Alstroemeria Cultivars, Propagation And Requirement of Environmental And Agronomic

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Alstroemeria commonly known as Peruvian lily is fast gaining popularity as a commercial cut flower and pot plant. Alstroemerias are grown primarily for their beautiful cut flowers of different colours, red, pink, purple, lavender, white, orange, yellow and bicolour. There is large scope for its cultivation in Shimla, Solan, Kullu, Sirmour, Mandi, Palampur areas of himachal Pradesh.

Alstroemeria Cultivars

The Important cultivars as per their flower colour are:

Red Carmen, King, Cardinal, Red Sunset, Valiant
Pink Capitol, Fiona, Olympic, Rito, Trident, Veronica
White Amanda, Monalisa, White Wings
Yellow Caneria, Eleaner, Friendship, Orchid
Lavender Barbara, Butterfly, Jupiter
Bronze Butterscotch
Orange Harlequin, Sunrise

Alstroemeria Propagation

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Alstroemeria is propagated by seed, but it is uncommon due to variability and longer time required for germination. The most common method of propagation for cut flower production is by rhizome divisions. For better establishment of Alstroemeria plants, the rhizome portion should have a tip and tuberous roots as they produce higher number of shoots.

To produce new rhizomes, nodal segments with or without tuberous roots should be used. For multiplication of rhizomes of Alstroemeria, growing media consisting of cocopeat + peat (1:1, V/V) and sand + soil + FYM (1:1:1, V/V) was found to be the best. Micropropagation is Also a successful method for mass multiplication. Rhizomes of cv. Aladin are stored at a temperature of 2-4 c for 6 weeks result in better sprouting, establishment of plants, shoot production and rhizome multiplication.

Alstroemeria Environmental Requirement

Temperature: A greenhouse should be maintained at a day temperature in the range of 18-22 c whereas night temperature of 10 to 13 c.

Light: Lighting hastens flower production. In general, about 13 hours of photoperiod is required for flower initiation. Supplementary lighting of 900 foot candle from light pressure sodium lamps is used in the winter. A night interruption using 1000 watt incandescent light 87.5 cm apart and 82.5 cm above the plant can be used.

Irrigation: Alstroemerias are grown under slightly dry conditions. Water should be applied through drip irrigation. Excess of water encourages root rot. Overhead watering should be avoided as it causes botrytis disease in dense lower foliage. Relative humidity of 80-85 per cent should be maintained.

Alstroemerias Agronomic Requirements

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Soil-Media: Alstroemeria rhizomes should be planted in a loose, well drained medium, which should be sterilized to prevent soil borne diseases, which cause serious damage to the crop. The ideal medium for growing Alstromeria is forest soil or cocopeat. Growing medium is to be sterilized with solar radiation, which raises the soil temperature in closed greenhouse conditions during summers. Soil or media should be thoroughly drenched with water, covered with a polyethy lene and all the open ends are to be sealed. The beds are to be covered for 6 to 8 weeks. It controls weeds, insect and most of the disease causing organisms.

The ideal pH for crop is 6.5 but can vary between 6 to 7. If needed the soil can be amended to the desired texture with the use of peat, perlite and a variety of organic and inorganic amendments. The beds are normally prepared 30 to 40 cm or greater in depth. The plants are spaced at 45×50 cm thereby accommodating 4-5 plants per m2.

Required Alstroemerias Nutrition

Alstroemria is a heavy feeder. They are responsive to nitrate nitrogen which is responsible for dark green foliage. For better growth, flowering and higher cut flower yield, the plants should be fertigated with NPK @ 150:100:150 ppm twice a week for applying this amount of NPK, 526.32 mg of water solube fertilizer (19:19:19, NPK), 108.70 mg of urea and 83.33 mg of muriate of potash is dissolved in 1 liter of water. Weekly applications of nutrients when the medium become dry are recommended. Generally, 200 to 280 ppm N has been used which is supplied through calcium and potassium nitrate.

Pinching and Disbudding: Generally, pinching and disbudding are not needed however, shoot removal is required as large number of stem that emerge are vegetative. Because of branched growth and the presence of an axillary bud on the rhizomes, stems must be regularly removed to maintain production and to stimulate axillary shoot elongation. Monthly removal or thinning of old and weak shoots is necessary.

Thinning: In Alstroemeria, thinning can be done either by pulling of shoots 95 cm above soil level with a sharp edged cutting tool. Thinning reduces the productivity of class-I and class-II cut flowers. Thinning frequency of 50 per cent of all shoots every third week results in production of higher number of A and B grade flowers and also produces more number of large rhizomes. Hard thinning also increases stem lengths but reduces duration of flowering flush.

Staking: Three to four layers of supports are required for staking the plants. Normally, first 2 layers of netting consisting of 20×20 cm mesh opening are spread every 20-30 cm above soil line and subsequent layers are 50 cm in height. Supports should be placed over the beds at the time of planting.

Mulching: Mulching with polythene sheet or dry grass is beneficial as in winter it increases soil temperature and in summer it reduces soil temperature. It also reduces population of weeds.

Alstroemeria Pot Culture: Selection No. 14 and Riana are suitable for pot culture. Growing medium consisting of soil + and + cocopeat + vermicompost + FYM, in equal proportions by volume is a good substrate for vegetative parameters like plant height, shoot length, spread, number of leaves, stem thickness and chlorophyll content.

Advanced flowering with greater number of cymes per inflorescence, more duration of flowering and better pot presentability also results with the same medium. Increased rhizome production could also be obtained in this medium. Cycle lighting with high pressure sodium lamps @200-250 fc 30 cm above each plant increases plant height, shoot length, plant spread, number of leaves per generative shoot and stem thickness. It also results in earlier flowering, greater number of cymes per inflorescence, increased flower duration and better pot presentability than the natural lighting.

Alstroemeria Harvesting Best Technique

The flowers are harvested when colour appears on first flower or when four to five flowers are open in the cluster. To overcome the problems of poor flower opening and leaf yellowing, the flowers are not harvested too prematurely.

Alstroemeria Diseases and Physiological Disorders

Diseases: Alstroemeria is attacked by a number of diseases. The major diseases, that commonly occurs is botrytis. The symptoms include blight, leaf spots, tuber rot and finally damping off of the young seedling. It prevails during high humidly. It can be managed by following cultural practices such as restricted watering, improved ventilation, and prevention of condensation of water drops on flowers.

Pythium affects juvenile or succulent tissues and causes rotting. Rhizoctonia also attacks small as well as mature plants and causes rooting of roots. They are managed by sterilizing the growing media.

Disorders: Flower abortion or blasting may occur due to low light or when roots are damaged by excessive salts or over watering. Therefore, precautionary measure should be taken to control the disorder.

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