With an extensive variety of colours and styles, thanks to their striking tiger-like markings and they’re unprecedentedly long life, the alstroemeria is a must-have flower. They are native to South America but have in recent times been naturalised in the USA, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and the Canary Islands.
You will be able to recognise the alstroemeria by its six tepals each up to 5cm long, and it’s often speckled or striped multicolour appearance. Within the tepals there are 6 stamen, take caution to ensure the stamen don’t come into contact with clothing or carpets but it’s commonly agreed the pollen is not as staining as that of the lily.
Interestingly, while these quietly gorgeous flowers resemble lilies and are commonly known as different lily names, they are not part of the lily family. In fact the alstroemeria belongs to the alstoemeriaceae family of flowering plants.
If you’re looking to send a lovely bouquet of scented flowers, you may wish to choose a bouquet of lilies and freesia for example, as although the alstroemeria is incredibly pretty and popular, it actually carries no scent, but it makes up for that with its vase life of about two weeks, if not longer. One way that it efficiently keeps itself alive is by regulating its temperature. If the environment becomes too warm, it reallocates its effort to producing tuberous roots instead of flowering shoots. If the flower is exposed to the increased temperatures for too long, it can result in a blind stem, a stem with no flowers and no means to produce any.
Though it may be difficult to grow your own in this country due to the climate, there are steps that can be taken to maximise the enjoyment you get from your flowers. To care for your alstroemeria, keep the stems cut every few days with clean water and flower food, make sure the leaves are not submerged as this can introduce bacteria to the water and shorten the flower life and keep separate from flowers such as daffodils as they can have a toxic effect on stems they are with.