Alstroemeria Flower – Meaning, Symbolism and Colors

Kingdom – Plantae

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Super Division – Spermatophyta

Division – Magnoliophyta

Class – Liliopsida

Order – Asparagales

Family – Alstroemeriaceae

Genus – Alstroemeria

Meaning of the Alstroemeria flower

The Alstroemeria flower is also known as the Peruvian lily or Lily of Incas is a flowering plant in the family Alstoemeriaceae. It looks more like a miniature lily which is why it is often called a lily. They are an excellent choice for bouquets and flower arrangements in the commercial cut flower trade. They are known to bloom in the late spring and early summer. Some are winter blooming while others bloom only in the summer. They are perennial plants. They bloom and bloom yearly for years, however, one species is annual. They are commonly grown as a garden plant or landscaping cover.

Origin of the Alstroemeria flower

The genus Alstroemeria was named by Carl Linnaeus after a Swedish baron, Clas von Alstromer, who was his student. It was reported that Alstromer collected seeds on a trip to Spain in 1753, and brought it back to Sweden to study. They are native to South America and are found in Chile and Brazil. They were discovered in the 18th century, and have been hybridized repeatedly ever since.

Description of the Alstroemeria Flower

The Alstroemeria plant has a thin stem and heaps of foliage. The root system is fibrous which gives it the capability to store water, keeping the plant in steady supply of water even in dry seasons. The Alstroemeria can be classified as a slightly zygomorphic (bilaterally symmetrical) flower having 3 sepals and 3 striped petals. The petals and sepals are similar in colour and texture. The Alstroemeria plant can be said to be a grass with the veins going up the leaves but none branching across. It has an undivided style and six stamens. Its colours range from salmon, purple, and red, to white with most flowers being variegated. The Alstroemeria flower does not have any fragrance. The leaves twist up from the base making the lower leaf appear on the upper face and the upper leaf appear on the lower face. The Alstroemeria and a few other flower species possess this special characteristic.

They are not hard to grow and needs little attention. They need indirect sunlight – as direct sunlight makes them lose water too quickly – moderate temperatures and lots of water.  They lie dormant during winter and spring back on their own during the next season. When the ambient temperature is getting too high, say around 23 degrees Celsius, the Alstroemeria plant shifts from producing more flowering shoots to producing more fibrous roots. This can inadvertently lead to the production of non-flowering plants.

Classification of the Alstroemeria flower

The Alstroemeria flower has over 120 species in all which are different in their entirety. The most common and cultivated ones however are listed below:

•    Alstroemeria aurea: They are found in Chile and Argentina and are naturalized in New Zealand. They have yellow or orange clusters of lily-like flowers on elegant stems and are 2-3 feet tall.

•    Alstroemeria Inca: They are also referred to as the Inca Lily, and are found in the cool mountain ranges of the Andes in Chile, Brazil and Peru. They have bright colours and strong stem and are 2-3 feet tall.

•    Alstroemeria pelegrina: They have different shades of purple, white and yellow colours.

•    Alstroemeria primadonna: It is a lovely pink variety.

•    Alstroemeria ligtu:  They are sometimes called St. Martin’s flower or Lily of the Nile and are found in Peru, Chile and Argentina. They come in different shades of pink, orange, and scarlet with a unique stripe of yellow.

•    Alstroemeria x hybrid: They are often called Princess Monica flower by gardeners. They have long dark leaves with tall and semi-thick stem. The blooms are often of white colour but may feature other colours on petals.

•    Alstroemeria psittacina – They are also called Lily of the Incas, White-edged Peruvian Lily or White Alstroemeria.

•    Alstroemeria pulchella – They are also known as Parrot Lily, Parrot Flower, Red Parrot Beak, and New Zealand Christmas Bell.

•    Alstroemeria haemantha – They are also called Purplespot Parrot Lily.

•    Alstroemeria aurantiaca – They are also called Peruvian Lily or Alstroemeria Princess Lily.

However, many hybrids of the Alstroemeria flower has been cultivated which gives birth to flowers of different markings and colours like white, orange, pink, red, purple and lavender. The following species, however, have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit:

•    Apollo: It has white or yellow coloured flowers.

•    Oriana: It has salmon or yellow coloured flowers.

•    Cahors: It has pink or yellow coloured flowers.

•    Celine: It has pale pink or yellow coloured flowers.

•    Tessa: It has red coloured flowers.

