Cut Flower Alstroemeria – Grow Your Own!

What’s better than having a fresh bunch of alstroemeria on your dining room table every week?

Knowing they came from your own garden, that’s what!

That’s just one reason growing your own alstroemeria cutting garden is a great idea.

Need more convincing? Read on.

Why Grow your own Cutting Garden

There are many reasons to have your own alstroemeria cutting garden:

  • Alstroemeria thrive on being picked. The more you pick, the more they grow! The tugging method of picking (See “HOW TO PICK ‘EM” below) encourages more blooms to spring up and keeps them free of dying debris.
  • You can enjoy a greater variety than might be available to buy ready-picked.
  • You can tailor-make your selection and have them on hand forever.
  • You’ll learn more about the world of plants and what thrives in your garden.
  • It’s an affordable way of having a regular supply of fresh flowers in the vase.
  • Long stemmed flowers such as alstroemeria make great vase dwelling blooms. Their stature makes such a striking statement.
  • Perennials like alstroemeria are repeat flowering, meaning they come back year after year. So you will have a constant supply of flowers in blooming season!
  • If you plant them in pots in a greenhouse you can have alstroemeria flowers all year round.
  • Flowers encourage beneficial insects.

 

How to Plant ‘em

The alstroemeria plant varieties we grow are garden winter hardy. However, for the first couple of winters while they are establishing it will be best to mulch them well to make sure they are protected until they are big and strong enough to get through the winter without any assistance. Mulching helps prevent weeds too.

You’ll also want to:

  • Pick a sheltered, partly sunny, partly shady spot in the garden.
  • Grow them in pots. This is an even better option as they can be contained, whereas in the garden they can spread too much.
  • Keep them flowering for longer by moving the pots from the garden to a greenhouse or conservatory in the winter.
  • Feed them weekly through growing season (from May to September) as this will encourage your alstroemeria to flower well and repeatedly. A high potash fertiliser such as our Alstroemeria Feed is great.
  • Water them well but make sure the soil is well-draining as they don’t like having soggy feet.
  • Prevent long stemmed flowers from breaking off because of their height or the bed being overwhelmed by too much plant by spacing them out and providing supports for the taller varieties.
  • Keep your growing bed to 1.2m wide or less for ease of picking. However, if you are tall or are advanced in your yoga practice, you could make it wider than that.
  • Dead head after flowering season in the same way you pick them (See “HOW TO PICK ‘EM” below). This is important as it fends off disease, keeps the plant looking tidy and prevents them wasting energy on producing seeds at the expense of more flowers.

 

How to Pick ‘em

As mentioned above, there is a specific way in which to “pick” alstroemeria. So even though it’s traditionally called a “cutting garden”, when it comes to picking, you won’t be wielding secateurs with your alstroemeria.

That said, it is best to wait until at least one summer has passed to ensure your alstroemeria’s roots have taken hold in the ground and cannot be dislodged before employing the “tugging” method. Until then, you can still have fresh flowers by cutting them instead (with those sharp secateurs).

Otherwise, here is the preferred “tugging” method and other tips:

  • Get hold of the base of the stem and give it a firm tug and a slight twist at the same time. In this way the whole stem is removed from the root. This will ensure that the root area is free of rotting plant debris which causes disease. It also encourages the plant to re-flower, as it will produce another bud under the ground.
  • Pick them on a cool day/morning rather than when it is hot as they will be droopy from the heat.
  • Take a bucket of water with you while picking so you can put the stems straight into it.
  • Once ready to go in the vase, remove the leaves that will be under the water and put a little Milton in the water. This will stop the fungal moulds from growing and prolong their life.
  • Trim the stems and change the water every 2 to 3 days to keep them fresh.

 

Last but not least, sit back and enjoy gazing at them with a cup of tea.

Your eyes and mind will thank you.

Alstroemeria Cutting Garden
Alstroemeria Cutting Garden
Alstroemeria Cutting Garden
Alstroemeria Cutting Garden
Alstroemeria Cutting Garden

The Battle with Bugs – Part 1

You starting to see more bugs in the garden?

