Did you know that Easter lilies are the fourth largest potted plant crop grown in the US? With Easter approaching, no doubt many homes and churches will soon be graced with the fragrant and lovely white trumpet shaped flowers, symbolic of spring, purity and the Lord’s Resurrection. But how can you enjoy your fragrant flower long after the holiday? We have some helpful tips.
Caring for your potted Easter Lilies
To keep your potted Easter lily as its best, it prefers a cool daytime temperature of 60° to 65° F. and nighttime temperatures 5 degrees cooler. To keep the flowers from wilting, avoid placing the potted plant in direct sunlight. Most plants will lean toward the sunlight. To keep the plant growing upright, turn the pot every two days.
Keep the plant moist, but not soggy. Most Easter lilies are sold commercially in pots covered with decorative foil jackets. No water should be left standing in the bottom of this covering or the life of the lily will be ruined. Remove the pot from the foil covering every time the plant is watered. Once the water has soaked into the soil, return the pot to the foil covering.
Also, to help your potted lily thrive, do not place the pot near a direct source of heat. Lilies thrive in a humid climate, more so than a dry one. To create natural humidity, fill a saucer with small pebbles and water and set beneath the potted lily.
How to transfer your Easter Lily to the garden:
Your Easter lily plant can be introduced into your flower garden for annual enjoyment. Transplant it outdoors once all danger of frost has passed and when the flower stops blooming. Check our Average Frost Date calendar for the dates for your state.
The plant needs to be in well-drained soil, just as it did when it was potted. To provide the needed drainage, add peat moss and perlite to rich organic soil.
Plant the lily bulbs, roots down, 3” inches beneath the surface of the soil and water. If planting more than one bulb, position them at least 12” inches apart. Cut back the stems once the plant appears dead. This will cause new growth to begin and possibly another bloom this summer. Next year, look for a June or July bloom.
Remember: all lilies are poisonous to both cats and dogs. Keep them away from where pets can reach them!
by Deborah Tukua