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Caring for Potted Easter Lilies

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.

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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.

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13 More Solutions

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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.

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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.

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Questions

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July 6, 2015

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


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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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I live in Houston, Texas. I purchased an Easter lily in the spring which I kept in its original pot. The plant dried up and I was going to toss it, but I noticed there is still a healthy looking bulb, or cluster of bulbs. (I am not sure, but it looks kind of like a large garlic bulb. Is that one or multiple?)

I am hoping to be able to restart it in the spring. I read about it needing 6 weeks of cold in order to bloom. That may be difficult in this climate, but if I get lucky it might happen. We have some winter, but I don't know if we will have 6 weeks at 45 degrees. I'm willing to chance it.

My instinct is to leave it alone until spring and just see what happens. However I am wondering if it will need to be watered or not. And at what point in the spring should it be fertilized and watered so it can sprout?

Any info you can give would be helpful.

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July 28, 2017

I have these growths happening in my Easter lily pot. It's kept in the house. What is this and is it normal?


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July 29, 20170 found this helpful

You may be watering the lily too much. Just remove them

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Q: I just got a white Easter Lily today and I was wondering when I should plant it. Do you have to wait until fall or can you plant them now? It's still got some flowers and green leaves. Do I have to plant it when the top turns brown? Also after I do plant it, will it come back year after year?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

luv2craft from Normalville, Pennsylvania

A: luv2craft,

As long as danger from frost has passed, as soon as the flowers die back on your Easter lily, cut the stem back to three inches and plant it in the ground. Select a sunny, protected location for transplanting your lily. 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 in a hole wide enough to allow the roots to spread out. Work the soil around each bulb to eliminate air pockets, cover 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 for the right conditions).

Ellen

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By (Guest Post)
April 28, 20060 found this helpful

I planted an Easter lily late last spring. I was surprised to see that it grew again in the fall and had a few beautiful blooms! It was strange seeing white Easter lilies in the fall. I live in zone 5 and planted it after it had died back. I cut off all but about 3 inches. I thought maybe it had died, but it came back. It has also come back this spring, so I assume it will be nice once again late summer.

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April 28, 20060 found this helpful

We planted all the lilies in containers we had for our wedding in the backyard right away (it was summer in N.J.) and the gardener told us it was ok.

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By Jackie (Guest Post)
April 29, 20060 found this helpful

I have planted my left over Easter Lilies for several years....After they are done blooming I put them where I want them in the garden. They multiplied and have bloomed for several years, but they usually bloom in late May or June. Florists "force" lilies to bloom for Easter.

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By Jackie (Guest Post)
April 29, 20060 found this helpful

Ooops I meant to also say that I am in Tennessee!

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By Carol in PA (Guest Post)
May 1, 20060 found this helpful

I plant all my Easter flowers in the spring after they have finished blooming..

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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?



Thanks

Hardiness Zone: 7a

By Isaura from Charleston, WV

Answers

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:

www.thegardenhelper.com/easterlily.html

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Why do the bottom leaves on Easter lilies begin to yellow and fall off?


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April 15, 2019

I bought 8 lilies for my church for Easter Sunday. The flower on the plant is still closed. What should I do to have the lilies open their blooms by Easter Sunday which is 5 days away?


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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

Answers

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

Answers:

RE: Planting Easter Lilies

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

By Holly

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, 20081 found this helpful

You will find lots of helpful information in this article:

www.thriftyfun.com/tf19097357.tip.html

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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?

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March 13, 2015

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

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Anonymous
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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May 3, 2017

Like most overcrowded perennials, Easter lilies are best divided in the fall. This is a page about dividing Easter lilies.

Easter lilies growing outside.

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