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How to Plant, Grow and Care for Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily)

Orange alstroemeria flowers with green leaves

Alstroemeria, popularly known as Peruvian lilies or lily of the Incas, are perennial plants that boast beautiful blooms, streaked and speckled petals in a wide range of colors, from vibrant hues to pastel tones, lending elegance and depth to any garden landscape.

Originating from South America, namely Brazil, Argentina, and especially in the cooler regions as the higher areas of Peru and Chile, these beautiful flowers are adored globally for their long vase life and versatility in bouquets.

Alstroemerias are popular garden plants and can grow well both in ground and in pots. They flourish in well-drained soil and full sun, though in hotter climates, a bit of afternoon shade would be beneficial.

Beneath the attractive foliage of slender leaves, these plants develop tuberous roots, unlike other bulbous plants. One plant usually forms large colonies from its multiple stems each adorned with multiple blooms.

Tolerance to drought and resistance to common pests like whiteflies, aphids, and spider mites keep these plants easy to maintain throughout the growing season. Even bees find these nectary pit embedded flowers attractive!

Despite their exotic origins in South America, alstroemerias have adapted well to colder climates. They demonstrate greener leaves and are still capable of producing their beautiful blooms come July in regions known for harsh temperatures.

With proper care and attention, your alstroemeria garden can provide a stunning display of color for many years to come. And, as a master gardener, I’ll share all the tips and tricks you need to grow these stunning flowers easily.

Peach alstroemeria flowers in the garden

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Botanical Name: Alstroemeria spp.

Common Name: Peruvian Lily, Lily of the Incas, Princess Lily

Family: Alstroemeriaceae

Plant Type: Perennial

Hardiness Zones: 7 – 10 (USDA)

Sun Exposure: Full to partial sun

Soil Type: Well-drained soil

Soil pH: Acidic

Bloom Time: Summer

Flower Color: Pink, orange, red, yellow, white, purple

Native Area: South America

Alstroemeria Plant Care

Caring for Alstroemeria, known as Peruvian lilies or Lily of the Incas, is a rewarding endeavor bringing forth beautiful blooms of various colors speckled with streaks.

This South American native perennial plant, mainly from Brazil and Argentina, requires full sun and well-drained soil to avoid root rot from too much water.

Plant their tuberous roots in early spring, under 2-3 inches of soil, in a spacious pot if you live in colder zones, because these garden plants’ large colonies benefit from good drainage.

Peruvian lilies are drought-tolerant perennials that flourish in the growing season, mainly July, but a sudden frost might affect them.

White alstroemeria flowers blooming with green leaves

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.


Alstroemeria thrives in areas with full sun exposure for at least six hours a day, allowing its beautiful flowers to bloom profusely. These perennial plants are native to South America, specifically Brazil and Argentina, so they are accustomed to ample sunlight.

However, in hotter climates, they will appreciate some afternoon shade to protect their vibrant foliage from scorching. In contrast, in colder climates or zones, they will need as much sun as they can get to compensate for lower temperatures.

Therefore, the careful placement of pots or garden plants is crucial to maintaining the flower’s colors and promoting its growth.


Alstroemeria thrive best in well-drained soil. These South American natives are quite adaptable, but their tuberous roots do not fare well in waterlogged soil, as it can lead to root rot. It’s crucial to prioritize good drainage, particularly in clayey soils. If you’re planning to grow them in pots, ensure that the potting mix drains well.

A raised garden bed can also be an excellent solution for these perennials, especially in areas prone to heavy rains, keeping their roots safe from too much water. Always place them about six inches under the soil surface for optimal growth.

Woman with yellow gloves holding soil for alstroemeria flowers

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Although Alstroemeria possess relative drought tolerance, they perform best in well-drained soil with sufficient moisture during the growing season. Generally, these South American perennials enjoy the same level of watering as most garden plants.

However, one must be careful not to give them too much water as it can lead to root rot—a major problem for these tuberous roots, especially in pots.

It’s also significant to note that in zones prone to frost, alstroemeria should have their watering reduced to encourage a period of dormancy.

Temperature and Humidity

Alstroemeria thrives in a temperamental climate similar to their native regions in South America, such as Brazil and Argentina.

They favor cooler temperatures in the range of 65 – 80°F during the growing season, which starts in early spring and lasts until July.

In colder zones and climates, frost can cause damage to the foliage and tuberous roots, hence, protective measures may be needed.

Well-drained soil is crucial to prevent root rot, a condition often exacerbated by too much water and damp conditions.

Generally, Peruvian lilies handle humidity well, as long as proper air circulation around the plant is ensured to ward off pests.

