Notes From The Trenoweth Experimental Station

Alstroemeria, Peruvian Lily

Of the "newer" cut flowers, Alstroemeria is one of the most popular and now occupies over 60 acres of glasshouses in the UK where it flowers almost throughout the year. Our interest in it as a long-term outdoor crop for Scilly began in 1993, since when it has proved very successful flowering from June to September.

Modern Alstroemeria hybrids are available in a range of lovely colours and orchid-like flowers which are excellent garden plants in the southern half of England. Their reputation as "take-over" plants, or even, rather unfairly, as "thug lilies", whilst true of the original orange species (A. aurea), cannot be applied to these modern "aristocrats" which are a tribute to the plant breeders art.
All the species originate in South America, mainly Peru and Chile. Also known as the Lily of the Incas, the genus was formally named by Linneaeus after his botany pupil Baron Claus von Alstroemer who brought the first seed to Europe about 200 years ago.

Alstoemerias require fertile soil with ample water and feed in summer and maximum shelter especially for the taller cut flower types. Dwarf patio "Little Princess" varieties are available.

Judging by our trials, the plants should remain vigorous and productive for many years and are well worth the expense of these specialist raised plants. Suppliers are Parigo, Peter Smith (not St. Agnes!) and Steven Bailey. Many of the varieties have plant breeder’s rights and it is an offence to propagate and sell them on. We hope that summer visitors will increasingly see locally grown Peruvian Lilies on the Islands.


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