It can be tempting to want to go out there, all guns ablazing, ready to annihilate all those pesky pests from your beloved flowers.

However, it is important to keep in mind that with critter control in gardens, the aim is not to remove all bugs completely.

It is possible to protect your plants from serious damage while maintaining an environment that attracts a variety of critters.

Working in harmony with nature encourages more diversity in the garden. This way the environment will be more balanced and it will require less interference from us.

These are some general chemical-free methods that can help control pests.

Good Hygiene

For humans, keeping things clean is in the best interests of our overall health. And it is similar with plants. Good cultivation and sanitation are the best first steps in preventing pest and disease problems in the first place.

Just like people, when plants are stressed and unloved their health suffers and DIS-ease soon follows.

So keep them well-fed and appropriately watered. Rather more seldom, long watering than frequent shorter sprinkling.

However, sometimes in spite of our efforts, disease still blows in from somewhere or certain weather brings pests to the party.

When this happens it’s best to keep an eye on your plants and keep the number of pests down, as viruses can be spread by insects.

Traps

Sticky or pheromone traps for whitefly, codling moth and plum moth can be used to good effect. This won’t get rid of all of them but it will help keep the numbers at a manageable level.

Manual Removal

If you are in your garden regularly, most bug infestations can be prevented pretty easily by manual removal. Hosing your plants can be an effective way to get rid of bugs like aphids and slugs and snails can easily be picked off.

Helpful Habitats

Some swear by what has been called “companion planting”, whereas others have found it to have little affect at all. Again, nature has so many intricate symbiotic relationships woven through it. It’s not as simple as "plant X and you’ll get Y" (interesting discussion on this here).

So here are some suggestions on plants and habitats to try that could help attract natural predators that feed on the pests. Experiment and see what works for you:

  • Coriander, Caraway, Dandelions, Fennel, Marigolds, Sunflowers, Thyme and Yarrow is loved by ladybirds that like to feed on aphids
  • Open flowers that have easily accessible pollen and nectar such as ones in the daisy and umbellifer families attract short-tongued hoverflies that predate on pests
  • Beetle banks and ground cover can attract ground beetles that feed on snails and slugs. If you buy or make a Bug Hotel, make sure it is kept dry (bugs don't like the damp)

 

The Crux

All in all, it seems the key is to let them all be and do their thing as much as possible. The more we start nitpicking, trying to create a perfect pest-free environment, the worse things tend to get. And the more work it is for us!

In the end they’re not really "pests". They’re all just part of a wonderfully made food chain that effortlessly takes care of itself when it’s in balance. All without our assistance!

In our next post we’ll go in to how to spot what’s bugging your alstroemeria and what you can do to bring about a balance.

In Love with Alstroemeria

It’s that lovey dovey time of year when we start thinking about who we fancy.

And whether or not they’d fancy something.

Or even you (don't be scared).

Valentine’s Day seems to have a bit of a chequered past (with bizarre rituals in Roman times). However, these days it’s an opportunity to give someone a note or some flowers when they least expect it.

If you missed the opportunity on the day, no sweat. Just make it a week/month/year of love!

Here's some Valentines inspired alstroemeria to gaze at while you contemplate romantic poetry (for that lovely person you see in the morning on your way to get your coffee):

 

Inticancha Passion

Striking white with purple blotches

Short (Height: 25-35cm Spread: 30cm)

Inticancha Romance

Vibrant pink with white throat

Short (Height: 25-35cm Spread: 30cm)

Inticancha White Pink Heart

Light pink throats fading to white

Short (Height: 25-35cm Spread: 30cm)

Inca Sweety

Pretty pink and white

Short (Height: 30cm Spread: 30cm)

Adonis

Magic magenta flowers with yellow throat

Medium (Height: 45cm Spread: 30cm)

Flirt

Light pink petals with yellow throat

Medium (Height: 35-45cm Spread: 30cm)

Inca Smile

White with creamy pink with yellow blends

Medium (Height: 30-40cm Spread: 30cm)

Blushing Bride

Pale pink heart shaped petals with rose pink speckled throat

Tall (Height: 60-80cm Spread: 30cm)

Friendship

Cream with yellow speckled throat

Tall (Height: 60-120cm Spread: 30cm)

Charm

Lilac and some cream with yellow throat

Tall (Height: 60-80cm Spread: 30cm)

 

Also, if you’re struggling for words, just use flowers! Flowers really do have a language of their own.

