Alstroemeria: The Ultimate Guide

With topsy turvy leaves – they grow upside down! – and gorgeous delicate flowers, we're big fans of alstroemeria.

Alstroemeria is a staple in many a bouquet these days and it's not hard to see why. We love their stripy petals and vibrant colour palette, perfect when you want to send someone a colourful bunch of flowers.

Also known as the Peruvian lily or the lily of the Incas, these magical blooms are cousins of your favourite lilies but with a sweet and innocent twist. Learn more about this intriguing flower in our guide to appreciate it for all it has to offer.

Alstroemeria meanings

Overall, these beautiful blooms are said to symbolise love, friendship and devotion. How sweet!

In fact, each of their petals is also believed to represent something different: patience, empathy, commitment, respect and humour. No wonder they're such popular wedding flowers with all those traits combined.

Like many flowers, the colour of the alstroemeria flower's petals also mean something different, so you can send a message to a loved one without saying a word. Here's what the alstroemeria flower means, depending on its colour.

Red

It's no secret that red flowers have ties to romance and alstroemeria is no different. Alstroemeria grows in vibrant shades of red, symbolising passion and love, ideal if you're looking for a stunning bouquet to surprise your partner with.

When to give red alstroemeria: Swap your usual roses for these lush blooms for a romantic bouquet that’s less than cliche.

Pink

Sweet pink alstroemeria flowers are believed to symbolise playfulness and romance. They're said to represent friendships that have blossomed into love. Cute!

When to give pink alstroemeria: Are you in the honeymoon period of a new relationship? Then alstroemeria in its candyfloss pink hues is perfect for letting them know you care. We love pairing them with lush pink roses and purple statice for a striking bouquet that’ll knock them off their feet.

Yellow

Yellow is a colour that instantly perks us up. It reminds us of all the good things in life; sunshine, sandy beaches, cheese… it's no surprise then that yellow alstroemeria flowers symbolise happiness! A bunch of these sunny blooms will instantly lift spirits.

When to give yellow alstroemeria: Want to spread a bit of cheer? Yellow alstroemeria should do the trick. Send a bunch of these cheerful blooms to a friend's door and they'll be feeling all the good vibes in no time.

Purple

The colour purple is typically associated with royalty and purple alstroemeria is believed to mean nobility and beauty. That's definitely going to flatter whoever receives a bouquet of these purple blooms from you!

When to give purple alstroemeria: These flowers are the sophisticated choice when you want to send a chic bouquet of flowers that can be enjoyed at home.

Orange

Fiery orange shades of alstroemeria symbolise energy and positivity. Ideal for a Monday morning to perk you up before that first day back at work.

When to give orange alstroemeria: Send a bunch of these blooms to someone who needs a positivity boost or encouragement. Maybe they have a job interview or a final exam? That burst of orange should cheer them up and let them know you're rooting for them.

White

Vivid white alstroemeria is said to mean purity, love and support. This is perhaps why they're a popular choice for wedding bouquets and corsages. Plus, they're long lasting so they'll look good from the ceremony to the dancefloor, however you feature them in your wedding flowers.

When to send white alstroemeria: We love the thought of sending a bunch of white blooms to new parents who have just welcomed home a baby. It's the perfect neutral colour to welcome that bundle of joy to the world and should stand out amongst the other bouquets they've likely received.

Alstroemeria facts

Alstroemeria isn't your typical bloom, we've rounded up some of the most interesting facts about this flower to impress your friends with after they receive a bouquet.

Alstroemeria has no scent

Unlike it's relative the lily, alstroemeria surprisingly has no fragrance which makes it a very popular bloom for those of us who are unfortunate enough to have allergies. Our noses are grateful already.

Alstroemeria goes by several names

Like an international super spy, alstroemeria is the mysterious type and goes by many names. We've featured a few of the most common below.

  1. Peruvian lily – This comes from the flower's country of origin, as they grow wild in Peru (and also Brazil and Chile).
  2. Inca lily – Again, this is linked to their country of origin and the Inca civilization that once thrived in South America.
  3. Ulster Mary – This is thought to simply be a mispronunciation of the name alstroemeria that's stuck!
  4. Parrot lily – The flower gets this nickname because its petals remind us of parrot tail feathers.

