Featured Plant - Alstroemeria
Updated: Sep 12, 2020
Alstroemeria is that humble bloom that can save the day in ikebana. It’s so easy, you feel like a pro, so abundant and affordable, it’s almost overlooked, so uncomplicated and prolific in the garden it almost plants itself!
See it there at TJs or at the florist, in the back row, so modest and unassuming? So many colors, vivid reds, lavenders of every shade, white, dusky gold, dark and light, striped or freckled. Stems are long and sturdy, but lightweight and sinuous, and — bonus! — they can last sometimes as long as three weeks on your table. Perfect qualities for any ikebana arrangement.
Also called Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas, the alstroemeria is a perennial discovered in 1753 by Claus von Alstomer, a Swedish baron, while he was collecting seeds in Spain. Sounds posh, but this plant is decidedly working class, economical and reliable. It symbolizes devotion, friendship and mutual support in difficult times. Was ever this flower needed more than today?
In the garden, plant bulbs in moist, well-drained soil, full sun or partial shade. Some varieties can reach three feet in height, while a dwarf selection will serve as bountiful ground cover. When picking, don’t cut! Instead, pull the entire stalk from the ground. This encourages abundant regrowth that will delight year after year.
Blooms grow in clusters, so in ikebana they are the very definition of both Moribana (“piled-up”) and Nageire (“thrown-in”) flowers.