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Caring for Potted Easter Lilies

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If you purchased or received a potted Easter lily as a gift, you may be wondering how to care for it now. This is a guide about caring for potted Easter lilies.


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0 found this helpful
April 20, 2006

Next to Poinsettias, Easter lilies are perhaps the most recognized flower in the western world. Now that Easter's come and gone, there's no need for your lily to fade. With the proper care, and Easter lily can flower for a month or more before transplanting easily into the garden. Here's how to keep yours growing.

Extending Easter Lily Blooms

Remove the Anthers: As the flowers start to mature, remove the lily's yellow anthers before it starts to shed pollen. This will keep the petals white and give the flowers greater longevity.

Discard the Decorative Packaging: If your lily came in a paper or foil sleeve, remove it-preferably as soon as you get the plant home. Plants kept in these sleeves deteriorate faster and tend to get water logged.

Protect it From Bright Light: Lilies kept in direct sunlight are almost certain to die quickly. Place yours in a room full of natural daytime light, but keep it out of direct sunlight.

Keep it Cool: Daytime temperatures of around 60° to 65°F will keep flowers lasting longest. You can place the lily in a cooler room (such as a porch) at night or on the floor provided it's kept out of reach of pets. Avoid placing the plant near drafts or heating ducts.

Keep its Feet Moist (Not Wet): The soil should be kept lightly moist as long as your lily continues to flower. Check moisture levels daily in the morning. If the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch (just the surface), take the plant to the sink and give it water until the soil is completely saturated and water starts to drip through the drainage holes in the pot.

After the Flowers Fade

As flowers fade and petals start dropping off a stem, use a sharp pruning shears to trim the stem by lopping off the blossom. When all the flowers have been pruned, the lily should be moved into a room that has some morning sun and afternoon shade. Give it a balanced (20-20-20) half strength water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks to promote the growth of foliage.

Easter lilies can be grown indoors indefinitely, but it's difficult to get them to bloom a second time if they spend their time inside. As soon the weather warms, move the pots to a sunny location outdoors and begin to harden them off if you want to transplant them to the garden.


Transplanting Lilies Outdoors

After all danger of frost has passed, select a sunny location for transplanting your lily-one protected from the wind and in warm climates, protected from extreme heat. Make sure the soil contains plenty of organic nutrients, has a neutral to slightly alkaline pH and above all, it has good drainage. If necessary, create a raised bed area by mounding up the soil to ensure proper drainage.

Plant the bulbs 6 inches deep (3 inches below ground level if you mound up three more inches of topsoil), spacing each bulb 12 to 18 inches apart. Make sure to dig a hole wide and deep enough to allow sufficient spreading of all the roots. Work the soil around each bulb to eliminate air pockets. Cover them with soil and water thoroughly.

Lilies like their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade, so after planting, cover the soil around the lily with 2 inches of mulch or compost

New growth will start to emerge as the old stem dies back. You may get lucky and see a second bloom this season, otherwise be prepared to wait until next summer (or the right conditions).

Preparing Lilies for Winter

When stems turn brown and die back in the fall, cut them down to soil level. Apply generous layers of mulch over winter, removing it carefully in the spring as the new growth emerges. Fertilize new growth monthly with a balanced fertilizer applied at half strength, or apply a slow release once in the spring. Discontinue fertilizing when plants flower.

Lilies Can Be Deadly to Cats

Many species of lilies, including Easter lilies, are extremely toxic to cats-even in small doses. These include Easter lilies, Tiger lilies, Rubrum lilies, Japanese show lilies and Day lilies. Keep potted plants away from your cats and keep you cats away from the lilies you transplant outdoors. If you notice your cats eating lily leaves or stems, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
May 16, 20070 found this helpful

I was searching for answers on how to make my easter lillies survive the winter and when I should start to remove them from the garden . I had a local store tell me that I could trim the bulbs and put them in water in the refrigerator for a few months to survive any freezing temperatures . I am not convinced that this will work and I don't want to kill my 40 beautiful lillies .

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Comments

April 21, 2011

Easter is nearly here and I wanted to remind cat owners that Easter lilies and many other types of lilies are very poisonous to cats. Three or four petals can cause irreversible kidney damage. If you receive a lily, perhaps you can take it to a local nursing home instead of putting your kitty in danger. If your kitty gets into a lily, see a vet immediately


By lizzyanny from Seattle

Comment Was this helpful? 1

0 found this helpful
March 19, 2014

My friend has the most beautiful bright pink lilies in her garden. After her white Easter lilies died off, she saved them for the following spring. She planted them and they grew anew as gorgeous pink lilies.



Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
February 7, 2017

I picked up three Easter lilies last year. I didn't do much but take off the bloom. I put it outside in the yard. It's the second week in February and I now have 16 plants coming up. Can or should I separate them? They are growing on top of each other.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 7, 20170 found this helpful

If they are growing on top of each other, you should separate them, but I would separate them in the fall, not now.

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February 8, 20170 found this helpful

Perennials should always be planted and separated in the fall, for best root recovery and growth.

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February 9, 20170 found this helpful

i am afried that if you separate the now, they will not bloom this year... always best to do in the fall...

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February 10, 20170 found this helpful

Your lilies are not in any danger and if left alone, you may have some nice blooms later this year. Just try to be patient and wait a while before dividing and replanting.

ThriftFun has an excellent article on how to grow and take care of Easter lilies. Here is a link that has lots of information (from an expert gardener).

http://www.thri … ster-Lilies.html

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

1 found this helpful
July 6, 2015

My Easter lily is droopy and the leaves are turning brown. What is causing this? Is it over watering?

Answer Was this helpful? 1
July 7, 20150 found this helpful

Could be many possibilities-insects, mold or fungus, nutrients missing in soil, etc . Usually, though, overwatering is the culprit.

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July 8, 20151 found this helpful

Lilies are bulbs and once they bloom, they die back every year. That is probably what is happening. Daffodills do the same. You can dig up the bulbs and store them to plant again in the fall or leave them and they will come up next Spring.

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0 found this helpful
November 5, 2016

I have a potted Easter lily from last year. I trimmed it once it died. It had two bulbs this year, one which popped off and died. Now the other is beginning to grow leaves and they are beginning to turn yellow. I am trying to have this plant bloom this year, but I'm afraid it's not gonna make it? Anyone have any tips or could tell me why this is happening? The leaves are also growing to one side to catch the sun and seem to be flopping down. What can I do for this plant to make it grow strong and healthy?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
January 25, 20170 found this helpful

My lilies are in a pot I doors and I in flower but the leaves are yellow and dropping is it to warm for it indoors or if covered can it go into my shed but then worry it will be to cold for it in there, please help

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March 13, 20150 found this helpful

The Easter lily that I bought last year has a nice fat stem, and three little skinny stems. Should I separate them, if so how?

By Brenda

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
November 12, 20150 found this helpful

I live inMinnesota It is now October and my inside potted Lillie has bloomed in a small pot can I transplant into a bigger pot without damage to the flowers

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0 found this helpful
April 9, 2010

I received an Easter lily as a present. I have looked for information on how to care for it indoors, but I keep seeing that after some time they have to be planted outside. I currently don't have any space to plant outside. How can I keep the Easter lily alive and well while keeping it inside in a pot?


Hardiness Zone: 7a

By Isaura from Charleston, WV

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 9, 20100 found this helpful

One important note-- these are highly poisonous to cats (not sure about dogs). Many people don't know that so I thought I'd pass it along. Here's a link on lily care:

http://www.theg … /easterlily.html

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March 28, 20160 found this helpful

My easter lily was given to me as a present. I live in an apartment how can I keep my easter lily alive indoors

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0 found this helpful
April 2, 2008

I've been given three Lilies for Easter. Once they die back, can I plant them in my yard? How do I go about it? Will they survive and come up again? Would really appreciate some information to keep them going.

Hardiness Zone: 8a

Kay from Clyde, TX

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 2, 20080 found this helpful

I was given 6 Easter Lilies plants from my church after the Easter season. I was told that if I cut off all but 3 inches from the bottom and throw them into the ground that they should bloom again in August. Then yearly afterwards. I'll try it and see. Maybe now that this plant is no longer popular, you can check your nursery and see what kind of deal you can make and do the same as I am. (I was also told this works for tulips too.)

By LRP from LWL, MA


RE: Planting Easter Lilies

Probably morning sun only. (05/09/2007)

By cookwie

RE: Planting Easter Lilies

The Easter Lilies plant is best if you dry it completely. Then plant in ground and yes, you will have lilies for years to come. They multiply fast. I always try to get flowers from church also after Easter. (05/10/2007)

By Maggie

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April 2, 20080 found this helpful

You will find lots of helpful information in this article:

http://www.thri … 9097357.tip.html

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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