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Caring for Easter lilies

Posted 3/14/2016

With proper maintenance, lilies can last well beyond Easter

Easter Lily

Easter Lily

The most popular lily species to grow indoors is the Easter lily. The tall stems grow to two feet or more and the white six-inch, trumpet-shaped blooms are heavily scented. The average lily with one stem has four to six flowers. A “double nosed” or two-stemmed plant may have as many as twelve buds. The shorter and more compact plants are usually preferred.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Master Gardener’s offer some maintenance suggestions so your lily can last well beyond the Easter season. Overwatering is one of the biggest problems when caring for these plants. Determine when to water by feeling the soil surface. When it is dry to the touch, add water until it runs through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Let it drain. If foil decorates the pot, punch holes in the material to allow excess water to drain. After watering, discard excess water in the saucer to prevent root rot.

To get best results with a lily, place it in bright light away from direct sun light. Temperature in the daytime should average 60°F to 70°F and about 60°F at night. Remove spent flowers from the plant as soon as possible. When new buds open, remove the yellow anthers bearing the pollen. This keeps the white trumpet clean and prolongs the life of the flower.

When the last flower of the Easter lily plant has faded, remove it from the pot. Plant them on the east or north side of the house in a semi-shady area where drainage is good. Leave the stem attached to the plant until new shoots start coming up from the base. Then, cut the stem off at the soil line. When given proper care, the Easter lily should become a permanent part of the garden. It will flower each summer. For more information on Easter lilies or other gardening questions, call or email the Master Gardener Help Desk at 702-257-5555.

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