A is for Alstermeria
Alstroemeria is often though of as a cut flower, but it is also a perennial that can be used in the landscape. We have a few different kinds in our garden, in shadier areas. All of them have done really well, except the variegated one. It has gotten progressively smaller since we planted it. At this point it's a very small clump that won't be blooming this year, a big disappointment, since it was a beautiful plant when we purchased it.
There are quite a few different Alstermeria cultivars in a range of pinks, purples, reds and yellows. I have found a few others I want to add to our garden. I love the exotic look of the flowers and the pops of bright color they bring to the shadier areas in our garden.
The actual structure of the individual plants is a little awkward in my opinion. The foliage sits kind of low and the there are long stems with a circle of flowers at the top. These stems also have a few wayward leaves attached. When you a few plants all together, it looks a lot better.
These flowers can be used as cut flowers, just like the ones you find a the florist. They are long lasting too, over a week easily.
Here are a few quick facts about this perennial:
- Hardiness Zones: It varies depending on the specific cultivar, but most seem to fall between 6a-9b
- Light Requirements: Sun-part shade
- Water: Average, can be drought tolerant once established
- Size: Most are around 24" tall, though the foliage is below the flower stems.
- Bloom Time: Throughout the summer
One thing to keep in mind, it that they can spread...like a lot. They move through the soil with tubers and is easy to divide and transplant. We started with a few little clumps and they are definitely growing larger. Another blogger talks about his problems with it here. I have seen entire garden beds that have been colonized by it. We aren't afraid of ripping it out of places where we don't need it, or hacking it back to keep it in line, so we are doing okay right now.
You may want to talk to me about again in a few years, and see if I still feel the same. I'm not going to lie, there have been a few times that we have regretted our choice to plant things (I'm looking at you Tetropanix and Castor Bean). Is anyone else taking a gamble in their garden?