Alstromeria- what's causing weak stems!

Discussion in 'Annuals, Biennials, Perennials, Ferns and Bulbs' started by kerria, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. kerria

    kerria Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    It's good to be here. I's be so thankful if someone can help me with the Alstromeria ligtu that I'm growing. I started them from seed this spring and ten plants germinated. They were growing well after put in perennial soil into quart size pots. Then a major problem occured, almost every plant broke off at the crown. The stems are so little - way too flimsy to hold the nice plant. I'm so disappointed and can't think of why it happened. Some of the plants are coming back- sending up another plant so there's still hope, i guess, but how can i help their tiny weak lower stems? The stems get stronger as the grow but near the crown their only about a millimeter wide- how terrible. If it's a genetic flaw with these seeds i might as well toss them but i won't anyways- I've got to keep trying.

    The weak stems at the crown - might be because of watering or fertilizer too much- but i only added a small amount 1/4 t. of osmocote
    or maybe not enough sunlight- too many cloudy days during beginning growing or not enough strong sunlight came though greenhouse because we spray shade paint on for the summer.

    Does anyone else know what would help? It was so exciting to watch the little Alstromeria plants grow, i've never grown them before - and so disappointing to watch each one break off at the soil line. Now a few little plants are growing...what can i do to help them make it?

    Thank you for any ideas,
    kerria
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    They need a lot of sunlight, and in the wild they grow in fairly windy locations - the constant flexion of the stems helps them beef up. If they're really sheltered, they've got no opportunity to get stronger. If you're watering a lot and adding fertilizers to them, they might also be growing too fast to support the weight of the plant.

    Alstromeria are native to Peru and Ecuador, and they grow in some pretty marginal soils here. Making their environment too rich can actually harm the plants.
     
  3. kerria

    kerria Member

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    Hi Lorax,

    Thank you- that makes perfect sense! These plants were sheltered- in an area away from fans and the watering was probably too much. I'm going to find a better place to toughen them up gradually. Thank you so much.

    When i looked it up online i found some facinating facts about how the stem cells of Alstromeria grow- in a spiral pattern - around the stem and move around - they 'dance' in circles. I can imagine how the environment would be a crucial factor to healthy growth.

    Hopefully I will be still able to have some plants survive now.

    Thanks again,
    kerria
     
  4. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    The really neat thing (IMHO) produced by that stem-cell pattern is the torsial arrangement of the leaves of the plants in that family - the Alstromerias and the Bomareas. They're actually turned exactly 180 degrees from true, so that what you see as the "top" of the leaf, is actually the bottom. The plants have evolved their stomata of the true top-side of the leaf in order to accomodate this. Wheeee!

    If you don't get surviving plants this year, don't despair and don't chuck the pot out. Give it a winter dormancy period, and see if anything comes up from the rhizome.
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Small note in case you want to do a search for further info on the internet - spellcheck: Alstroemeria.
     

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