Alstroemeria, commonly known as Peruvian lily, is a genus of beautiful, tuberous plants from Argentina and Chile (the Peruvian moniker is a misnomer, technically). These beauties are not true lilies (but they share resemblance), and although they have a mild toxicity to humans, they lack the potentially verry harmful toxicity of true lilies to humans and pets alike.
Peruvian lilies are often used in vase flower arrangements for their beauty and long lasting blooms, but their beauty is equally notable in the cultivated landscape. Their native climate is somewhat similar to Southern California, making them an excellent choice for our gardens. Their water needs are moderate, however, so they work best with weekly supplemental irrigation, unless we get another seasonal downpour like 2023, in which case the irrigation should be turned off completely while the rains last.
Peruvian lilies, which have around 200 different cultivars, feature many markings and colors, including white, yellow, orange, apricot, pink, red, purple, and various lavenders. Many cultivars bloom in summer, however due to various experimental cross breading techniques, there are varieties that bloom almost throughout the year.
Peruvian lilies come in many different colors, including white, yellow, orange, apricot, pink, red, purple, and various lavenders
Landscape Planting – Alstroemeria Basics
Botanical Name: Alstroemeria spp.
Common Name: Peruvian Lilies
Type: perennial shrub
Native Range: Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. They are now common throughout South America and have become naturalized in many climates throughout the world.
Size: 1 to 3 feet tall, 1 – 2 feet wide
Bloom Time: Summer is most common, some cultivars bloom in spring and fall as well
Bloom Color: White, yellow, orange, apricot, pink, red, purple, and various lavenders
Sun: Full and partial sun
Growth Rate: Moderate
Water & Soil: Moderate water needs. Roughly 1” per week with more in intense heat. Keep soil mosit but well draining
Maintenance: Cut the plant back after blooming to prevent the plant from putting growth potential into seed production
Suggested Use: Group planting, border plants, specimen planting
Stippled leaves, brilliant colors, and spear shaped leaves give Peruvian lilies a striking appearance
For landscape planting, Peruvian lilies grow best in full sun. They tend to need six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily but in particularly hot climates (inland valleys in Southern California) they perform best with some shade from afternoon sun. Our landscape designers at Creative Concepts Landscape will be happy to look over your property and determine areas that are optimal for these types of plants.
Our designers can take a look at your property and see if Peruvian lily’s needs can be met. We create a design plan for all of our consultations to determine what plants and needs match each individual property. Peruvian lilies makes an excellent addition to colorful spring gardens with their eye-catching blooms. Their spear shaped green leaves and beautiful, spotted flowers can be incorporated into many different design types. Creative Concepts Landscape will help to determine the best location on your property, or create the conditions to promote a healthy, beautiful garden.
Peruvian lilies have moderate water requirements and prefer to stay in moist, but well-draining soil. To look their best, they will need irrigation systems or regular hand watering, often once a week if it is not raining regularly (at which time the irrigation can be turned off), however they may need irrigation more than once a week at the peak of summer. Creative Concepts Landscape has installed many irrigation systems (drip and sprinkler), and we would be happy to take a look at your property to come up with a design that could meet Peruvian lily’s needs.
Peruvian lilies need well-draining soils, which much of the soil in Southern California is. They also prefer organically rich soil, so you will want to add potting soil to increase the organic content of the soil. Creative Concepts Landscape will determine what conditions would be best for hyacinth in your landscape and make the necessary additions and changes.
Peruvian lilies have long been a common vase flower. The blooms tend to last longer than many other plant types, making it a favorite for flower arrangements.
Pruning & Maintenance
Peruvian lilies have maintenance needs, from occasional pruning (after the blooming period), to making sure they have adequate water. These plants are not drought tolerant. Providing supplemental water for these plants, especially while they are becoming established in the landscape, is often the highest maintenance requirement. Creative Concepts Landscape has been installing irrigation systems for over twenty years. We will be happy to schedule a consultation and come up with an irrigation system plan and install it. Creative Concepts landscape also repairs and refurbishes existing irrigation systems, so they are in optimal, efficient condition.
Outside of maintaining an irrigation system for Peruvian lilies, they will need some pruning when their flowers begin to fade. The blooms, stalks, and leaves can be trimmed back after the flowers have faded. Creative Concepts Landscape has options for maintenance schedules. Many of our clients have us maintain their property weekly or two times a month, however we also offer periodic cleanups. These cleanups range from four times a year, twice a year, and sometimes once a year. We will be happy to talk with you and determine a maintenance/cleanup schedule that fits your property needs.
Peruvian lily flower bud before blossoming
Peruvian lilies have such striking flowers, in many different color varieties, that they can fit within many different landscape aesthetics. Their spotted colors make them all the more alluring. Creative Concepts Landscape gets many requests for garden installations, of which Peruvian lilies can be a beautiful addition. Our team of designers and technicians has decades of experience designing and installing gardens.
Creative Concepts Landscape creates a landscape plan and design for your specific property characteristics along with your wants. Our highly experienced designers will be able to see what plant types and layout will complement your landscape’s existing features to come up with a planting design plan.
Whether it’s Argentina, Australia, or La Crescenta, Ca – Peruvian lily makes a beautiful addition to many different garden aesthetics
Thank you for joining us again in this week’s horticultural adventures. Please come back next Wednesday for out next blog post, and as always, contact us for all your landscape needs!
By Daniel Williams
Client Liaison for Creative Concepts Landscape