Indian Summer in Spring, Summer and Fall

The advancements plant-breeders have made in developing garden-worthy Alstroemeria (princess lily or Peruvian lily) is truly amazing. Modern introductions such as ‘Indian Summer’ bloom from mid-spring through fall, perhaps slowing down a bit if summer is exceptionally hot and dry. The planting of ‘Indian Summer’ in the photograph is in a small island bed (the Fancy Dude Bed) in our entrance drive. It’s a hot dry location without irrigation other then when we drag a hose to it. Our native soil is very light and quickly dries out between rains. The orange and yellow flowers of ‘Indian Summer’ are set off by its dusky foliage. Alstroemeria are available in a wide range of colors. These long blooming winter-hardy herbaceous perennials rival annuals with their six months of bloom.

Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’

There was a time, before you were born, that the only Peruvian lily (or princess lily) gardeners in the southeast could grow was Alstroemeria psittacina. Gardeners often tired of its rampant spread and its relatively small and sparse, but beautiful flowers. The modern hybrids are well behaved, forming wider clumps with time, but are not even close to being rampant. The mass in the photo represents a planting of quite a few plants. We find that removing spent stems over the course of its half year bloom period improves the appearance. Other than this, the only required maintenance is cutting it to the ground after frost. Like the florists Peruvian lilies, all make superb cut-flowers. I hope those small-scale farmers who have added cut flowers to their offerings have discovered these perennial sources of 6 months of cuts.

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