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Astrantia and alstroemeria


by Adam Pasco

I must have planted Astrantia major 'Roma' at the bottom of my lawn about eight years ago, and to be honest haven't given it any special care since.


Astrantia and alstroemeriaEveryone is looking for plants that offer great garden performance, and I think I've hit the jackpot with astrantia. I must have planted Astrantia major 'Roma' at the bottom of my lawn about eight years ago, and to be honest haven't given it any special care since.

Like all hardy perennials they'll come back year after year, but some need lifting and dividing to keep their displays fresh and vibrant. Not so with astrantia, which produces delightful starburst blooms in June, that last all season long, gradually fading with age. 'Roma' adds a lovely pink to the display, but there are lots of other equally generous astrantias available in greens, whites and deep reds. Some even offer variegated foliage, but this isn't really to my taste.

Once planted, my flower borders go into overdrive, spreading as they want with very little direction from me. Neighbouring plants mix and mingle, looking far more natural to my eye than carefully orchestrated displays. One spreader I love is alstroemeria, which I've planted everywhere. I simply let it spring up among other plants, adding another tier of seasonal colour. Stems can be gently plucked from the soil to use as cut flowers, but I leave mine in place to enhance the display. Without tightly packed neighbours to provide support, taller varieties of alstroemeria would collapse; alongside astrantia, phlox and geraniums, though, they're fine.

You'll be hard-pressed spotting any bare soil in my borders. Every inch is accounted for, and the display in June is probably the best of the year!



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Gardeners' World Web User 24/06/2008 at 16:28

I found a seed head at the cemetery where my Mum is buried,it had been lopped off by the mower. I would like to know what it is. The plant that it came from was about 5 feet in height and each stem reaching upwards. Each stem had a lots of little seed heads that look like conical, with the end pointing updwards. I thought it might be alium, however looking up alium seedheads, this looks a no go. It reminds me of onion seed heads. Please can someone help.

Gardeners' World Web User 27/06/2008 at 11:35

Be careful when cutting alstromeria for display -I was badly 'burned' and in fact scarred by the sap last year and now make sure I wear gloves.

Gardeners' World Web User 04/07/2008 at 15:07

Maggie, we'd really need to see a picture of this plant to identify it properly, so perhaps you could email a digital image.

Gardeners' World Web User 02/08/2008 at 17:42

I purchased an Alstroemeria about 4 years ago and have had it in a pot until last year. It flowered only very poorly each year. However I planted it out last year and it has spread considerably but only had one solitary flower on it !!I am not sure of the species but it is medium heightand with a yellowish flower. I would like to know why it will not flower profusely. Can any one give me some advice please ?

Gardeners' World Web User 29/10/2008 at 21:41

Alstroemeria are like peonies - they need time to establish as they hate root disturbance. Give it a try & leave it alone for a year - no fertiliser and see what you get. We are professional growers of alstroemeria - email us a picture of the flowers you get at metcalfesfineplants@googlemail.com & we'll try to identy the variety and come back with cultural advice. Cheers Gisela Metcalfe

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