EASTER LILIES Their Care and Feeding
lilies trumpet not only the resurrection of Christ but also the official
opening of spring. On Easter and
beyond, the fashionistas have decreed that we can wear white, not just 'winter
white' but pure white shoes, belts, and anything else denoting spring has
sprung and summer is on the way.
If an Easter lily entered your life as a gift from
family, friends, or yourself, your garden will be the richer for it, too. Take care of it in the house and it can
give you extreme pleasure in the garden for years to come.
have never grown lilies, Lilium longiflorum, the Easter lily, is a great
place to start. If you have grown
lilies, you do know how easy it is to get spectacular blooms with almost no
work. Easter lilies are no
they abide indoors in your abode, keep them watered but not wet. Let them dress up a tabletop in bright
light from a window or lamp. Keep
them away from any drafty heat vents or outside doorways.
orange/yellow, pollen-laden anthers out of the middle of the flower. If you leave these powdery projections,
you risk damage to your tabletop or any cloth they might be setting on. Orange stains from the pollen are
difficult to remove (you might want to wear gloves for this extraction).
of the flowers shrivel or droop, cut them separately from the cluster at the
top of the stem. Allowing seed to
form under these flowers depletes some of the energy that would otherwise be
stored in the bulb. You want as much
vitality as possible stored in its heart.
This is where next year's blossoms hide until time to rise again,
trumpeting a new season. When all
of the flowers have passed by, remove the whole flower cluster at the top of
the stem with an angled cut.
sunny well-drained garden area with good garden soil. This can be in your flower border with other perennials or
as a separate bed where the trumpets will take center stage. To make your lily bed, work in compost
and a good bulb fertilizer, preferably slow release fertilizer, before you
plant the bulbs. If you live in an
acid soil area, add a little lime to the soil and mix it in. In the south, lilies benefit from a bit
of noon-time/afternoon shade.
tap the bulb/bulbs out of the pot keeping as much soil attached as
possible. Try not to damage the
roots. Plant them as deep as they
were growing in the pot. If any of
the scales should come off the side of the bulbs, plant these, too. They will make flowering bulbs in about
lilies are forced to bloom by growers at just the right time for Easter
sales. In your garden, they will
be subject to the vagaries of the seasons and will more likely put on their
show later in the year. Easter
lilies need a little over a month of chilly weather to develop flowers. This does not have to be freezing
weather, just a cold resting period.
Easter lilies are perennials.
With enough winter chilling days, they will set buds into the warmer USDA
zones 8 or zones 9. They are cold
hardy into zones 6 and protected areas of zone 5.
Enjoy these beautiful flowers for years
after Easter Sunday by topdressing them yearly with bulb fertilizer or
composted manure after they bloom.
You might even find a completely new flower passion. Most lilies are easily grown. They come in striking colors and just
about any height your garden needs.
Do not compost these flower bulbs, save them for the garden.
One final caveat: If you have cats, especially cats that like to snack on your
houseplants, do not bring an Easter lily into their environment. These plants can cause kidney failure
if a cat samples any part of the plant, according to the NAPCC (National Animal
Poison Control Center). If a cat
tastes a lily, get it to a veterinarian immediately.