•    Coronet: It has salmon or yellow coloured flowers.

•    Spitfire: It has orange or yellow coloured flowers.

•    Friendship: It has yellow flushed pink coloured flowers.

•    Sonata: It has red or yellow coloured flowers.

•    Sirius: It has pink or yellow coloured flowers.

•    Phoenix: It has red or yellow coloured flowers.

•    Perfect Blue: It has pink coloured flowers.

•    Red Elf

•    Yellow Friendship

•    Orange Gem

•    Orange Glory


It should be noted that as beautiful and interesting this flower is, some species are now being regarded as weeds like the Alstroemeria pulchella and Alstroemeria aurea in Australia.

Symbolic representation of the Alstroemeria flower

The coquettish blooms of the Alstroemeria flowers bring out a variety of shades, and this makes them suitable for many events. The Alstroemeria flower essentially symbolizes friendship and devotion, when given to a friend or loved one, it portrays a message that you will always be there for them and that you trust in your long-lasting bond. The symbolic representation of the Alstroemeria flower is a compliment of their beauty, and the message that these flowers send is reflective in its genuine simplicity. The brilliantly coloured blooms of the flower can lit up a room as well as the hearts of their recipients. They give the nice impression of one luxurious shrub or bush when planted in close proximity with one another.

Regardless of whether displayed on their own or used to accent a mixed bouquet, these dazzling flowers will attract attention because of their unique appeal and the meaningful messages that they carry. It is seen that the leaves grow upside down, twisting as it grows out from the stem with the bottom facing upwards. This is a representation of the fact that there are twists and turns in the growth of our friendships. As friendship often has ups and downs, so do the leaves of Alstroemeria.

It is also a symbol of a symbol of wealth, fortune and prosperity since the Alstroemeria flower is known to live for long. In this context, it is also used as a symbol of lasting devotion between couples. The twisting leaves may represent the complex nature of marriage. It is also used to symbolize long-term relationships with others.

The Alstroemeria flowers are known for their bright colours and delicate texture which is why it is commonly and globally used in bridal bouquets, flower arrangements and even corsages and boutonnieres. Cut flowers can last in a vase for almost two weeks, making it an ideal flower for floral arrangements and centrepieces.

The Alstroemeria also symbolizes enduring friendships. We can say that each of the Alstroemeria’s six petals represents an important characteristic: understanding, patience, humour, empathy, commitment, and respect. It is, therefore, the best gift to celebrate a beautiful friendship with someone, or a group of friends.

Symbolic representation in Astrology

The Alstroemeria flower has deep roots in Astrology as seen in the use of tarot cards, zodiac symbols and animal symbols. From an astrological point of view, the tarot cards closely associated with the Alstroemeria can be used to understand what type of flower it represents.

Colours of the Alstroemeria flower

Nowadays, the Alstroemeria can be found in a variety of colours ranging from white to golden yellow, pink to red, lavender and purple, orange to apricot. Their bright colours add a whimsical setting to any garden or flower bed. The Alstroemeria stows away to some degree timidly in its bud but when it does open, it is almost a perfect view. It showcases six to eight petals on the stem with a flaming interior of white, yellow, red, orange, purple or pink. These colours have symbolic representation in today’s society.

The petal colour of the Alstroemeria can almost impact a meaning when used in arrangements;

•    Pink – represents love and care amongst couples and families.

•    Pink and red – represents warmth and fondness towards a colleague.

•    Orange – represents you working towards your objectives throughout everyday life.

•    Yellow and white – this is used when a friend or loved one is unwell to show sympathy and care.

•    Red – represents bottomless emotions and love between couples

•    White – White bouquet of Alstroemeria can be used as a bridal bouquet. In this setting, just like with lilies it represents rebirth, long-lasting union and passion.

Apart from the colours listed above, deeper colours also give the symbolic impression of deeper feeling and emotions.

Alstroemeria Care

As with most flowers, great care and attention are required during cultivation. As explained earlier, the Alstroemeria should be positioned indirectly to the rays of sunlight so as to minimize loss of water from its leaves. Other ways to care for the Alstroemeria plant include:

•    Cut the base under flowing water, ensuring that the end doesn’t dry out before placing it in a vase.

•    Submerge them in warm water if the buds feel tight to promote opening.

•    Keep checking the vase water daily and supply it with fresh water before it runs out.

•    Keep out of direct sunlight.