Lilies of the incas


Learn How To Plant, Care and Grow Gorgeous Alstroemeria

An essential component of many bouquets thanks to their long vase life (over 2 weeks), Peruvian Lilies (Alstroemeria) are striking beauties that also deserve a spot outdoors. Borne in loose clusters, their 2 in. (5 cm) exotic blossoms are often streaked or freckled and are available in a fabulous range of colors. Resembling lilies with their attractive trumpet-like flowers, they do not grow from true bulbs, but rather grow from tuberous roots which spread outward, gradually increasing the plant size each year.

1. Select The Right Site

  • Peruvian Lilies grow best in locations with full morning sun and some shade in the afternoons.
  • They thrive in fertile, moist, well-drained soils. Good drainage is absolutely essential for success.
  • Most are winter hardy in growing zones 7-10. Not sure about your growing zone? Check here.



    ‘Flaming Star’

2. Planting Your Peruvian Lilies

  • Alstroemeria tubers can be planted in the spring, early summer, or fall, depending on your climate. Plant when temperatures do not exceed 68° F (20° C) daily.
  • It is advisable to soak the tubers for 24 hours before you plant them. This will jump-start their germination process.
  • Plant the tubers 6-8 in. deep (15-20 cm) and 24 in. apart (60 cm) with the pointy side facing up. The roots of Peruvian Lilies resent disturbance so allow room for growth at planting time.
  • Cover the tubers with soil and water as needed.

    ‘Mauve Majesty’

    ‘Indian Summer’

    ‘Inticancha Antarctica’

    3. Aftercare

    • Peruvian Lilies benefit from regular watering. Water frequently so the soil is consistently moist but not soggy. Too much water will lead to root rot.
    • Fertilize your Alstroemeria when in bloom. Use a high potash fertilizer each week during the growing season.
    • Pull stems from the base to promote new blooms (instead of cutting). Deadhead the spent flowers to prevent your Alstroemeria from multiplying too much via self-seeding.
    • Mulch around the plants with a 8 in. (20 cm) layer of leaves, bark or pine needles to protect your Alstroemeria from extreme temperatures in winter – for the first two winters after planting. Keep the mulch at least 2 in. (5 cm) from the stem to avoid rotting.
    • Divide your Alstroemeria by the rhizomes for propagation. Cut down your plant to 6 in. (15 cm) of the ground. Two weeks later, dig all the way around the plant. Dig up the plant’s rhizomes as well as all of the roots that branch off from them. Divide the rhizomes of the plant with a sharp knife and then replant the rhizomes 6 in. (15 cm) deep and 12 in. (30 cm) apart. Expect the newly planted rhizomes to bloom within 10 weeks of planting.

    ‘Princess Eliane’


    ‘Princess Mathilde’

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Lily of the Incas

Lily of the Incas

Scientific Classification

  • Domain: Eukaryota
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Division: Magnoliophyta
  • Class: Liliopsida
  • Subclass: Liliidae
  • Order: Liliales
  • Family: Liliaceae
  • Genus: Alstroemeria


  • Alstroemeria achirae
  • Alstroemeria albescens
  • Alstroemeria pelegrina

Three flowers of the Peruvian Lily

Lily of the Incas are species of flowering plants within the taxonomic genus Alstroemeria. They are also commonly known as Peruvian lily – the names reflecting that they are native to South America. They can reach heights from 12 to 36 cm. Their life cycle is a simple Hardy perennial, Bulb, and Hardy annual (Alstroemeria graminea). it requires a growing region from 7 to 10 (a geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing). Alstroemeria can be blue, red, orange, green, purple, pink, or white. It will flower in the late spring and summer.

Body Design

leaves of the Lily of the Incas

All ‘Lily of the Incas’ have about the same color and feel for the petals and sepals. Each flower has three sepals and three petals. The roots of sometimes have a spiral to their roots. The veins of the do not branch across leaves but up. If you look closely you can see that the leaves are upside down. This is so the flowers can get sunlight. The colors are very vibrant which attracts bees, butterflies, and birds. You can sometimes see a spiral growth pattern on the stem.

Life Cycle

Lily of the Incas should be grown in full sun and in rich, light, slightly acidic soil.The life cycle of Lily of the Incas begins with them starting as a Hardy perennial. This means they can survive for a long time and aren’t killed by winter. They are expected to live longer then two years. Then they ascend into a bulb. The bulb is a storage area which contains organs present in some flowers. Such as food storage.


Some Lily of the Incas are used in cut flower bouquets. Also some have migrated and have become weeds in places like Australia. The roots of the Lily of the Incas grow like wildfire when left unchecked. Digging them up will only do so much. They are native to South America, some have become naturalized in the USA, Mexico, Australia and more.


Lily of the Incasproduce clusters of Lily-like flowers in abundance on long strong stems in Summer and many varieties have lovely soft shades of colors with interesting marking, meaning these plants make excellent cut flowers and are great for pot displays. These are perfect for achieving an exotic late summer splash of beautiful colors in a compact size and style.

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The Lily of the Incas or Alstroemeria, also called the Peruvian lily, is appreciated for its magnificent blooming.

Essential Alstroemeria facts

Name – Alstroemeria
Family – Liliaceae (lily family)
Type – perennial

Height – 12 to 32 inches (30 to 80 cm)
Exposure – sun, part sun
Soil – ordinary, rather rich

Flowering – June to September

Planting Alstroemeria

Before starting with the growing of Alstroemeria, best to start with young plants, already formed. These can be purchased in nursery pots, preferably during the months of April or May.

