This plant is beautiful, fragrant lily that is forced to bloom for the Easter holiday and naturally blooms in the summertime. A white lily symbolizes purity and rebirth, which explains why they represent this particular holiday.
Botanical Name: Lilium longiflorum
Originally native to southern islands of Japan.
The lily was introduced to England by a plant explorer Carl Peter Thunberg 1819
In the early 1800s the Easter Lily was brought to the United States by Louis Houghton
Because of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese source of this bulb was cut off and they quickly became known as "White Gold" to growers attempting to get their hands on them.
Now, what is known as the Easter Lily Capital of the World, is the coastal region between California and Oregon where about 95% of the Easter Lilies grow.
Across many religions and beliefs, a white lily is supposed to symbolize purity, rebirth and new beginnings.
The pure white lily has also been associated with the Virgin Mary
It's also been said that when Eve left the Garden of Eden and shed remorseful tears, lilies sprung up.
There are TWO ways to view this plant :
Plant for holiday decoration only
Plant for holiday decoration that turns into a landscape plant
We are going to go into conditions for both of these options just in case!
Wait, I can plant my Easter Lily outside?!
Yes you might be able to! If you are within hardiness zone 5-11, you can plant these bulb plants outside once the final frost has passed. UW Madison Horticulture Extension did mention this lily is hardy "into zone 4 with protection; a few cultivars are hardy only to zone 7".
Once the flowers are spent, you can cut the stem about halfway. Plant the bulbs around 3" deep and if you are planting multiple bulbs, put them about 12-18" apart. After planting outdoors, the stem and leaves may start to turn brown. This is normal and new growth will more than likely follow it.
I always ask followers if they had any specific questions, opinions or hot-takes I can address in this podcast and blog. Here are the questions and answers for this topic:
"Do they bloom around Easter?"
Yes! The flowers are forced to bloom around Easter. Seeing as how Easter day changes each year, this can be difficult for growers and requires a great knowledge of the plant! Normally, outdoors, this lily will bloom in the summertime once you have it planted in your garden.
Quick Tips & Facts
One way to keep the blooms on the plant looking their best is to remove the pollen out of the inside of the lily (anthers). That would mean removing the yellow, powdery tips of the plant. I would avoid doing this for your outdoor lilies.
The pollen CAN stain your clothing and it easily attaches to your clothing. So be careful when handling the plants and removing the pollen from the flowers.
Outdoors, these plants can grow upwards of 3ft tall.
As a holiday decoration, before this plant blooms, you want to keep it in bright light. Once it starts blooming, you can move this plant anywhere in your home. I would avoid direct sunlight since this could shorten the bloom time.
If you plan to plant your lily outside once all the flowers are spent, it prefers full to partial sun. Some sources have said they prefer morning sun and afternoon shade but others have said they bloom more prolifically in full sun. Knowing what we do about other lily varieties, these will thrive in either sun condition but I would place them in full sun to try to give them the best chance for maximized flower production!
If you need help understanding more about light, check out Light Explained.
As always, this depends on your home, environment, humidity, pottery, soil and sunlight. The length of time between waterings will change based on all those factors but Easter Lilies prefer medium moisture. If you need help understanding more about watering, check out Watering Explained.
NOTE: If you plant comes in a decorative foil around the base of the plant, remove this foil. This will help prevent overwatering your lily.
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