Alstroemeria ‘Appel Bloesem’
Lovely sunset – pink / peach colour flowers atop tall stems, make Alstroemeria “Appel Bloesem’ a real statement at the back of the border.
Streaks and dots also mark the inner petals so the flowers are especially decorative. (The marks are actually landing strip markers for pollinating insects).
Alstroemeria ‘Appel Bloesem’ is highly recommended, because it is such a wonderful bloomer, flowering for many months each year.
It begins flowering in spring and continuing in flushes right through into winter, providing wonderful colour for both garden and vase.
A hardy all-rounder
‘Appel Bloesem’ of course means apple blossom, but these flowers are with us for very much longer than fleeting apple blossoms. It is in fact a very old Dutch florist’s variety.
So although fickle floristry fashion has moved on to more glamorous hot house varieties, Alstroemeria ‘Appel Bloesem’ has never been bettered as an all rounder for both garden and vase production.
Long lasting flowers in a vase
Extremely long lasting once cut and the perfect solution for reliable, repeating garden colour.
Stems of flowers will last a fortnight in a vase. They have no scent, so do not become musty smelling after a long vase life.
Where to grow in the garden
Full Sun is the preferred position for stronger flower stems, though they can handle 1/2 Shade, Dappled Sun and Shade and still grow happily, They will just be a little more floppy in shade.
These wonderful old tall florist’s varieties can be planted to grow up through supporting small shrubs.
In areas with very hot summers, some Dappled Shade or Shade for part of day is an advantage, to keep the fleshy tubers blooming well. A good summer mulch is a real help in hot areas.
Frost hardy down to approximately -6C, but with overhead shelter from trees they can do even better than that.
In very hard frost areas a mulch over winter will also help protect the crowns.
Alstroemeria are not a bit fussy about soil, though they must have good soil drainage so the fleshy roots do not rot.
Because they are such abundant producers of blooms, they do need some fertilizer during the long growing season.
Alstroemeria tolerate humidity quite well, and so do well in subtropical areas such as Sydney.
Low maintenance and easy care
Alstroemerias are very low maintenance, hardy and easy plants.
The only work required is to tidy up over winter by cutting back any old stems to ground level.
Clumps last for many years in the garden, so some slow release fertilizer in the growing season will reward with abundant blooms, though Alstroemeria clumps have been known to persist for decades even when abandoned.
Their fleshy, tuberous root systems allow them to store water and nutrients ready to survive tough times, and withstand periods of dry well. A mulch over winter is an advantage in hard frost areas.
Cutting for the vase
Twist and pull the stems upwards to harvest from the crown, rather than cutting. This promotes rapid regeneration of flower stems and keeps the clump healthy.
Growing: Alstroemeria ‘Appel Bloesem’
– Height with flowers: 90cm approx.
– Position: Full Sun to Part Shade
– Soil: Happily tolerate sandy soils to heavy clay, as long as it is well drained. Will rot in waterlogged soil because of the fleshy tuberous roots. Or raise the planting mound in heavier soils to give better drainage.
– Frost: Hardy down to approximately -6C, but with overhead shelter from trees can do even better. In hard frost areas mulch in winter.
– Growth: Hardy herbaceous perennial.
– Beware: Wear gloves when cutting, as the tulipalin compound in the sap may cause skin irritation in susceptible individuals. Do not plant the species Alstroemeria psittacinais as it is an invasive, declared noxious weed.
– Beneficial to wildlife: The long blooming period gives a steady supply of food to nectar and pollen gathering bees, birds and butterflies. The Alstroemeria flowers make it easy for our insect friends to zoom in accurately, using those handy landing strip markings on the petals.
Easy work & resilient
– Care: Very easy low maintenance, only requiring some fertilizer during the growing season, and a winter trim to the ground to tidy. In very hot summer areas mulch in summer. In hard frost areas mulch in winter.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: The whole plant contains a toxin called called tulipalin which burns the mouth, so rabbits and deer are wise enough to leave them alone.
– Origin: Alstroemeria are native to South America, particularly in Chile and Peru. Hence their common names of ‘Peruvian Lily’, ‘Lily of the Incas’ or ‘Parrot Lily’.
The name Alstroemeria commemorates a gardening hero – Claus von Alstomer. Claus was wise enough in 1753 to send some Alstroemeria seed home to Sweden from Spain, where he had spotted the spectacular flowers of recent introductions from the Spanish conquests in South America.
Myths & legends
– Myths & legends: Tradition says that each of the six Alstroemeria petals represents a special desirable quality: understanding, humour, patience, empathy, commitment and respect. If only people can be like Alstroemerias they will be very whole humans.