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. They produce such a lovely fragrance and when they’re arranged in groups, the display is stunning!
This year don’t toss away that splendid lily after the blooms are gone–save & nurture it! Give it a chance at new life by trying to grow it in your garden…there’s a good chance you will be rewarded with more blooms in the Fall or next Spring.
Care & Advice
Here’s how you can save Easter lilies to enjoy from one season to the next.
- Choose a sunny or bright location that receives plenty of “indirect” light during the day. Position away from heat sources (like a heat register) since it prefers being cool at night.
- Water when soil feels dry to the touch but avoid overwatering. I tend to give a little drink each day, keeping things moist/damp but not waterlogged or soggy…depends on how dry my home is at the time.
- Once it blooms and the leaves begin to yellow, continue watering until ready to transplant outdoors (allow the leaves to die naturally before pruning them). Wait until the blooms are gone before moving to the garden.
Making The Move Outside:
- When all danger of frost has passed in the Spring and as soon as the soil can be worked, plant the bulb 6 to 8 inches deep.
- Choose a location where it will receive plenty of sun and make sure the soil is well-draining.
- Once the bulb is planted, top the soil with about an inch or two of mulch to help keep the roots cool during the hot summer.
- Important: Keep the stem and leaves intact, cutting down to ground level only when it dies back (in the Fall) before snow comes.
- You might get lucky and have it re-bloom in the Fall of the same year it is transplanted but it more typically does so in late Spring of the following year (expect it to make an appearance sometime during May, June or even July). If the plant is thriving but produces no blooms during the following summer of first planting it outdoors…don’t give up on it and leave it in the ground. They’ve been known to appear for the first time after the 2nd year!
- When first making your selections to buy, choose those that haven’t fully bloomed and have several unopened buds, this will give you an extended time of flowering.
- Is the tall stem starting to lean over in one direction? Simply turn the pot the other way to give the other side the best light exposure. This will force it back so it grows upright.
- Foil Wrap Traps: The pretty foil wraps around the container holds the water so the pot doesn’t drain well and the roots don’t like that! Remove the foil or poke some holes in the bottom (setting the whole thing on a tray to collect the excess water).
- 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.
- You can stretch the life of the blossoms by removing the little yellow pollen anthers in the center of the flowers. Careful when doing so, they can stain fingers and clothes terribly. This also helps maintain nice blossoms that are white & unstained.
- As with most flowering plants, pinching off the faded blossoms helps the bulb stay strong & focused on high production.
- If you live in a colder climate than Zone 6, try mulching heavily in the Fall–it might just do the trick and ensure the lily makes an appearance next Spring. I know someone with a green thumb who lives in Zone 3…she’s bringing them back to life year after year!
Good To Know
- The white trumpet flowers symbolize purity, hope and life.
- After Easter services many Churches will tend to the plants as long as they can then throw them out. Check with your parish and let them know you’re interested in taking a few home when they’re ready to get rid of them…you might just get a few for free!
- Lilies are very poisonous to cats so make sure to keep them out of reach of your favorite feline.
- No garden or flower bed to dig into? You can repot in a patio container and grow outside on your deck or balcony.