First, the eye-candy pic:
Alstroemeria is new to me this year.
I bought 5 bare root plants of the “Planets” series in spring, potted them up and looked after them carefully in the coldframe until the frosts had passed, then planted them into a couple of 12″ pots as their final destination for this season.
Sirius was always the most advanced of the 5, so I wasn’t surprised that it was the first to flower. They’re curious plants in that they appear to send up small, non-flowering “test” shoots first, then progressively taller bud-bearing ones thereafter: the initial shoots were only about 6″ high, but the later stalks are rising to 28″ and more.
I believe they’re not supposed to need support, but the taller ones look rather vulnerable to me – a decent downpour might test them a shade too far! – so I’ve put in some flower stakes and twine as a precaution. I’ve been watering them every day during this hot spell, and feeding once a week since the beginning of June (Miracle Gro first, now Tomorite), and that’s pretty much it as regards care.
When a flower stalk finishes blooming, the appropriate way to deadhead is by pulling the whole stalk out of the ground, like a stick of rhubarb, so I’m ready for that when it happens. I believe that’s supposed to promote more flowering shoots, so well worth doing correctly if true!
They look way too exotic to be hardy in the UK, but apparently in milder areas they are, as long as they are planted with their tubers about 4″- 6″ below the surface of the ground and given a good mulching. I don’t know if they’re likely to survive in the containers I have them in, so I may hedge my bets come autumn by dividing the plants into two and putting half in pots in the coldframe and the other half out in the ground. That way I should get some survivors, hopefully!