How to Care for Peruvian Lily

  • by

Peruvian lily is not actual lilies, it is a tuberous perennial plant that closely resembles lily flowers. This plant belongs to the Alstroemeria genus, most garden usually chooses to plant its cultivar for better flowers. 

It is commonly used to make mixed flower bouquets, where its brown-pink petals with yellowish center add beauty.

This flower has four petals and extends upside. It has white-pink petals with a reddish center, its foliage is dark-green hanging against a thin straight stem.

Lilies of the Incas

Quick Guide

Common NamePeruvian lily
Scientific NameAlstroemeria spp.
Plant typePerennial
Mature Size1-3 feet tall; spread 1 to 2 inches 
Sun ExposureFull sun, partial shade
Soil TypeRich, well-drained soil
Soil pH5.5 to 6.5 (slightly acidic)
Bloom TimeSummer
Flower ColorRed, yellow, peach, orange, yellow, white
Hardiness Zones7 to 10 USDA 
Native AreaSouth America

How to Grow Peruvian lily

Peruvian lily can be grown from a stem cutting, seeds, or by division. Most of the garden generally prefers to propagate them through division because of their tuberous roots. 

Growing through seeds is a very time-consuming process. Also, not many gardeners can succeed to grow Peruvian lilies from seeds. 

Propagation through stem cutting is also a good choice if you want to grow multiple new plants. 

Toxicity

Several studies concluded Peruvian lily is mildly toxic to humans. Touching its flower may cause skin reactions to sensitive people, also when consumed it can cause stomach upset. 

Peruvian lily is not a true lily, so it’s not very toxic to humans. However, if you have kids or pets at home avoid planting this flower.

Where to Grow

Peruvian lilies need a large area to grow due to their tuberous roots. They do not like to transplant, once it gets settled. 

Try to not disturb its roots, you can plant it in large pots or outside. This lily is hardy in USDA hardiness zones between 7-10. You may need to bring them inside if you live in less than hardiness zone 7.

When to Grow

The ideal time to grow this plant is in the early spring season when all threats of frosts have gone. It can bloom in the first season of planting when planted early in the growing season. However, in some conditions, the plant blooms in the second year of planting. 

How to Propagate Peruvian Lily from Division

The division is the most used method to grow Peruvian lily. You can bring one small plant from the nursery and plant it in the garden or container. 

However, if you already have one Peruvian lily, you can grow multiple other plants through division. 

But, the plant should mature or bloom for at least one season. Also, the plants do not overgrown or get crowded in an area. Avoid division, this plant does not like transplantation. 

Divide the plant only when it is overgrown in an area. 

To divide the plant:

  • Take a shovel, dig out the plant from the ground. Dig a large area around the plant, its roots are usually deep rooted or found in clumps.
  • After digging out the plant, wash the roots with water to remove dirt from it. Cut off any damge roots which are black in color. 
  • Divide the root clump into two to three sections depending on its size. It has tuberous roots. Make sure you cut the stem with each root clump.
  • Now, plant these sections in different locations in the garden. 
  • It will establshied within a month, you get to know when it start producing new foliage.

How to Grow from Seeds

Peruvian Lily

Growing from seeds is not recommended because it takes lots of time and most gardeners are not able to propagate from seeds. 

In the woods, this plant self-seeds for years. However, manually propagating from seeds is not a feasible method. Also, many gardeners prefer to grow its cultivar rather than actual species. 

Cultivars generally do not grow from seeds. Cultivars are developed by cross-breeding two species, these cultivars are good for better flowers and growth but their seeds are not fertile. 

The plant grown from these seeds is not similar to its parent plant or in many cases, they simply do not grow.

However, Growing from seeds is very simple. Collect its seeds from dry flowers. Sow these seeds in a pot and water the soil to keep it moist.

The seeds will start growing in a month. When seedlings grow about 5-6 inches transplant it to a large area or a big container.

How to Grow Peruvian Lily from Stem cutting

Propagation from stem cutting is a great method when you want to multiply your plant. You can grow multiple plants from its stem cuttings. 

Here is what to do:

  • Take a gardening shear to cut stem cutting. The cutting should be at least 5-6 inches long in size and has some leaves on it with no bloom.
  • Clear all the leaves from the bottom half of the plant. 
  • Plant the cutting in a pot filled with potting mix soil.
  • Plant only one cutting in a pot, avoid crowding the signal pot.
  • Water the pot to keep soil moist. In the begining plant need more water to established but avoid overwatering.
  • Place the pot in indirect sunlight till it gets established. You know when plants start producing new leaves. Once it gets established, place it in direct sunlight.

How to Care for Peruvian Lily

Peruvian lily does need much care once it gets established. You have to provide them with ideal conditions for good growth.  

Peruvian lily

Light

Peruvian lilies like to shine in full sunlight. They need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight. However, in extremely hot summer conditions, they need partial shade. 

The ideal place is where they get early morning sunlight and afternoon shade. If plants get too much heat they might suffer from leaf burn. 

Water

This plant needs regular watering, especially in hot summer conditions. They need at least 1 inches water per week. However, do not overwater them this causes soggy soil which leads to root rot. Water the plant only when it soil looks dry.