Alstroemeria directly in the ground

It is recommended to plant Alstroemeria in spring. Planting your alstroemeria in fall is possible if your climate has mild enough winters to permit it.

Whichever the option, always avoid days when the air is freezing cold or sweltering hot for planting.

  • Bury the roots deep into the ground.
  • Cover with a mix of soil mix and garden soil.
  • Water regularly.

Since this plant can take slightly acidic soil, you can add both fresh and used coffee grounds in the garden.

Alstroemeria in pots

Repotting in spring will let the plant develop well.

Select a flower plant soil for this.

Protect the pot in winter because the roots will suffer more from the cold than if they had been directly planted in the ground.

Where should the Alstroemeria be set up?

This plant loves slightly shade-covered emplacements or sunny spots but that don’t get too hot.

Both in pots and directly in the ground, prefer light sun and a spot that seems sheltered enough from wind.

Propagating Alstroemeria

To keep your Alstroemeria as long as possible, proceed to divide the crown after the blooming. Take care while handling the roots, because they are quite fragile.

Alstroemeria division is preferably performed on specimens that are at least 2 or 3 years old.

Pruning and caring for Alstroemeria

Once properly settled in, Alstroemeria or Lily of the Incas only requires very little attention and care.

After the planting, it bodes well to water regularly. Do so without excess so that roots don’t get flooded, we’ve seen they were quite fragile.

Afterwards, every spring, add flower plant fertilizer in order to intensify the blooming.

Pruning Alstroemeria

  • Eliminate stems with wilted flowers regularly.
  • Cut back as short as you can once the leaves have withered, and not before this.

In case of winter that is colder than usual, it is best to protect the base of the plant with dead leaf mulch.

All there is to know about the Alstroemeria

Alstroemeria is a flower that belongs to the Liliaceae or lily family, or to the Alstroemeriaceae family depending on the classification.

Its buds open up to reveal flame-tongued and brightly colored petals that remind us of bird-of-paradise feathers.

Any other reason to fall in love with Alstroemeria? It symbolizes friendship.

It is often called Lily of the Incas or Peruvian Lily because of its geographical point of origin. Indeed, the Andes mountain range is where it particularly feels at home.

Among the main Alstroemeria species, one can find

  • Alstroemeria aurea – Lily of the Incas
  • Alstroemeria hybrid
  • Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’
  • Alstroemeria ligtu var Ligtu
  • Alstroemeria pelegrina L.
  • Alstroemeria psittacina Lehm.
  • Alstroemeria pulchella L. f.
  • Alstroemeria ‘Summertime’

In a flower bed or as a cut flower in a vase, it is extremely striking.

Smart tip about Alstroemeria

The lifespan of Alstroemeria in a bouquet or vase tops that of almost all other plants.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Sun-colored Alstroemeria by Kevin Cannings ★ under license
Cluster of pink alstroemeria by Pablo Valerio ★ under license
Close-up of an alstroemeria flower by Nicolas Raymond ★ thanks to CC BY 3.0


Tips and Pointers When Growing Inca Lilies/ Alstroemerias.

  • Their long flowering time means they bring colour to your garden for months on end.
  • The range of colours is extensive, including orange, pink, rose, purple, red, yellow and white or salmon; some are marked with contrasting whiskers and rouged cheeks.
  • They need little maintenance.
  • They’re seldom troubled by pests and fungal diseases, but watch out for snails.
  • They’re relatively frost tolerant.
  • Hybridisation has resulted in compact plants for small gardens.
  • They make superb cut flowers, lasting 2–3 weeks in the vase.

Inca Lilie/ Alstroemeria Planting Pointers

In the garden: Inca lilies will flower best in full sun but as they need protection from the hot afternoon sun an east-facing position is best. For the best results plant them in well-composted, nutrient-rich soil a little deeper than the level they were in their containers. High soil temperatures can inhibit flower production so planting them a little deeper will help insulate them from the heat; it’s also advisable to keep them well mulched.

In pots: Always select a pot that will allow room for growth as Inca lilies don’t like their roots to be restricted. They’ll also need to be feed and watered more often than those planted in the garden.

Mass plant them for a gorgeous display all summer long.

Inca Lilies/ Alstroemeria Growing Tips

  • Feeding Inca Lilies/ Alstroemeria: Feed Inca lilies regularly, particularly those in containers. In spring apply 2:3:4 fertiliser followed by 8:1:5 when the flower buds are forming; repeat after the first flush of blooms.
  • Watering Inca Lilies/ Alstroemeria: Water them regularly in the summer growing season; in summer rainfall areas water them periodically in winter.
  • Frost protection Inca Lilies/ Alstroemeria: Inca lilies are hardy to -5°C provided they are well mulched in first two years; in severe frost the top growth can die back but the tubers will survive if mulched well.
  • Staking Inca Lilies/ Alstroemeria: The stems of the taller types tend to flop over and so need to be staked.
  • Maintenance: Once the flowers have faded, pull out the old flower stems with a sharp tug; this initiates new growth at the site of the wound. Pull out weak shoots and those
  • with more than 30 leaves or which have reached 90cm high without forming flowers; the latter won’t flower.

Credits: Text and some photographs Marianne Alexander

Alstroemeria, Peruvian Lily, Lily of the Incas ‘Inca Ice’



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown – Tell us


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Whitney Point, New York

Jacksonville, Texas

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