This group consists of 60 species of perennials, which grow from tuberous roots or rhizomes to a height of 2 to 4 feet. They are natives of tropical America. These perennials (known as Lilies-of-the-Incas, Parrot Lilies, and Peruvian Lilies) produce long stems of handsome foliage, which ramble about, and gorgeous, sometimes variegated, azalea-like flowers from late spring to early or mid-summer. The 2-inch flowers are borne in clusters and come in an array of colors such as white, yellow, orange, apricot, pink, salmon, red, mauve, purple and lavender. Peruvian Lilies make great container plants and their cut flowers have a very long vase life of about two weeks.
Most species and hybrids will survive where temperatures drop to within a few degrees of 0º F, but only if they are planted deep (about 8 inches) and mulched with leaf mold or something similar in the winter. In colder climates, the roots can be dug and stored in damp sand or peat at a temperature of 35º to 40º F; however, they usually won't survive being dug up because their roots are easily broken. When in storage, don't let the tubers dry out. An alternative to growing outdoors in cold climates would be to grow them in containers. In the fall or early spring, plant the tubers at least 6 inches deep and a foot apart. Set them in the hole with their roots spread out taking care not to damage them. They should be grown in moist, but well-drained, fertile, acidic to neutral soil. Site them in a warm, sunny location, unless you live in a hot climate where they should receive partial shade.
These plants can be increased by division in the spring, although this isn't easily done. Seeds can also be sown.
- A. psittacina;
- A. pulchella;
- A. braziliensis;
- A. aurantiaca;
- A. ligtu (has many hybrids).