Soil

Peruvian lilies require rich, fertile, well-drained soil to grow blooms. You can improve your soil fertility and drainage by adding organic matter or soil compost

When planting adds a thick layer of soil compost for better growth. You can also mix perlite or sand in the soil to improve its drainage. When planting in a pot make sure it has adequate drainage holes to flow excessive water. 

Planting them in less fertile soil may not yield a good bloom. You can add organic compost like leaf mold, banana peel, or eggshells to the soil.

Temperature and humidity

Ideally, Alstroemeria likes to stand in temperatures between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature becomes more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit foliage starts to burn and produce fewer flowers. In this condition, you can plant them in partial shade where they get early morning sunlight. 

In the high humid climate, plant Peruvian lily with adequate spacing to provide good circulation. So that fungal diseases do not thrive on the foliage.

Fertilizer

Feeding once in the early spring is enough for continuous growth throughout the growing season. You can add balanced flower fertilizer to the soil. You can also add manure or used tea bags as compost to provide nutrition to the plant.

How to Deadhead Peruvian Lily

Peruvian lily

Cut Peruvian lilies stem back to encourage more blooms. Deadhead dry leaves or flowers from the plant. They might look dead but these dry parts keep sucking energy from the plant.

Deadheading them will redirect energy to grow new flowers. If you do not seek a plant to produce seeds, cut off the flower when they begin fading.

Overwintering

In the warm region, zones between 8 to 10. Peruvian lilies do not need to overwinter. Zone 7 in the border zone, gardeners in this zone cover the roots with a thick layer of mulch to protect them from cold. 

In the colder zones, you can overwinter this plant by digging its tuberous roots in the fall and reporting in a small pot. Replant in the next spring season. If you grow the plant in a pot, you can simply bring the pot inside the house to overwinter.

Common pests and diseases

Aphids and thrips are some common plant pests that infest Peruvian lily. Usually, these pests do not cause serious issues but these pests can transmit serious diseases to other plants.

Botrytis (gray mold): this is a fungal disease that causes furry, gray-brown spots on the leaves and stem of the plant. 

This fungal disease is very hard to cure but you can prevent it by providing adequate spacing between the plants and also water directly in the ground rather than onto the plant. Water on the plant makes the stem and foliage wet for too long, causing fungal diseases. 

Root rot: This is a common disease caused when roots of the plant remain wet for too long. To avoid this disease, water the plant only when its soil gets dry. Use well-drained soil so that water does not stay in the soil.

How to get Peruvian Lily to bloom

Growing Peruvian lilies is not much difficult when provided with ideal conditions. They need adequate water and light for continuous growth with some fertilizer. When planted in a pot you can feed them 6-6-6 fertilizer every two weeks of the growing season.

The plant usually stops growing once it becomes four to five years old. In this condition, the best is to dig out the whole plant divide its root clumps and replant to grow new plants.

Type of peruvian lily

There are different types of Peruvian lilies present in the market that you can grow in the garden for beautiful design. Here are some varieties that you choose to grow in your home.

  • ‘Fougere’ 

This variety grows 24 to 28 inches taller with large white flowers, purple flashes in the throat, and spread with burgundy.

  • ‘Alexis’

The variety has a cheerful sunset tone which shines in the summer border. You can plant this around the garden, growing about 18 inches tall.

  • ‘Mauve Majesty’

This variety’s flowers have a creamy yellow center surrounded by bright mauve-pink petals. It is one of the taller varieties, growing about 36 inches in height.

  • ‘Indian Summer’

Grows 28 inches taller and has coppery orange blooms.

  • ‘Princess Eliane’

It is a small variety that grows about 9 to 12 inches taller and has bright pink petals with yellow and burgundy centers.

Some common problems with Peruvian Lily

It won’t stay upright

This plant has large flowers, hanging with stems is a common problem for the plant. 

Plants propagated from cuttings often found this problem, you can handle this by staking flower stems in an upright direction.

Stem and leaves look wither

The plant looks wither only when it is suffering from root rot caused by overwintering or various fungi. It is a common problem in warm and wet conditions, you can prevent this by giving adequate spacing between the plants and using well-drained soil. Water only when the soil looks dry.

Stopped flowering

Peruvian lilies stop flowering when their tuber gets old. This happens after five to six-year of planting. In this situation, you should dig out the plant to divide its root clumps and re-plant to grow a new plant.

FAQ

How long do Peruvian lilies live?

In the ideal condition Peruvian lilies spread in an indefinite area. Though, it is not considered an invasive plant. The plant usually stops growing after five to six-year of flowering, requiring division of root clumps and transplantation.

How should I use Peruvian lilies in the landscape?

Many gardeners grow this plant in a large container or flower arrangements in the garden. This lily has sparse foliage, best to plant behind other species of the flower.

How to harvest Peruvian flower cuttings?

To harvest flower cuttings use gardening shear. Do not break or tear the stem of the plant. This will cause permanent damage to the plant. Take a gardening shear and cut five to six inches long flower cutting, adequate to stand in a vase. You can place this vase in the home as a decoration. 
Do not hesitate to harvest flowers, the more flowers you harvest, the more flower plants will produce.