Posted by: ceara08 | February 18, 2008

Save the Easter Lily!

Well Easter is approaching fast! Seems just like yesterday everyone was in a panic over Christmas. Well, except me of course because I don’t buy into the whole economic side of Christmas. All we do is have a nice intimate meal with family and exchange no presents and do not decorate the house.

Anyway, Easter this year for the non-Orthodox is March 23, 2008. Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the full moon around the time of the Spring Equinox.

Next month millions of Easter lily bulbs will be potted up for sale. This is my plea to help prevent many of them from ending their lives in a garbage dump. They are not endangered, but just the idea of so many plants living a short life bothers me a great deal.

The Lilium longiflorum

Easter lily

The cut flower and potted flower industry mass produces bulbs in test tubes in laboratories. Then they are placed into refrigeration units to simulate winter. Once they are planted in pots they are allowed to grow. When they reach blooming size they are shipped off to grocery stores and florists to sell.

These are beautiful lilies and very fragrant. But usually what happens when the flowers are done, the whole thing ends up in the garbage. Please don’t do that if you get one of these plants. Spread the word to others.

Dump out the whole pot, root ball and all, and replant outdoors when the weather is decent enough (beyond threat of frost), at the same soil depth that it was in the pot. It should stay green all summer, turn brown in the fall and die off. What it’s doing then is returning energy back to the bulb for winter food which will enable it to bloom again next year. In some climates, the foliage and stem may die back before autumn. But it will not bloom around Easter, it will bloom in the summer, between June/July, depending on the climate. The Easter Lily is a “forced” flower. While there’s nothing wrong with this method (it’s been done far back as the Victorian era), it confuses the consumer and makes them believe that the flower really blooms at Easter. And it makes them believe that it’s some sort of exotic flower that will not grow in their region. Most members of the Lilium family are very winter hardy, with some withstanding Zone 3.

Lilies like sandy soil that drains easily. It does not like to be in a boggy area, which will just rot the bulb. It likes to have it’s head in the sun and feet in the shade and will do well with lower level plants surrounding the base, like Johnny Jump Ups (viola), or other ground cover and low growing plants.

Not really a need to fertilize these plants, but they do appreciate a little bone meal scratched into the soil, or slow-release granular fertilizer. They will multiply readily and form huge clumps in about 3 growing seasons. When they are crowded, dig them up, separate the bulbs and replant at least 6 inches deep.

The neat thing about lilies, is if they don’t like the depth you planted them and they want to go deeper, they have fleshy roots at the base of the bulb which can literally dig itself deeper and find the depth it is happiest.

So, please don’t throw these beautiful plants away. If you don’t want, mail the bulbs to me.

Please save the Easter Lily!


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