It’s that time of year again – the Easter holiday! And as Christians gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, flower lovers should take this time to plant and care for their Easter lilies.
Everyone loves the Easter lilies. They fill your home with fragrant aromas and bright blooms.
The flower symbolizes new life and purity, echoing a religious holiday and the spring season. The attractive plants are super-easy to grow, but you’ll need to master several tricks to get these gorgeous blooms.
This post will take you through super easy methods to plant and take care of the Easter lilies during this growing season.
Feel free to jump ahead!
What’s an Easter Lily?
Before we dive into how to plant Easter lilies, let’s first look at what the plant is and its origin. Lilium longiflorum, or simply Easter lily, is a white trumpet-shaped perennial bulb flower that’s believed to have originated in the Ryukyu Islands in Japan.
The plant is believed to have arrived in Western countries in the 1800s. In the United States, the plant’s supply mainly came from Bermuda, earning its other name – the Bermuda Lily.
The plant’s pure white blooms symbolize purity and new growth, connecting it to spring and the Easter holiday. The white flowers grow up to 7 inches but may take around three years to reach maturity.
Naturally, the Easter lily blooms in June and July. However, you should plant your potted plant earlier if you want it to bloom at Easter time.
How do I plant an Easter lily?
Now comes the core part of this post: how to plant an Easter lily. It’s easy – all you need is a good guide and a few tips, as provided below.
Planting your Easter lily indoors
Taking proper care of Easter lilies when you have them indoors is the key to a strong, vigorous plant that will be easier to transition to the garden. Place your Easter lily near a bright window, just out of reach of the direct rays of the full sun.
Easter lily thrives best in temperatures ranging from 18 to 24 degrees C (65-75 degrees F.).
Water your potted plant from time to time to maintain lightly moist soil, and use liquid fertilizer on the houseplant every two weeks. Clip out the flower stem near the base as their blossom fades.
Once the Easter lily’s blossom has fallen, it’s time to transplant it outdoors. Let’s see how you go about that below.
Planting your Easter lily outside
After your Easter lily’s blooms have fallen and there is no more danger of frost, you can transplant it from the pot into a suitable outdoor spot (don’t place it in a sunny location). The plants do well in all types of soil except heavy clay.
Easter lily thrives best in indirect light and under cool, well-drained soil (good drainage is crucial for Easter lilies). So, choose a location that receives ample morning sun and afternoon shade.
Don’t forget that the Easter lilies can grow 1m (3 feet) tall or a little more, so place them in an area they’ll get ample space to grow.
Dig the planting hole wide enough to allow the roots to spread and deep enough that you can cover the bulb with a soil level of 8cm (3inches). Place the plant in the hole and add soil to cover the roots.
Using your hands, squeeze out air pockets in the soil surface and then water deeply and slowly. Plant the next Easter lily about 31 to 46 cm (12-18 inches) away from the current one.
Some flower connoisseurs use a layer of mulch to insulate the plant year-round. Make the mulch thicker during cold winter months but thin it out in late January or February when new shoots are expected to sprout
Here are a few tips to help you in transplanting your Easter lily:
Inspect the roots
If your Easter lily roots appear in a tangled mass, it’s a good idea to loosen them before planting. This will allow your plant’s root space to grow.
Spread the bulbs out
Plant the flower bulbs approximately 12 to 18 inches apart and about 3 inches deep. This gives the plant enough space to grow and absorb nutrients.
Use mulch to keep the soil cool
Use organic mulch, like shredded bark or living mulch, to insulate the surface of the soil around your lily and keep it cool. Experts recommend a 3-inch layer of mulch for the best results.
The suitable inches of mulch are excellent for weed control and keeping your plant cool.
Look for anthers
The bright yellow anthers in Easter lilies provide a lovely contrast to the white trumpet’s petals. However, removing them from your Easter lily’s blooms prolong the flower’s lifespan.
Propagation is the process of creating new plants. You can propagate your Easter lilies in the late summer or fall after it blooms.
You can use small bulblets or scales that have been separated to create new Easter lilies. Like seeds, the bulblets and scales will take about two to three years to reach maturity.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you propagate your Easter lily plant:
- Gather a hand trowel, compost, and a spade shovel
- Dig up your Easter lilies in early fall to expose the bulblets and divide them in thirds or half. You may also buy bulbs at local flower shops.
- Dig holes at least 6 inches apart in your garden bed to plant the bulbs. Place the bulblets stem side up into each hole
- Mix the removed soil with compost and backfill the holes that have your bulbs
- In early spring, gently water your underground bulbs and allow them to sprout
- Your lilies may take two to three years to mature and bloom.
After planting your Easter lily, it doesn’t end there! You should take care of the plant to achieve the best results.
Caring for the Easter lily
Planting Easter lilies is one thing and taking care of them is another. If you’ve just bought an Easter lily to brighten up your home during the spring season, you’ll need a few tips to care for your plant:
Here are a few recommendations for caring for an Easter lily:
Pick the best plant
When you buy a potted Easter lily, it’s a good idea to look for a plant almost twice as tall as the pot and has plenty of green leaves. Avoid the lilies with crinkled or wilted leaves or the ones with dark spots.
Pick the potted Easter lilies with one or two open flowers and many unopened buds – they are the best. A mature lily plant has a stem with 12 to 15 blooms.
Inspect your plant for insects and diseases
Before buying your Easter lily plant, inspect it for webbing, insects, or holes in leaves. You don’t wish to bring insects and diseased plants to your dining room table.
Bring your Easter plant home
Before planting your Easter lily outside, keep it in cool temperatures and near a bright light. Your plant will thrive in daytime temperatures ranging from 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 55 to 60 degrees F at night.
Use fertilizer when your Easter lily is not in bloom
Add bulb fertilizer into the soil during the fall season, but be careful not to disrupt the roots. Use regular fertilizer when new growth appears in the early spring growing season, but stop fertilizing when they bloom.
Water your Easter lily plants
Easter lilies do best in evenly moist soil, so water them whenever the top inch of the soil dries out. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely, but also don’t let the plants sit in water as this can make the Easter lily bulbs rot.
You should water in the morning, leaving the foliage time to dry in the full sun. Otherwise, your plant may have problems with mildew.
Deadhead the Easter lily bulbs
Cut off the flowering portion of your Easter lily’s stalk
Check for pests
Although pests are not common on the Easter lily, pests may infest the plant in some areas. For instance, the red lily leaf beetle is common among Easter lilies in New England, U.S.
The beetles also attack other plants belonging to the genus Lilium, including Fangio L.A. hybrids and Stargazer lilies. The pest can defoliate your plant to the point of killing it.
You can spray neem oil or other chemicals recommended by a professional to control the infestation. You can also handpick the beetles if you have the time.
Words of caution: use chemicals as recommended by a professional. Also, ensure you follow all the instructions that come with pest control chemicals.
Keep the Easter lilies indoor
Easter lilies can survive the winter months in pots placed outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 7 and above. However, if you live in regions experiencing harsh winters, move the plants indoors for winter protection.
The bottom line
The Easter season is finally here, and you may find yourself a recipient of the Easter lily. These eye-pleasing plants have the perfect fragrant flowers and can get you in the spirit.
Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the beauty and fragrant aromas of the Easter lily all year long? Not you, right?
This post guides you on planting your Easter lily so that it can serve you for as long as you want. Good luck as you purpose to use it to plant and replant Easter lilies this Easter holiday season and beyond.