Let the Flowers Speak

Assigning meaning to specific flower types to communicate feelings or desires is known as “floriography”. In fact, during the Victorian times it became not just a craze but one of the main ways people got any “risky” or “taboo” thoughts and feelings across.

Come to think of it - if it wasn’t for flowers, would some of us even be here…?

Floriography dates all the way back to the 1700s in Turkey. However, the Victorian era was a time when this form of communication became really popular. This was after a certain Lady Mary Wortley Montagu visited Turkey, discovering how harem girls sent coded messages to each other using flowers.

What Alstroe have to say

It’s been said that receiving an alstroemeria means you are much beloved, not only romantically but in friendships too.

Alstroemeria generally communicate friendship, love, strength and loyalty. And some say that each of the six petals hold a meaning - understanding, humour, patience, empathy, commitment and respect.

Also, their leaves have been associated with bonding, stability and supportiveness - as if to say “I’m here for you” or “Thank you for being there”.

Certain qualities are also linked with specific colours. For instance, it’s no surprise that happy little yellow blooms shout optimism and joy, while orange bursts with passionate positivity! Then pink whispers romance and playfulness (possible Valentines) and red shouts love and passion (definite Valentines).

We also have purple saying grace and beauty. And if it's love/eternal connection, strength, support and purity you want to communicate, think white (also wonderful for weddings)!

Which one floats your boat?

Winter Gardening – What to do in January

The new year and winter is here!

It can be hard to feel enthusiastic about that when it seems the only thing going on outside is wetness and grey.

However, all you avid gardeners out there know that January is actually a fine time to prepare for a busy spring and summer.

Here’s some suggestions:

With Alstroemeria

As perennials, alstroemeria die back in winter. But they need a period of cold weather in order to stimulate shoot growth, so you can rest assured they are busy doing their thing underground.

Here’s how to support your alstroemeria during this period of hibernation so they can spring out the ground when the time is right:

In garden beds

  • Although the alstroemeria varieties we grow are garden winter hardy (withstanding soil temperatures as cold as -10°C) it is a good idea to mulch new plants well for the first couple of winters while they are establishing. This ensures they are protected until they have grown up enough to stand on their own two feet (or many roots)
  • It is best to apply a thick layer of leafy or peat-free mulch in Autumn. Composted bark is also a good option. Make sure to keep the mulch about 5cm away from the stem otherwise they may get root rot

In containers

  • Roots are more vulnerable to low temperatures when in pots than they are growing in the ground so you can move them to a location that is free of frost for the winter, such as a sheltered porch or greenhouse
  • Alstroemeria have tuberous, fleshy roots so they require sheltering and good drainage. This will prevent the compost getting too soggy with the winter rains which can also cause the dreaded root rot
  • Water lightly but frequently. The compost should dry out on the surface between watering.

 

General Gardening

  • Keep the birds going. Winter can be hard for them as their water sources freeze and food is more scarce so keep those feeders full and leave some of the garden a little untidy (read: wild) so they and other creatures can enjoy a bit of shelter
  • Compost/re-purpose your Christmas tree
  • Make a bug hotel and help keep your gardens eco system healthy
  • Tidy up the shed/greenhouse and sharpen your tools

 

Get Pruning

  • Get rid of any dead branches hanging about - plants can get too woody and untidy looking
  • Shape/reduce branches of trees and shrubs - they can get too big or start growing in the wrong direction. Relieving some weight off the top also helps the roots get stronger
  • Prune plants like roses and fruit trees as this encourages them to flower/produce fruit more vigorously

 

Get Transplanting

  • Prune the plant before and water thoroughly after transplanting – this helps make it less stressful for the plant
  • After pruning follow the drip line of the plant to know the how far out the roots go which will help you know how big to dig the hole
  • Be gentle when uprooting by lifting the plant out with the spade without disturbing the soil on the roots
  • When in its new spot, add some compost and bone meal to the soil and water thoroughly

 

Well there’s clearly plenty to be done, so we better get going!

