Cornell University Introduces New Alstroemeria for USDA Zone 5

Alstroemeria Coral Chaos Cornell University

Alstroemeria ‘Coral Chaos’ (Cornell University)

Alstroemeria ‘Coral Chaos’ from Cornell University is a new Inca Lily or Lily-of-the-Incas that has peach-colored flowers and survives winter temperatures to USDA winter hardiness zone 5 (check here to see if recent USDA zone updates will affect anything). It is a new garden perennial that flowers all summer and fall until killed by frost.

This new hybrid plant is a vigorous-growing Inca Lily with vibrant peach colors. The large flowers on this herbaceous plant have salmon-pink petals on the outside and intense yellow highlights and little flecks of brown on the base of the inner petals. Strong, upright flower stems are produced from underground rhizomes and grow 28 to 36 inches tall. The flowers make excellent fresh cut flowers that can thrive for up to two weeks in a vase.

This Inca Lily was hybridized by using species that are native to Chile. In states with cool to mild summers, they bloom continuously throughout the season from May until frost. In warmer states, Inca Lilies will flower in the spring and early summer until it gets hot, and then rebloom in the fall when the temperatures get cooler.

‘Coral Chaos’ is hardy to USDA Zone 5 when grown with good drainage. (USDA Zone 5 includes western Massachusetts, mid-state New York, northern Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, much of Michigan, southern Iowa, Nebraska, northern Missouri, Kansas, and eastern Colorado.).

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Alstroemeria grow best in full sunlight in a garden that does not have “wet feet”; in other words, the rain water should drain well.  Unfortunately, deer love to eat Alstroemeria, so they will need protected if there is a deer issue. Alstroemeria grow from underground rhizomes that can be easily divided in the early spring as they begin to grow.

Developed by Dr. Mark Bridgen, Cornell professor in the School of Integrative Plant Sciences who is stationed at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center in Riverhead, NY, this hybrid will be the third ornamental alstroemeria plant patented by Cornell University. ‘Mauve Majesty’ and ‘Tangerine Tango’ were the first ornamental plants that Cornell patented.

“Alstroemeria flowers are one of the most popular cut flower in the U.S.,” says Bridgen, who was recently awarded the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) Distinguished Achievement Award for Ornamental Plant Breeding. “The flowers can often be found in hotel lobbies and restaurants because they have such a long postharvest life.”

Botanically not a lily, this flower has been trialed all over the country for the past ten years, said Bridgen.

‘Coral Chaos’ is now available through Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester, VA. There are also two large wholesale perennial growers who are adding it to their product lines.  For more information, contact Dr. Bridgen at [email protected].

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