Princess lilies, or Alstroemerias, are a type of miniature lily that only grows to a little over 1 foot tall and makes a good container plant. It spreads by rhizomes and blooms steadily throughout the growing season from spring to late autumn with a modicum of care. The princess lily is hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 5 through 8.
Types of Light
To maintain a full season of blooms, place the princess lilies in an area that receives full sun in the spring and fall months. Direct sunlight during the hottest periods in the summer is not ideal for this type of lily. During hot summer weather, provide partial shade or place in an area that receives afternoon shade. Direct sunlight indicates six or more hours of full exposure to the sun and partial sun is less than six hours but more than three hours of full sun. Regions such as the Pacific Northwest receive less intense heat from the sun than areas like Florida, so exposure to sunlight differs from region to region.
Another aspect of abundant flowering on the princess lily comes from frequent fertilization. Test the soil for nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Supplement with an all-purpose fertilizer or a special fertilizer that contains increased amounts of whatever nutrient the soil lacks most. Nitrogen promotes leafy, green growth and an excess of nitrogen inhibits the production of blooms. Take care to achieve the correct balance of nutrients to promote healthy, flowering princess lilies. Read all fertilizer label listings of ingredients and follow directions.
Princess lilies prefer a well-drained soil that is moist, but not soggy. Water regularly to keep the soil from drying out, but do not allow the plant to stand in water. If the lily is planted in a container, make sure that there are proper drainage holes to remove any excess water. In a flower bed, water the princess lily regularly to keep the soil moist approximately 18 inches deep. A layer of mulch that measures about 3 inches around the plant will aid in keeping the soil moist. The best watering practice is to water deep to thoroughly soak the soil and enough to keep the soil damp, not soggy, at all times.
Pruning and Pests
On young plants, pinching off the stem tips promotes a fuller plant with more branches off of the main trunk. Remove dead branches and leaves immediately and deadhead blooms that are done. The princess lily multiplies through rhizomes, which can be carefully separated in the spring to create more individual plants. Snails and slugs prefer moist conditions, making the soil around the lily a favorable climate for these pests. Avoid this problem by removing dead debris regularly as soon as possible. This aids in eliminating hiding places. Princess lilies are susceptible to aphids, which are insects that suck fluids from plants. There are a number of organic and commercial products that eradicate aphid problems. Read and follow label directions.