The Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) is a common gift plant this time of year. Here’s how to keep yours healthy and beautiful.
Remove the protective sleeve from the pot, because it can encourage root rot. Set the plant in bright, indirect light, away from drafts. Keep the temperature at 60 to 65 degrees F during the day and slightly cooler at night. When plants bloom, remove the yellow anthers to prolong bloom life and prevent pollen from staining your clothes and skin. Cut off spent blooms, and water when the surface is dry to the touch.
Once the plant has finished blooming, you can plant it outdoors. Easter lilies are hardy to Zones 6 to 9 (some cultivars to Zones 4 or 5). Once danger of frost has passed, plant bulbs 4 to 6 inches deep and 12 to 18 inches apart in a spot where their roots will be in shade but their heads will be in the sun. Ideal soil is well-drained soil and rich in organic matter. Cut yellowed stems and leaves back to the ground.
Easter lilies bloom in March only under controlled greenhouse conditions; in the garden, they will bloom in mid to late summer. You may be rewarded with a second bloom later the first year, but most likely you’ll have to wait until the following summer to see your lily bloom again.
Give lilies good winter protection: mulch with a thick layer of straw, pine needles, or leaves. Carefully remove the mulch in the spring to allow new shoots to come up.