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A Care Guide for the Easter Lily

Spring is the time when flower shops are filled with Easter lilies. These plants with tall stems and regal white flowers have a long history of symbolism with Christianity, rebirth, innocence, and purity. Because Easter lilies bloom in the springtime, their blooms often coincide with the Easter holiday. Care for Easter lilies properly to lengthen their bloom time and keep them healthy throughout the year.

What Is an Easter Lily?

Easter lilies have white blossoms that are shaped like trumpets, and their fragrance is light and delicate. These flowers are native to islands in Japan, but farms on the West Coast of the United States cultivate bulbs and force the plants to bloom for springtime sales. It takes careful timing of planting to ensure that Easter lilies bloom around Easter. Churches often display Easter lilies in their sanctuaries for the holiday.

How to Choose Easter Lilies

Choose an Easter lily that is not fully blooming but that has several buds at various stages of blossoming. This will keep the Easter lily blooming for an extended period. An Easter lily should have healthy, green foliage and a straight stem. The buds should be arranged symmetrically, and ideally, only one or two of the flowers should be beginning to open. Make sure the Easter lily has no insects or signs of distress on the leaves.

How to Care for Potted Easter Lilies

Easter lilies need bright and indirect sunlight to thrive. The best room temperature for them is between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Touch the soil with your finger to determine if it’s time to water the Easter lily. If the soil feels dry, water the plant evenly. Remove dead flowers promptly as they fade; this is known as deadheading. Watch out for the pollen that will spread from the flowers; it can stain fabrics. Removing the yellow anthers from the centers of the flowers will help prevent pollen messes.

Keep Easter Lilies Away From Cats

Easter lilies are poisonous to cats, so it’s generally best to avoid bringing Easter lilies into a home with cats to prevent accidental poisoning. If you do keep an Easter lily in your cat-friendly home, keep the plant well out of reach of the cat. Be very diligent about picking up any leaves and petals that may fall from the plant, too.

How to Get Your Easter Lily to Rebloom

January is the time to prepare an Easter lily to rebloom in time for Easter. Clean off the bulb in January, and cover it with a damp paper towel. Place the wrapped bulb into a sealable plastic bag, then put it in the refrigerator for at least two months. After the refrigeration time, plant the bulb about two inches deep in a pot. Keep the soil moist and wait for the bulb to sprout again.

Planting an Easter Lily Outdoors

After the last frost of the spring, you can transplant an Easter lily outdoors. Choose a location that gets full sun. Plant bulbs about two inches deep in the soil. If you have a full plant, position it so the soil from the pot is even with the surface of the ground. In the fall, cut away new and fading growth on the plant. The Easter lily should grow again the next spring; however, it may not bloom again until the second year after transplant.

Other Types of Lilies

Asiatic Hybrids: Horticultural Division 1

Asiatic hybrids are one of the easiest types of lilies to grow. These lilies will thrive almost anywhere in the yard, but they love full sun the most.

Martagon Hybrids: Horticultural Division 2

These lilies are tall with smaller flowers that face down. Martagons prefer partially shady growing locations, and they don’t like hot and humid climates.

Candidum Hybrids: Horticultural Division 3

Candidums are difficult to find for sale in greenhouses. There are few types of lilies in this division.

American Hybrids: Horticultural Division 4

American hybrids often grow wild, and they can be planted in flower gardens. They like partly shady conditions, and they bloom in late June and early July.

Longiflorum Hybrids: Horticultural Division 5

Longiflorum hybrids are set apart by their blossoms that resemble white trumpets. These lilies are not easy to grow in flower gardens, and they start from seeds.

Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids: Horticultural Division 6

Trumpets and Aurelian hybrids blossom during July and August. They have large and heavy blossoms, which may require staking for support.

Oriental Hybrids: Horticultural Division 7

Oriental hybrids are not easy to grow, but the effort pays off with gorgeous blooms. Oriental hybrids need lots of water and rich, acidic soil.

Interdivisional Hybrids: Horticultural Division 8

New hybrids are now available that cross varieties such as the Easter lily with Asiatic hybrids. These hybrids are often distinctly beautiful and hardy.

Species Hybrids: Horticultural Division 9

Species hybrids are also called wild lilies. Many gardeners like planting these in flower gardens, and some are more difficult to grow than others.

Other Information on Lilies