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Alstroemeria, often known as the Peruvian lily and native to South America, are one of the garden's best keep secrets. These beautiful plants are incredibly long-lasting, producing flowers from around May till August. Perfect for cut-flowers but pull at flower stems, do not cut. Will last for around three weeks in a vase if water is renewed every four to five days and a drop of bleach is added.
Plant in a sheltered site, in full sun or partial shade, in well-drained soil. Alstroemeria will appreciate some organic matter added to the roots. Taller varieties will require staking. Dead stem instead of dead-heading to ensure maximum flower production. Some varieties are more hardy than others, so ensure they have adequate protection during winter. Tolerant of dry conditions and cold but does not like extremes. For wet, heavy soils, plant in pots of dig a large hole and fill base with crocks for drainage.
Alstroemeria brasiliensis £4.50
(9cm pot available now - 1 plant)
Narrow dark red flowers. Late summer colour from June to September. Plant in partial shade or full sun in good, gritty soil. Grows to 70cm tall with an eventual spread of 60cm. Mulch in winter and protect from frosts. Semi-hardy.