Some plants grow from seeds, others from tubers – also known as rhizomes. Alstroemeria is one of the latter, and this is actually a great way for plants to propagate themselves. By growing as tubers under the ground, the plant can not only produce flowers and seeds and grow that way, but also ensure they have good, strong stock to reproduce from, and also protect themselves from harsh winter weather.
So, if you have Alstroemeria in your garden and you want to continue growing them, you should know how to divide Alstroemeria tubers and still ensure they stay strong and healthy when you transplant them. Let’s find out how to do it!
Why divide Alstroemeria tubers
Alstroemeria is a sturdy, vigorous plant, that will produce beautiful flowers and strong foliage above ground, and it will also reproduce underground. Also known as the Peruvian Lily, Alstroemeria is a surprisingly hardy plant, that really knows how to take over a growing space!
If you keep your Alstroemeria in pots, or in a small part of the garden, you may find that they start to run out of space and the roots get too crowded to allow the plant enough growing room.
Dividing the tubers is a good way to allow them more space to produce their beautiful flowers – plus it means you can plant more Alstroemeria in different parts of the garden, or give them away to fellow flower fans.
How to divide Alstroemeria tubers
- The first step is to lift the plant out of the garden. You need to be very gentle doing this, because Alstroemeria have fragile roots and they don’t cope well with being damaged.
- Lift them out of the ground using a garden fork or spade, starting quite far out from the base of the plant. Dig the fork gently into the ground, quite deep, and lever it out slowly.
- Once you have extracted the root ball, shake off the excess soil so that all the roots are visible. Do this gently, and avoid knocking the roots so that you don’t accidentally damage them.
- Carefully loosen the root ball and start to separate it into different sections, depending on how large it is and how many tubers you actually want – you may need to use a sharp knife to separate the roots if they are tightly meshed together but this is not always necessary.
- Separate the tubers gently, and plant them as soon as you can into new soil – these tubers don’t store very well, and like to be kept in damp, dark soil as soon as possible.
- New Alstroemeria tubers need soft, nutrient rich soil that has enough space for the root to spread out. They can either be planted straight into the ground or in pots, but make sure you allow enough space for the roots, to ensure that they grow well.
This is a good video that shows you how to divide Alstroemeria:
Best time to divide Alstroemeria tubers
There are a few times of year which are suitable, but best time to do this is in the early spring. This is so that the plant will have a chance to recover well before the growing season starts, and it will be settled into its new home before it starts to produce flowers.
April is usually considered the best time to divide Alstroemeria, but it also depends on what type of plant you have.
For a Summer flowering plant, divide it in the Spring or Autumn, when the soil is dry, while a Spring flowering plant needs dividing in the Summer, after the flowering has completely finished.
Whatever time of year you decide to do this, do it quickly and carefully, to avoid damage and stress to the roots and rhizomes, and replant the tubers straight away.
What to do after dividing Alstroemeria
- Once you have divided your tubers, you will want to plant them as soon as possible, to minimise the stress and to encourage them to grow back sooner. Some rhizomes can be stored in paper bags in a dark place for a while, which will make them go dormant before you replant them – but Alstroemeria don’t like this treatment, and will likely die off if you try to store them before you plant them back out again.
- Prepare your soil; a nice, nutrient rich, well draining patch. Plant the tubers 6 inches deep, and up to 18 inches apart, in this well draining soil. They should start to produce new growth and flowers within 15 weeks, and then they will be good to go for the next 2-4 years, before they need to be divided again.
- You can either plant them into pots, or you can place them in your garden – either the same spot, or a new place if you want to move them. In either case, make sure they have enough space for the roots to spread, and enough nutrients in the soil to feed the hungry shoots and produce good flowers.
Here’s my advice on what to do when your tubers aren’t growing properly.
How to store Alstroemeria tubers?
It is best to not store these tubers. Some rhizomes can be stored in cool dark places and replanted whenever conditions are right, but Alstroemeria is not one of those. It will need to be planted as soon as possible after being divided, to ensure the best results and the most healthy flowers in the future.
Storing Alstroemeria will only make it wither and die, and not produce any good flowers, so try to just plant them straight away and not store them any longer than you have to.
Dividing your Alstroemeria will make them stronger and healthier, and in fact it is essential to keep these perennials going. To do it properly you will need to take a bit of care, but it will also be very rewarding.
Your garden will look stunning, and you will enjoy the feeling of pride that you did it all yourself.