Alstroemeria has zygomorphic traits

Ooh, that sounds very fancy and technical! But basically, it just means alstroemeria flowers tend to grow more to one side. They're not quite as zygomorphic as freesia, with blooms that only grow on one side of the stem, but they definitely have a lean to them.

The flower's leaves grow upside down

And no one is quite sure why. Alstroemeria's leaves grow like usual, then twist to face the other way. Some people say this is one of the reasons why the flower represents friendship and all the ups and downs that you may experience along the way.

Alstroemeria grows in Brazil in summer and Chile in winter

Even though the flower is considered to be a summer bloomer in the UK, it's colour comes out in Chile's winter months. It's also worth noting that while it thrives in warmer climates if the temperature gets too high the plant will stop producing flowers. You've got to respect a flower that knows what it wants!

Is alstroemeria safe for pets?

We recommend that you keep alstroemeria away from curious cats and dogs. If eaten, these flowers can make them ill but the effects aren't as serious as normal lily poisoning. If you're not so sure, take a look at our lily free range to keep your prized pets safe.

Are alstroemeria flowers edible?

No, while some blooms can be featured on bakes or steeped in hot water to make tea, alstroemeria is not edible. As tempting as they look, if eaten you could be dealing with an upset stomach not long after, so we think it's best to just enjoy them in a vase or as part of an arrangement.

How to care for cut alstroemeria flowers

We guarantee our blooms for at least seven days but did you know that if properly cared for your alstroemeria could stand tall for up to two weeks!

Here are some top care tips to follow if you have a bunch of these beauties at home, to enjoy them for longer.

Step 1 - Re-cut your alstroemeria

Remove your flowers from their wrapping then take a pair of scissors or a sharp knife and snip the ends of the stems diagonally. This opens them up again and encourages them to take in water, once featured in your chosen vase.

Step 2 - Add your flower food and cool water to a vase

Alstroemerias may like it hot when they grow naturally in sunny Peru but when cut, it's best to pop them in a vase of clean and cool water. Be sure to also add your flower food, this should keep them looking perky, and to also remove any leaves that could sit below the waterline to stop any bacteria growing in the water.

Step 3 - Pop your alstroemeria in a cool, shady spot

Avoid scorching their delicate petals and keep them out of direct sunlight. It's also best to keep them away from your fruit bowl, as fruit releases gases that can make flowers wilt! Bananas are the biggest culprits.

Step 4 - Change the water and re-cut the stems every 3 to 4 days

This encourages your flowers to take in more clean water, stay hydrated and continue looking as lush as the day they arrived.

When do alstroemeria flower in the UK?

You can get your hands on freshly grown alstroemeria during the summer months. Around June and July these flowers become available until early autumn.

If you're trying to be a little more eco-friendly, we recommend enjoying alstroemeria between these months to reduce your carbon footprint (as seasonal flowers don't have to be imported) and to get your hands on the best looking bouquets.

Uses for alstroemeria

These stunning flowers can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. We've detailed a few below:

  • Decoration - It's safe to say these flowers enhance any space they're featured in. Enjoy them as decoration in your home on a coffee table or a shelf in the study to brighten up the room.
  • Gifts - Send alstroemeria as a gift to someone you love, taking inspiration from the meanings listed above. A bright pink bouquet of alstroemeria will be well received by your partner while a posy of yellow blooms should perk up your best friend who's had a hard time of late.
  • Wedding flowers - Alstroemeria are a popular choice for wedding flowers, as they add a delicate, chic finish to any bouquet. They pair beautifully with roses – another popular wedding flower. Many people opt for white alstroemeria to complement their dress but we're big fans of clashing colours and vibrant blooms that look great in those professional photos. If you're having a summer wedding, alstroemeria are also the ideal choice for corsages when freesias aren't in season.

Feeling inspired by these stunning flowers? Pick your own from our range and send them to a loved one to brighten up their day.

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