There are bound to be some times of the year when there are no flowers in our gardens, and that is when we just have to buy some!
A good reliable flower to buy is the South American native alstroemeria, which incidentally does not have a common name. It grows from tubers with lance-shaped green or gray/green leaves, which occasionally can cause skin irritation. The flowers are funnel shaped with six petals clustered in terminal 3-7 rayed umbels, on upright stems. Many hybrids have been developed, but all alstroemerias are ideal for cutting and last well in a vase.
There are about 50 species in the genus, but none are hardy except in zones 7-9. There is a dwarf strain called “Princess” that flowers all summer and fall. Plants produce both single color and multi-colored blooms, mainly whites, pinks, yellows, oranges, and reds.
When buying cut flowers, check to see if any are refrigerated in the store, and if so, choose those. Also ask which day of the week the flower shipments arrive at the store, so that you can plan to purchase your cut flowers when they are newly arrived. Since they will have probably come from South America and have been 4-5 days in transit, you can expect a vase life of, hopefully, about 2 weeks.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on alstroemeria.