Questions About Alstro – Part 2

As per our first post on this subject, we continue to answer some of your most pressing questions about alstroemeria.

Are Alstroemeria Annuals or Perennials?

Alstroemeria are tuberous perennials with deep, thick roots and are repeat flowering plants that grow back every year.

They are able to do this even though the stems die over winter as the roots remain healthy, allowing the plant to regenerate the following year.

Which brings us nicely on to the next question:

Are Alstroemeria Hardy Plants?

Alstroemeria are not just perennials, they are considered ‘hardy perennials’.

As long as the roots are established and deep enough (usually around 2 years after planting) alstroemeria are capable of surviving intense frosts – at times down to -50C.

However, we recommend that you mulch them in their first winter.

Do Alstroemeria Spread?

Alstroemeria form in clumps and the roots will proliferate and spread as time goes by. You will never be short of alstroemeria in the garden because of this. One of the many reasons we love them!

To spread the love more evenly you can divide them every two or so years.

What Diseases can Alstroemeria get?

  • Pythium Root Rot – A fungi that causes weak stems, wilting and stunted growth. It creeps in if the soil is too heavy and sodden for a long time. This can be rectified or prevented by making sure the soil is well-draining. However, once they're infected you’ll need to get rid of all affected plants.
  • Rhizoctonia Root Rot – Signs of this fungi are wilted leaves and dried stems that don’t get any better with watering. Once again, this is likely due to soil that isn’t draining​ well.
  • Botrytis Blight – Also known as ‘grey mould’ for good reason as it appears as furry, grey-brown spores when the weather is humid. It spreads on wet plants, so make sure there's sufficient space between them to help with air circulation. You’ll also want to irrigate them from beneath, concentrating water only on the roots, and remove old or damaged plant debris.
  • Viruses – If you see lines and/or spots on the leaves, you probably have a case of tomato spotted wilt virus or Hippeastrum mosaic virus on your hands. If so, unfortunately it is terminal and all affected plants will need to be destroyed.​ Aphids and thrips are responsible for the spread of this killer so you’ll want to try and keep those critters under control.

 

Do Alstroemeria like being in Pots?

Alstroemeria do very well in pots and the shorter dwarf varieties are particularly suitable.

All our alstroemeria plants are sold in 9cm pots, ready to be potted on into larger pots. They will grow quickly, easily filling a 3-litre pot within 6-8 weeks in growing season.

Some transferring tips:

  • Mix fertiliser evenly into good, fresh, multipurpose compost
  • Put some of this mix into the bottom of the new pot and place the well watered plant onto it
  • Put more compost around it. The compost should finish level with the top of the rootball, 1-2cm below the rim of the new pot (to allow for watering space)
  • Water fairly lightly from a watering can with a rose
  • Place in a warm, sunny position to grow on for 6-8 weeks in spring/summer, or over winter, until the roots have reached the bottom of the pot
  • Water lightly but frequently (the compost should dry out on the surface between watering)

And there you have it!

If you still have questions that are going unanswered, please feel free to let us know on one of our social media platforms.

Alstro in Autumn

It’s no coincidence that awesome rhymes with autumn.

But what’s so awesome about autumn?

While we may be tempted to put away all the gardening equipment and wait for the warmer weather, autumn is actually the most favourable season for gardening. Plants enjoy the cooler weather and they’ll still be cosy in their beds as the soil will likely be a bit moist and warm still. Best of all worlds!

Also, if you have alstroemeria in your garden or are thinking of adding some, you will definitely think autumn is awesome because they will still be flowering.

In fact, they’ll keep bursting with blooms right up until September and possibly even November.

Just marvelous!

