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I am even now thinking about next year`s purchases (maybe we should have a dedicated thread with such a title?)
Every so often I read of glowing reports of Alstroemeria. The floriferousness I see in pictures of course is very appealing. I first thought these plants wouldnt be hardy in my zone 5 but I think it is worth trying.
I think I have access to "Inca Ice", "Sweet Laura" and a "Ligtu Hybrid (haemantha)".
I would love to hear of your experiences with these `lilies`.
'Sweet Laura' is a bit hardier than the rest, I think it might make it in 5b although I'd probably mulch it well over the winter to be safe. I'm not sure about the Ligtu hybrids, but most others (like the ones in the "Princess" series) are hardy to zone 7 so unless you have a sheltered microclimate, mulch them well, and have a mild winter I think you'll have trouble getting them to overwinter.
I have about six alstroemerias in the princess series and have overwintered them for four years. I have them in pots, because they wouldn't make through the winter here in zone 5. I have always brought them in for the winter and had them under lights. They continue to bloom all winter. A friend that works with me at the garden center keeps hers in the garage over the winter, and they do fine. She has them in the warmest corner of her garage. I am going to try that this year. I still have them outside, and the leaves are almost completely dead from frost. When I know that the temperature outside is going to stay below freezing, I'll put them in the garage. I really like growing the alstroemerias. The flowers are beautiful, and there is such a range of colors. The princess series are shorter, and don't tend to flop like the others.
Thanks for the reply busy_gardener. I hear that the newer varieties of these lilies are (much) hardier and that with proper placement e.g. near a home foundation or a sunny southern exposure it can make it through a zone 5 winter.
In fact "Walter Gardens" has trialed "Inca Ice for a couple of seasons in Michigan and it has come through those winters just fine. See here for a bit of background:
Sweet Laura is very similar in color to my Sara. Are you planning to order now, or wait until next spring. I'll let you know next spring how my garage experiment goes. I'm a little worried that I will lose the plants and have nothing left. Maybe I will take a small division of each, and keep them under lights until I know that overwintering in my garage works.
'busy', my plan is to get a couple of these lilies (thinking of "Inca Ice" now) in 2013. I for sure don't have the patience to bring plants in during the winter in my zone 5b climate so I am hoping to hear from gardeners that have had success with some of these newer varieties of Alstroemeria that appear to be hardier eg "Inca Ice".
I'm a zone warmer, but Sweet Laura has done well for years here.
I don't mulch it or take any special winter precautions.
I've tried other newer cultivars reportedly hardy to z. 5, but none have survived.
I used to get my alstroemerias from Seneca Hill nursery, sadly now closed.
She had quite a selection of supposedly hardy alstroemerias.
I tried Freedom, Mauve Majesty, Patricia Lynn and Tangerine Tango, but sadly none have thrived.
They're not dead yet, so I can't say for sure,
but none look promising other than the tried-and-true Sweet Laura.
Plant Delights now offers most of these, I see.
He lists them as being hardy also,
so it may have been summer heat rather than winter hardiness they don't like.
Like many, we had a particularly brutal summer...
The picture is altroemeria Patricia Lynn 2 summers ago - didn't flower this past summer, unfortunately.
As for habit, my Sweet Laura gets about 2 ft tall, blooms mid-late summer, part shade.
Has formed a clump a foot across, I guess.