Peruvian lilies with water drops

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Alstroemerias are perennial plants known for their vibrant and beautiful blooms. Their fertilizer requirements are moderate and easy to maintain.

During the growing season, usually from April to July, the alstroemeria needs to be fertilized regularly with a balanced fertilizer. This provides the necessary nutrients for the lush growth of foliage, along with the formation of beautiful flowers with various flower’s colors, streaks, and speckled petals.

However, over-fertilization or too much water leads to an increased risk of root rot, thus good drainage in the soil is paramount. A well-drained soil not only prevents root rot but also allows for the development of the alstroemeria’s tuberous roots, contributing to the overall health of the plant.


Alstroemeria does not require much pruning compared to other perennials. These beautiful blooms usually clean themselves up by wilting after their peak, thus minimizing the need for pruning.

However, gentle tidying can be performed towards the end of the growing season. Avoid cutting the stem, instead, hold the stem near the base and pull to remove it.

This helps encourage the tuberous roots for prosperous growth next spring. In colder zones or climates, you may choose to cut back the foliage after frost has killed it back, ensuring the garden plants maintain a neat appearance.

Garden with red and orange alstroemeria flowers

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Alstroemeria tubers can be vulnerable to freezing temperatures in colder zones. Hence, during frost in colder climates, these tubers should be dug up before the first hard freeze of the season, preferably around late October or early November.

After digging them up, let the tubers dry for about a day, then store them in a cool and dry place over winter. Once the danger of frost has passed in your area, around April or early spring, these can be replanted in well-drained soil.

It’s an essential process for keeping your alstroemeria healthy and all set for the next growing season.

Types of Alstroemeria

  • Fougere Alstroemeria: Fougere Alstroemeria is a majestic garden plant known for its speckled petals and beautiful blooms boasting streaks of deep purple. Fougere is a hearty perennial plant and starts to show off its beautiful flowers in early spring, around April, extending its colors well into July.
  • Moulin Rouge Alstroemeria: Moulin Rouge variety of Alstroemeria is irresistible to bees. Its leaves – vibrant green – serve as the perfect backdrop for the red and white blooms that dot the stem.
Red flowers of Moulin Rouge Alstroemeria

Moulin Rouge Alstroemeria – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

  • Mauve Majesty Alstroemeria: Mauve Majesty dazzles with stunning, bold purple petals and displays beautiful flowers that comprise large colonies of this Alstroemeria variety.
  • Indian Summer Alstroemeria: Indian Summer Alstroemeria is known for its spectacular late bloomer foliage of bronze and green hues, which glimmer under the full sun.
Red Orange Indian Summer Alstroemeria flowers blooming

Indian Summer Alstroemeria – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

  • Princess Eliane Alstroemeria: Princess Eliane Alstroemeria carries the royal touch. Adorned with gorgeous pink petals coupled with streaks of white and yellow speckled blooms, this variety brings a regal aesthetic to any garden.
Closeup shot on the pink flower of Princess Eliane Alstroemeria

Princess Eliane Alstroemeria – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

How to Plant Alstroemeria From Seed

Choosing a Location

Alstroemeria are well suited to full sun locations. They can tolerate partial shade as well but prefer a sunny site. Ideally, you should choose a spot where there will be high exposure to the sun.

They thrive in USDA hardiness zones of 7 to 10 but can also tolerate colder zones when provided with appropriate protection against frost during winter months.

Preparing the Soil

Alstroemeria prefers well-drained soil with good drainage. This is because they have delicate tuberous roots that can fall prey to root rot if subjected to too much water.

Preparing the soil before planting is essential. Dig at least 12 to 15 inches of soil and enrich it with organic matter to ensure it is fertile and has good drainage. The pH should ideally be neutral to slightly acidic.

Planting the Seeds

Plant the alstroemeria seeds in the prepared ground in early spring. Optimal seed planting ideally takes place in April.

Place the seeds under 1-2 inches of soil and space each seed about 24 inches apart as these plants can form large colonies.

Watering and Care

Water the seeds gently but thoroughly after planting, ensuring that the soil is moist but not waterlogged.

The growing season of these beautiful flowers requires regular but not excessive watering. Alstroemeria are somewhat drought-tolerant, making them popular as garden plants.

To encourage beautiful blooms, apply a balanced plant food every month during the growing season. Keep an eye out for pests such as slugs, snails, whiteflies, aphids and spider mites which can deter the growth and aesthetics of Alstroemeria.

Pink with yellow flowers of alstroemeria with water drops

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How to Propagate Alstroemeria

Step 1: Divide and Plant the Tubers

Alstroemeria is readily propagated by dividing the tuberous roots. This should ideally be done in early spring before the growing season starts.