Alstroemeria as Perennials

Alstroemeria are perennials and therefore repeat flowering plants. That means they die down in the winter and regrow every spring for 3 years or more. This makes them a fabulous foundation in the garden.

If your alstroemeria has been in your garden for a few seasons, you will know that they are hungry plants. They benefit from regular weekly feeds throughout growing season (May to September) with a high potash fertiliser such as our Alstroemeria Feed. This encourages them to carry on their enthusiastic flowering.

As perennials they are:

  • cold-hardy
  • not so thirsty and require less water and care after they’re established
  • low maintenance – needing just a little dead heading (see tugging method here) to keep them neat and growing vigorously
  • happy in pots and do well in pots and once they outgrow them they’ll do just as well in the garden
  • loved by pollinators, thus providing a long term service to your garden’s ecosystem (pollinators stick around and multiply where the food source is sustainable and thus consistent)
  • great companions for food growing - veggie patches and fruit trees do better when surrounded by perennials as they have a better chance of being pollinated

 

Preparing for winter

Get ready to mulch!

All of the alstroemeria plant varieties we grow are garden winter hardy. However, it is best to mulch the surrounding soil for the first couple of winters while they are establishing. Mulch is a layer of material, at least 5cm thick. Mulching can be done late autumn to late winter (Nov-Feb) and will help them to stay cosy and get through the winter outside.

If you’d like to keep them in their pots outside, you can also lay the pots on their sides once the plants are dormant.

However, if your alstroemeria are still new little sprogs you’ll want to make sure they are protected until they are well established and can get through the winter without any assistance. It is worth keeping your alstroemeria inside in a greenhouse or similar sheltered spot to keep them frost free and to protect them from heavy winter rains.

Remember to give them a good soak every so often, making sure their soil is free draining. Nothing worse than soggy feet...

So now you know what to do, what are you waiting for?

Go on! Get in your garden!

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021

This year is the 99th year of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and it’s going to be an invigorating, inspiring and most welcome distraction!

From 21-26 September you will be able to, once again, savour the show virtually from the comfort of your couch. However, for those up for an outing and some fresh air, you will be able to see, smell, touch all the flowers in all their petally glory!

Hooray! We're excited too!

Although we appreciated the virtual show last year and earlier this year, we must admit, it wasn’t quite the same. After a challenging period of time this is a great opportunity to leave the stress behind us and immerse ourselves in the restorative powers of nature.

That’s why, at this years show, the therapeutic value of having plants around is being celebrated as well as the life and work of nurses and the NHS, with a series of show gardens dedicated to honouring the nursing profession.

An Autumn Show

The shift from May to 21-26 September means a different kind of atmosphere, but Autumn has just as much to offer as Spring. In fact, Autumn is the perfect time for Alstroemeria as their flowering season extends right up until October. Parigo Alstroemeria will be exhibiting again at RHS Chelsea after nearly two decades so keep your eyes peeled for that. You will also see the likes of Salvia, Dahlia and an array of grasses and fruit and vegetables.

You’ll have the chance to bask in show-stopping gardens designed by famous designers and many wonderfully creative floral artworks. There'll be plenty of neat ideas and advice on growing plants in containers, inside and out, as well as gardening on your balcony or in any other small space.

The Chelsea Flower Show is a magnificent melting pot of horticultural specialists, florists, nurseries and designers producing a fabulous explosion of creative expression! This is the place to see what’s trending in the gardening world with products such as gardening tools, sculptures and, of course, plants aplenty.

Some gardens to look out for:

Guide Dog’s 90th Anniversary Garden - telling the story of when the first guide dogs were trained in the 1930s for blind war veterans and the wonderful work these creatures do, bringing liberation and connection to the blind.

Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden Between Continents - a blend of European and Asian plants brought together by the landscapes of the Ural Mountain creates a refreshing and calming, atmospheric journey

Green Sky Pocket Garden - showing innovative use of smaller outdoor spaces, bringing nature back into the city.

Pop Street Garden – a colourful pop and street art inspired space to hang out and have some post-lockdown fun!

This show is not to be missed!

