Chile.

Alstroemeria was first discovered by a Swedish botanist, Baron Clas Alströmer, from which the flowers name derives, and was the first to bring the flower to Europe. The flower became immensely popular due to its colour variety and long vase life.  

Alstroemeria in Flower Arrangements

Alstroemeria has generally been used as a flower filler by florists due to its dense blooms but this density also means that alstroemeria looks stunning all on its own in a flower bouquet. When arranging alstroemeria, be sure to have the lily heads facing forwards and to place the smaller blooms on top and the larger ones on the bottom for a more balanced bouquet.

Mother's Day Flower Bouquet

*Pair alstroemeria with large or focal point blooms like roses and lilies

*Sweet peas make a nice accompaniment to alstroemerias

*The shape of calla lilies contrast nicely with the shape of alstroemerias

*White alstroemerias make a simple but elegant wedding bouquet

*Pair alstroemerias with nemesia or violas for a nice plump and full flower arrangement.

Popular Alstroemeria Types and Colours

Alstroemeria comes in nearly every colour and shade from red, orange, yellow, purple, green, and white. These colours can be flecked, striped, or streaked and come in various shades and intensities. Here are few popular varities fo alstromeria.

Alstroemeria aurea

Blooming from early spring to summer, these golden yellow to bright orange coloured alstroemeria have smaller petals than other varieties and can at times resemble an orchid. Its petals often contain stripes or speckles, accentuating the flowers dramatic colours and bloom.

Indian Summer

The Indian Summer variety is a stunning multi-tonal colour variety that mimics a summer sunset. Growing just over half a metre in height, these stunners are favourite among gardeners as they’re resistant to the nibbles of animals but favoured by the butterflies due to their sunny colours.

Alstroemeria aurea 'Saturne'

Native to France, this flower has won several international flower awards with its beautiful pink coral petals with a yellow flush. This alstroemeria variety blooms from early summer to late fall and is a mound-forming plant. Practically disease-free and easy to grow, this flower is ideal in gardens or as cut flowers, adding soft and welcoming ambience.

Alstroemeria pulchella, New Zealand Christmas-bell

While native to South America, this variety of alstroemeria is widely cultivated in Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand, this flower usually blooms around Christmas time, blooming in red and green which, are traditional Christmas colours, both of which contribute to its nickname.