Nov 15, 2023
Cornell University introduces new, winter-hardy Alstroemeria

Cornell University has introduced a new, winter-hardy alstroemeria, Alstroemeria ‘Coral Chaos’. This new Inca Lily or Lily-of-the-Incas has peach-colored flowers and survives winter temperatures to USDA winter hardiness zone 5. It is a great, new garden perennial that flowers all summer and fall until killed by frost.

Alstroemeria ‘Coral Chaos’
Alstroemeria ‘Coral Chaos’

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 28-36 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 the U.S. Department of Agriculture 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.).

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, professor in the School of Integrative Plant Sciences at Cornell University, who is stationed at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center in Riverhead, New York, 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 ever patented.

“Alstroemeria flowers are one of the most popular cut flower in the United States,” said 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, 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