Remove a clump of the plant from the pot or ground and gently separate the tubers. Each division should have at least one bud.

Replant the tubers in the prepared soil, burying them 6 to 8 inches deep, and space them about 24 inches apart to allow for large colonies to develop over time.

Step 2: Care for Your Alstroemeria

After planting, water the alstroemerias well and continue watering regularly throughout the summer. However, be sure not to overwater them as they are drought-tolerant and can tolerate a bit of neglect.

In colder zones, protect your perennials from frost by adding a layer of mulch around the plants in late fall.

Closeup shot on the pink and yellow Alstroemeria flowers

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

How to Pot or Re-Pot Alstroemeria

Step 1: Choose the Right Pot and Soil

To pot these tuberous roots, choose a well-sized pot with good drainage since these blossoms could contract root rot from too much water.

Since these are perennial plants, they’ll grow for several years in the same pot, so consider their long-term growth.

Alstroemeria prefers well-drained soil, which will help prevent excess moisture from damaging the roots.

Closeup on the bud of an alstroemeria flower

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Step 2: Planting the Tubers

Alstroemeria grows from tubers, which are essentially the plant’s storage units. In the early spring, once the frost has passed, dig a hole deep enough to cover the tubers with three inches of soil.

This is crucial because Alstroemeria can be sensitive to the cold, especially in colder climates or zones. Even in their native zones, they thrive in full sun.

The tubers should be planted in a large colony as they exhibit beautiful blooms when mature and grouped, enhancing any garden space.

Step 3: Care and Maintenance

During the growing season, usually up to July, make sure to water your Alstroemeria plants adequately. They do, however, prefer to be on the drier side and are quite drought-tolerant.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases for Alstroemeria


Whiteflies on a green leaf

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Whiteflies are a common menace to beautiful blooms of alstroemeria, also known as Peruvian lilies or lily of the Incas. These tiny insects suck the sap from the leaves, resulting in stunted growth and early leaf drop, greatly diminishing the visual charm of the plant. Regular monitoring and prompt treatment can help keep their numbers at bay.


Aphid colony on a leaf

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Aphids, small, soft-bodied insects, are another common pest for these beautiful flowers. They feed on the sap of the plant, particularly favoring new growth and the undersides of leaves. Their feeding can result in curling and yellowing of leaves, hindering photosynthesis and overall plant vitality. Aphids also excrete a sticky substance called honeydew which can lead to growth of black, sooty mold.

Root Rot

Root rot is a common plant disease that can afflict alstroemeria, often resulting from too much water and poor drainage. If the plant’s tuberous roots remain in waterlogged soil, they may begin to decay, hence preventing the plant from absorbing necessary nutrients. Early signs of root rot include yellowing leaves and wilting blooms.

Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails can pose a problem, especially during the rainier part of the growing season. They eat holes in the leaves and petals, effectively ruining the plant’s aesthetic appeal. They are often more active at night so good prevention practice would be to inspect for these pests during these times.

Spider Mites

Closeup of a spider mite

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Spider mites, almost invisible to naked eye, can cause considerable damage to Peruvian lilies by sucking sap from the underneath of leaves. This leads to the foliage acquiring a characteristically mottled, yellow appearance. If left unchecked, the plant may eventually die. Regular monitoring and timely application of a suitable mite-control product can help minimize infestations.

Common Plant Problems and Solutions for Alstroemeria

Brown Tips on Leaves

If you notice brown tips on the leaves of this perennial plant, it often signifies root rot, usually caused by too much water.

Alstroemeria prefers well-drained soil, so ensure your plant has good drainage. Also, grow the plant in pots with several inches of soil and be careful not to overwater.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves can be a symptom of several issues, including too much full sun or a pest problem.

Move the plant to a location with afternoon shade if this occurs. Pests like aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, slugs, and snails can also cause yellowing.

Use organic or chemical insecticides to control these pests, ensuring a long vase life for your alstroemeria.

Frost Damage

Alstroemeria can be sensitive to frost in colder zones. Alstroemeria is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10, but in colder climates, the tubers need to be dug up in the fall and stored indoors through winter.

Then they can be replanted in the early spring, once the threat of frost has passed.

Frozen alstroemeria flower

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Pale Flowers

If your alstroemeria blooms are losing their vibrant color and turning pale, this might be due to a deficiency of nutrients in the soil or a lack of sufficient sunlight.

Ensure your plants are getting full sun for at least 6 hours a day. If the problem persists, try fertilizing your alstroemeria with a bloom booster to enhance their beautiful colors.


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