11 April 2009

GARDEN GATE: Caring for Easter Lilies

After you've enjoyed your Easter lily indoors, you can easily plant it outdoors.


* Select a plant with dark green foliage covering the stem all the way to the soil.
Instead of plants with all mature blossoms, look for flowers and buds in various stages of bloom.
* Plants fare best in bright, indirect light and cool locations. Avoid exposure to fireplaces and heat ducts.
* Keep the plant moderately moist. If allowed to go too dry, leaves turn yellow. Water the lily thoroughly when the surface of the soil feels dry. Do not leave pot standing in water that has collected in foil wrapping or other decorative container.
* As blooms open, remove the anthers. Pollen stains flowers and almost anything else.
* As blossoms fade, remove them. When the last flower withers, place the lily in a sunny indoor spot.
* Lilies can be planted outdoors after the danger of frost. The plants prefer their roots in the shade and their heads in the sun. Spreading roots as much as possible, plant lily bulb in well-drained soil. At least 3 inches of soil should cover the top of the bulb. Cut plant to soil line as it dies back.

If you don't add your Easter lily to your landscape, be sure to add it to your compost bin. If you don't have a compost bin, give the lily to somebody who does. And recycle that pretty, but earth-enemy foil wrapper: Aluminum foil has the half-life of plutonium! I'm exagerating, but really, perhaps the lily growers need to reconsider. Maybe a colored cellophane would be a greener dressing for the potted lilies. