How to Plant Easter Lilies Outdoors

Easter Lily

Easter lilies are simple to save and plant outdoors after the Easter season is over.

Easter lilies are a very popular way to decorate for the spring and Easter season. They are used to decorate churches, shops, and exchange among friends. The bright white symbolizes the newness of spring. There is no better way to celebrate this season of new beginnings than with a beautiful, fragrant lily.

Easter lilies are one of the most popular potted plants sold in the United States. They are only on the market for about two weeks. However, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Easter lilies only trail poinsettias, mums and azaleas in wholesale sales. While they are an incredibly popular indoor potted plant they are often discarded as soon as they begin to fade.

Keep Your Easter Lilies

This year don’t throw away your Easter lilies. Instead, you can plant them outdoors. Trim back the flowers as they fade, but leave the foliage intact. As soon as the weather is free from the threat of frost and the ground is workable, plant the bulb six inches deep. Choose a location that has good drainage and exposure to sun for at least a half a day. P. Allen Smith Garden Home suggests mixing sand and compost into the soil if it is not naturally well draining. You can even plant the lilies in containers as long as you prevent the containers from freezing during the winter season. Store the containers where they will stay cool, but not freeze. It is important that lilies have time to chill during the dormant winter season.

Care

Once the plant is in the ground allow the foliage to continue to grow throughout the summer and fall. When the foliage becomes brown and dry, cut it off level with the ground.

Mound mulch over the top of the bulb after the foliage is removed to help protect the bulbs from the elements. In the spring when you begin to see new growth, remove the mulch. Easter lilies like plenty of water, but they don’t want to sit in a soggy environment. If the weather is hot and dry during the summer, be sure to give your plant plenty of extra water.

When the plant emerges in the spring wait until it is about three inches tall, then Green Circle Growers recommends fertilizing with a 5-10-10 fertilizer. They also suggest surrounding the plants with crushed eggshells to deter slugs and snails.

Summer Blooming

Don’t be concerned when your plant emerges in time for Easter but is nowhere near producing a bloom. Easter lilies don’t naturally bloom in time for Easter. The plants purchased in flower shops are forced in greenhouses to flower in time for Easter. Easter lilies grown outdoors will naturally bloom later in May.

Replanting

If your plants are well taken care of, your Easter lily bulbs will multiply each year. You can dig up bulbs to move and replant them or pass them on to friends in early spring before they start growing or in the fall once they have died back.

It does not take much extra work to plant your Easter lily outside instead of throwing it away. With very little care these attractive plants will grow and multiply for years to come. Have you ever planted your Easter lilies outdoors? 

Sources

Tips for Planting Easter Lilies Outdoors.”  Green Crircle Growers. <http://www.greencirclegrowers.com/_blog/Green_Circle_Growers_Blog/post/Tips_for_Planting_Easter_Lilies_Outdoors/>

“Easter Lily Care.” UNL Extension in Lancaster County. <http://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/nebline/easterlily.shtml>

“Planting Easter Lily Bulbs” P. Allen Smith Garden Home. <http://www.pallensmith.com/articles/planting-easter-lily-bulbs>

Image: “Easter lily” by Ken Cook

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