The Richmond Register

April 22, 2014

Proper care enables planting of Easter lilies

By Amanda Sears
Extension Agent

RICHMOND — Did you receive or purchase an Easter lily? If so, be sure to treat it right and you will be able to plant it outside this spring.

Place your Easter lily near a window where it will receive bright, indirect light. These plants prefer cooler temperatures, ideally between 60 and 65 degrees. Avoid areas in the home where there may be a draft, such as in entryways or near vents.

When the soil surface feels dry, water the plant thoroughly. If the plant is in a decorative pot or foil, be sure there are drainage holes so that the plant roots do not sit in water.

As the flowers open and begin to mature, remove the yellow anthers that produce pollen. This will extend the life of the flower and prevents the pollen from staining the white petals. When the flower begins to fade and wither, cut it off.

Once all the flowers have faded and the threat of frost has passed, plant your Easter lily in the garden. The ideal location is a well-drained area in a sunny location.

Plant them so that the bulbs are about 6 inches deep, 4 to 6 inches apart. Water immediately after planting. Apply mulch to the newly planted area, preferably a two inch layer of compost, pine straw, or shredded leaves.

As the original plant begins to brown and fade, cut it back to just above a healthy leaf on the stem. New growth should emerge, although there will probably not be a second flowering this year.

In fall, the lily stalks can be cut back to soil level. Apply mulch over the area.

In the spring, remove the mulch to allow room for new growth. Apply a fertilizer about two inches from the stem once the plant emerges. Water this in.

The Easter lily should bloom again June or July.

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