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 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'

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.”


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.


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.