Easter Lily Care & Advice For Transplanting Outdoors

Easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum) are beautiful with their white trumpet flowers and are traditionally given as gifts or purchased for decoration during the holiday season. This year don’t toss it away after the blooms are gone–try transplanting it in your garden and you could be rewarded with more in the Fall (if you’re lucky) or next Spring (up to Zone 6). Here’s how:

White BloomCaring For It Indoors:

  • Choose a sunny or bright location so it will receive plenty of light during the day. Keep away from heat sources (like a heat register) since it prefers being cool at night.
  • Water well each day.
  • Once it blooms and the leaves begin to yellow, keep watering until ready to transplant outdoors (allow the leaves to die naturally before pruning them).

To Move Outside:

  • When all danger of frost has passed in the Spring and the soil can be worked, plant the bulb 6 to 8 inches deep in the soil. Choose a location where it will receive lots of sun and make sure the soil is well-draining. Top the soil with about an inch or two of mulch to help keep the roots cool during the hot summer.
  • It may bloom in the Fall of the same year it is transplanted but it more typically does so in late Spring of the following year (May to June).


  • You can repot it in a patio container and grow outdoors on your deck or balcony.
  • If it starts growing up out of the soil too early in the Spring (when it will likely get killed off by frost), try covering the new growth with a few inches of potting soil.
  • Did You Know: The white trumpet flowers symbolize purity, hope and life.
  • Lilies are very poisonous to cats so make sure to keep them out of reach of your favorite feline.
  • If you live in a colder climate than Zone 6, try mulching heavily in the Fall–it might just do the trick and the lily may make an appearance next Spring.

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What Readers Are Saying: 10 Comments
  1. Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm says:

    Every year I take the finished and cut off Easter lilies from a few churches and plant them in the flowerbed. I put them in the ground immediately, which is usually in April. The current growth dies back and they grow up again from the bulb the same summer. Most even bloom again in late summer with lots of blooms! They are perennial, as well, coming back each spring to bloom again! I love them! Their scent is heavenly!

  2. Pam, Milford, VA says:

    I have a couple Easter Lilies that have finished blooming that I used in he church for Easter. I would like to plant them in my flower bed outside, however, I’m a “first-timer” at this, and I was wondering if after planting — I need to cut back the foliage any? Any helpful tips for this novice, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Val says:

      No, no need to cut back the foliage. Treat as you would any plant outdoors. Because it’s a bulb, water only when it doesn’t rain and the soil is dry. Otherwise it should be fine. I planted mine beside my cement driveway and it’s got several babies in two years. It gets morning sun only, but afternoon sun isn’t far away.

      • Pam says:

        Hey Val — thanks for the response. My Lilies seem to be blooming well — glad I didn’t cut the foliage back though…never thought about needing it for the bulb. I’m not exactly the “green thumb” person re flowers:-( How often do you have to divide the plants? I may have babies and don’t even know it!

    • Philip says:

      Hey Pam, I bought an Easter Lily at a Walmart after Easter for a dollar fifty. After enjoying the blooms I always let the foliage remain on the plant till it died back. That usually happens around September. After the stalk really dies back, I will snap it off and throw the bulb in the refrigerator crisper section. For some reason, it seems that Easter lilies need a cool dormancy. I would not advise trimming the foliage back because it sends food to the bulb which is necessary for next years flowers. The lily has always bloomed, except usually later than Easter. They seem to be an easy plant to bloom.

      • Pam says:

        Thanks for the response Philip. Good tip about keeping the bulbs in the refrigerator crisper section — will keep that in mind for next year:) Because I get Lilies for church each Easter…I am starting to have a nice collection around my house:-) I must be doing something right because I’m enjoying blooms each year…only around June. Thank again.

  3. carly says:

    Hey Pam,

    I have dozens of lillys that lost thier blooms still in the pots, I would like to save them and store them and replant them in about thre months I live in san Diego, so it would be warm. can I do that???

  4. Patrick Walsh says:

    To Carly of San Diego … As a former Marin County, Ca. Resident now living in hot and humid, coastal central Florida, I purchased 20 plants from Lowes on Easter for 10 cents @ and transplanted them into well drained soil w/PM sun as soon as I got them home. The plants had been allowed to wither by Lowes so I had nothing but bulbs to plant. This was Spring of 2012. On Easter of this year I had no blooms {Easter was early) but I did have the stems, up to three feet, of over 40 plants which were almost crawling along the ground looking for the Western sun. By late April I was inundated with beautiful, bountiful blooms. It is now late July and a few plants are still showing off. As a “lily novice” my biggest mistake was too much AM to early PM shade. I will be moving the plants (if they ever stop blooming). Note: To “TIP NUT”. My cats thank you for the info about the danger to Felines! & Carly, San Diego weather should be fine. Just keep them watered!

  5. carol robbert says:

    I planted four Easter Lilys from church in the fall of 2012 and the next spring I had 8-10 new plants and they bloomed,(profusely) by Easter.

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