Germinating Alstroemerias

Alstroemerias are relatively difficult to germinate. Right now we have begun a series of tests to find the best strategies for Chilean Alstroemerias and we will report the results in this section as they become available.

There are four basic types of germination strategies for Alstroemerias, depending on their origin:

- Coastal Desert Species.

- Medium Elevation Desert Species.

- Mediterranean Lowland Species.

- High Mountain Species.

Coastal Desert Species

Applies to: Alstroemeria diluta ssp. chrysantha, Alstroemeria hookeri ssp. recumbens, Alstroemeria kingii, Alstroemeria magnifica ssp. magenta (all subspecies), Alstroemeria pelegrina, Alstroemeria philippii var. philippii, Alstroemeria werdermannii, Leontochir ovallei.

Alstroemerias from coastal desert should receive stadard treatment indicated in our main manual for desert plants, that is, keeping the germination temperatures low, at about 10-14 C. So far we had easy germination of Alstroemeria werdermannii. We have exposed it to a temperature which naturally oscillated from 10 to 20C (daily fluctuation) during four weeks. I have not tested the exposure of these desert species to constant temperatures, but I believe that the temperature fluctuations are not very important for these species.

Substrate, always with very good drainage:

Sandy, loose, poor soil for: Alstroemeria werdermannii, Alstroemeria hookeri, Alstromeria diluta, Alstroemeria kingii.

More compact, rocky, poor soil for: Alstroemeria leporina, Alstroemeria schizanthoides, Alstromeria crispata, Alstroemeria pelegrina, Alstroemeria philippii, Alstroemeria violacea, Alstroemeria magnifica, Leontochir ovallei.

Light: Exposed, but without direct sunlight.

Medium Elevation Desert Species

Applies to: Alstroemeria crispata, Alstroemeria leporina, Alstroemeria schizanthoides var. schizanthoides.

Very similar strategy as for coastal desert plants, except that daily temperature fluctuations are required and should have a larger amplitude (+4 + 8C to +15 +20C). The way to deal with it if you live in an area with constant temperatures is to put the seeds every night into the fridge and take them out during the day.

All these Alstroemerias species need a compact, rocky, poor soil with very good drainage.

Light: Exposed to direct sunlight.

Central Zone Low Elevation Species (Mediterranean Climate)

Applies to: Alstroemeria andina, Alstroemeria angustifolia, Alstroemeria aurea, Alstroemeria ligtu ssp. ligtu, Alstroemeria pulchra ssp. pulchra, Alstroemeria revoluta, Alstroemeria versicolor, Bomarea salsilla.

This group needs a short cold stratification of about four weeks and than exposure to alternating temperatures (+4 + 8C to +15 +20C). Some species may germinate without the cold stratification, but it is safer to carry it out.

All of these Alstroemeria species prefer a compact, rocky, poor soil with relatively good drainage, but most of them can tolerate heavier soil types, including clay.

Light: Exposed to direct sunlight, except for Bomarea salsilla which prefers deep shade and for Alstroemeria aurea, which prefers partial shade.

High Mountain Species

Applies to: Alstroemeria exerens, Alstroemeria pallida, Alstroemeria presliana ssp. presliana, Alstroemeria pseudospatulata, Alstroemeria spatulata, Alstroemeria umbellata.

This group requires a long cold stratification of about three months and than exposure to alternating temperatures (+4 + 8C to +15 +20C).

All of these Alstroemeria species prefer a rocky, poor soil with very good drainage.

Light: Exposed to direct sunlight.