Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Foolproof Flower Gardening ~ #9

Alstromerias have been a topic here before, and if you want an easily grown, high impact flower for your garden, it bears another look. The alstromeria is a long blooming perennial and one of the best cut flowers around. It grows between 2-5 feet tall, so is best planted at the middle or back of a border. It blooms in clusters of streaked and speckled jewel toned flowers that some say resemble azaleas or orchids.

These plants are often overlooked at the garden center because of their price. They run between $7 and $12 for a one gallon plant, which seems exorbitant, until you consider that one plant can be divided at least three ways after the first year in ground. Once the plant has stopped blooming in autumn, simply dig down at the edges of the clump and lift out a section to transplant.

If you like gathering bouquets for inside, don't use scissors on this plant. Grasp the stem just above the ground and twist and pull it away from the clump. Cutting with scissors will slow its growth, whereas pulling the stem away cleanly promotes new growth and more blossoms. As with any flower for a bouquet, clean the stems of leaves below the water line and cut at an angle for maximum surface for water absorption.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

I've always admired this plant and it's long life as a cut flower...but have never tried growing it. Wonder how that would do here in Norway...Happy Day :o)