Goodbye to the dreaded orange alstroemeria

April 5th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Alstroemeria 'Inticancha Imala'

We sometimes still see those fiery orange alstroemerias, romping through neglected borders and smothering everything in their path. They’re undeniably colourful, but they can also be a menace.

When I was a student at Kew – long, long ago – I remember planting a collection of alstroemeria species grown from seed harvested in the wild in mountains of South America. They were noticeably different from those orange ones in the range of their pink and purplish and white flower colours, they were also much shorter in growth and spread less vigorously.

It’s blood from these wild South American species that’s gone into the creation of modern varieties. Many of the resulting varieties are tall and were developed as cut flowers, and let’s remember that two weeks looking good in a vase is nothing for an alstroemeria.

But some of the most useful varieties are those in the much shorter Inticancha Series. Reaching just 35cm in height, one plant is ideal for a 30cm pot or they can be planted at the front of a sunny border. Flowering begins in June and continues into the autumn, dead heading by pulling out the individual stems as their final flowers fade is preferable to cutting off the stems.

To be honest, those I planted in May of last year were a little too short last summer, now they’ve settled down I’m sure they’ll develop more typically. But they’ve been well behaved, they’ve stayed as neat clumps. I also planted the taller Majestic Collection, one of which, ‘Authion’ – in just one year – has already escaped its bed and emerged in the bark path.

There are twenty three varieties in the Inticancha Series, but Mr F have picked the very best Inticanchas and narrowed the collection down to just five including ‘Inticancha Imala’ (above). For containers, borders and for cutting – give them a try.

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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