Sunday, April 6, 2014
Over Looked and Under Rated
If I had a category in my blog for most underrated, overlooked, neglected, yet best performing plants, alstroemeria, or Peruvian lilies would certainly be in that list. I have them growing here and there throughout my gardens in shades of pinks and reds, white, yellows and oranges. I will step right over them to take a picture of another plant, look over them and lament about nothing being in bloom, and walk right by them with the bucket of fertilizer heading for a more deserving perennial. They start blooming in late winter and continue on until the end of summer. I have them growing some places in full sun and little water, almost full shade (although they do prefer at least six hours of sun) and they bloom either way. When you cut them for a mixed bouquet from the garden, they will last until every other kind of flower has withered and continue all by themselves for another week in the vase. The trick to keeping them in bloom is to pull the blooming stem up when you deadhead or pick the stem from the base with a snap. Do not cut them. This will signal the plant to send up a new stalk of flowers with a number of blossoms. Occasionally they get a bit chewed, but I have never seen any bugs or disease on them so I can only guess it is by some passing bug, so no major maintenance is needed. As I mentioned, I rarely feed them with much other than the topping of compost everything else in the garden gets annually. I know people that are always looking for pretty, long blooming, low maintenance perennials and this should be on their list! I really should add some more of these easy going perennials to my gardens and appreciate them more!