Even if it should rain, the show must go on! In fact one year when it was a thoroughly rainy show, one of the exhibitors dubbed it ‘The Chelsea Shower Flow’ (more odd facts here).

Due to covid safety precautions, the number of visitors will be less than in previous years so it’s best to book those tickets as soon as possible.

And if you don’t manage to nab a ticket to the show you can still enjoy the festivities by taking a walk through the streets of Chelsea. They’ll be full of all things flower with themed floral activities and displays.

Questions about Alstro – Part 1

Can my alstroemeria and my pets be friends?

Are alstroemeria really just little lilies?

Do I need to leave my alstroemeria in my will?

Ok that last one is a bit of a stretch. But that can be true for some flowers! Like peonies!

In this two-part series we’re answering some of the questions you may have about alstroemeria. Perhaps it’s a bit of a mystery plant to you? Are you intrigued by it and want to get to know it better?

Well you’ve come to the right place.

Are Alstroemeria Lilies?

The short answer is no.

The longer answer is that despite their lily-like appearance and being known as Peruvian Lily and Lily of the Incas, alstroemeria are not true lilies. They belong to the Alstroemeriaceae family and grow wild in South America.

Why is my Alstroemeria Dying?

Here are some possibilities:

  • Slugs and snails are sliding around and can make light work of alstroemeria, especially them young and juicy ones
  • Tubers may not be planted deeply enough making them vulnerable to winter frost. They need to be planted deeply and mulched over winter
  • Root rot. Alstro can get a bit claustrophobic if mulched too determinedly. When the mulch is pushed too far down that it’s touching the roots, it can bring on the rot. So be sure to give those roots their personal space (at least 2”)
  • Too much water and soil that doesn’t drain well – soggy feet are a no-no!
  • Not enough sun. Lay off the sunscreen (shade) and get those babies tanning!

 

Why are my Alstroemeria not Flowering?

Too much shade may be the problem. Or the pot they’re in may be too small. As we learnt in the previous point, alstroemeria need their space!

Also, the way you harvest the flowers matters. Yanking rather than cutting encourages more vigorous growth.

Why are my Alstroemeria's Leaves Turning Yellow?

Again, not enough sunlight could be the culprit or even too much water. Otherwise, check your soil’s PH level. It should be no more than 7.

Can Humans Eat Alstroemeria?

At a restaurant and presented with some lovely alstroemeria decorating your meal? Rather keep enjoying them with your eyes and not your mouth. Eating them may lead to stomach upsets for some people.

Can my Pets and my Alstroemeria be Friends?

As established earlier, alstroemeria are not lilies. And while lilies can be dangerous for your furry friends, alstroemeria are very friendly. There’s a chance they may get a bit of an upset tummy from eating them but if you need to leave Fluffy and Felix alone with your alstro, rest assured they’ll all be just fine.

Do Deers like Eating Alstroemeria?

Deers love lilies. But now that we know alstroemeria are not true lilies you can be sure they'll be safe around these dear creatures.

We hope this helped clear up at least some of the mysteries - knowledge is power!

And keep your eyes peeled for part 2 coming soon...

'Indian Summer'
'Inticancha Cabana'
'Inca Reef'
'Inca Lucky'
'Indian Summer'

British Alstro

Now is as good a time as any to be proudly British.

Because, why not?

Also, with more interest in buying local and supporting smaller, homegrown companies closer to where we live, why not add Alstroemeria to that list?

British Grown

Some of us may remember a time when 90% of the flowers supplied in the UK were British grown. We were all going along swimmingly until a fuel price hike in the UK and Dutch government subsidies turned the tables in the 1970’s.

Up until a few years ago, the percentage of British grown flowers sold in the UK was less than 15%. And 90% of that was going to the supermarkets. But that is starting to change.

Although Dutch flower companies have been one step ahead in the flower industry since the 70’s, government subsidies have recently started being phased out which is having a impact on their production.

With many campaigns encouraging greater enthusiasm for British flowers, the demand for British grown flowers is steadily growing.

If you’re in England and buying Alstroemeria grown in British soil, there’s no doubt you’ll be getting a better quality plant. It makes sense to buy plants that don’t have to travel for weeks to get to your door.

Think about how we humans often feel after travelling a few hours on a plane.

Not a pretty sight...

British Bred

Although Alstroemeria originate from South America the first new varieties were bred in Spalding, Lincolnshire by plant breeder John Goemans, becoming known as 'the father of alstroemeria’. He was the first in the world to grow Alstroemeria commercially under glass, introducing the first Alstroemeria variety specifically intended for glasshouse growing in 1959.

By the late 60’s breeding really took off with his launch of pink ‘Ballerina’ - the first of about 50 new varieties he developed over the years for the garden and cut-flower industry. This led to Alstroemeria becoming one of the major glasshouse grown cut flower crops in the world today. In 2018 John Goemans’ company 'Parigo' was taken over by Alec White of Primrose Hall Peonies, where the growing and breeding continues.

There are now about 250 different varieties of alstroemeria available in Britain. We grow over 200 varieties on our 8 acre nursery based in rural Bedfordshire, including original British bred Parigo varieties (such as ‘Apollo’, ‘Friendship’ and the ‘Little Miss’ series), the ‘Colorita’ (‘Princess’) series, ‘Inca’ series, ‘Planet’ series and Inticancha collection. Some of our favourites are ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ and ‘Colorita Fabiana’ with their beautiful and unusual variegated leaves.

Alstroemeria are marvelous because of their comparatively long vase-life (up to 2-3 weeks) and have a long, prolific flowering season.

And strong stems & long bracts make British grown alstro a first prize choice. Also, known as a ‘dry’ and a ‘cool’ crop, they require very little watering or heating.

So they are a sustainability win too!

Gives us reason to be even more proudly British.

And that’s why we love ‘em.

Alstroemeria in June

The unexpectedly cold weather we experienced in April has made our Alstroemeria afraid to show us their faces.

And understandably so. Those sub-zero temperatures were a shock to us too - we had to get all our winter woollies out of storage!

Like us, after the warm spell in March, you were probably all geared up to get to work on your garden over Easter. But with temperatures peaking in the single digits and snow in some areas during April, that just didn’t happen.

We hope those overnight frosts didn’t kill too much of your garden off!

Chief horticulturalist at the Royal Horticultural Society, Guy Barter, said: “Overnight frosts in April are dreaded by gardeners. Magnolia and camellia flowers are ruined, fruit blossom and young fruitlets including pears and apples are spoiled and the tender tips of potatoes will be burnt off if they appear above ground. Gardener’s hearts are in their mouths through April as they anxiously scan the weather forecasts for frost warnings ready to rush out and cover vulnerable plants to ward off damage.”

FLOWERING SEASON

Alstroemerias are very easy to grow.

In the UK they flower from May to November but are usually at their finest in July or August.

Of course, with all the topsy-turvy weather we’ve experienced, the season has been a bit delayed. So although flowering season is technically upon us we are still waiting to see them flowers!

But we should see those cute little faces popping out within the next few weeks.

WHAT TO EXPECT

If you put some Alstroemeria on backorder with us and wait patiently for them to arrive, what can you expect when they do?

Your plants will arrive in a box with a specialist care guide, which includes planting instructions and maintenance tips for your new plants. They will be carefully packed in a recyclable blister pack to hold them in place and keep them safe.

We keep our 9cm plants compact to ensure that all the energy is going into the roots of the plant to make sure they will thrive in their next home.

All our plants are picked over before shipping to remove any flower spikes and excess growth, ensuring they travel to their new home with as little damage as possible. This could mean that your new plants may have very little visible green shoots above the soil. This is not detrimental to the plant at all and does not mean that your plant is dead. Alstroemeria are extremely fast growing and will begin to shoot within a couple of weeks once planted.

There may be loose soil in the blister pack once you remove the plants, again this is not a problem -  we would expect some soil to loosen on its journey. This can either be discarded or added when the Alstroemeria is planted in to the garden or a larger pot.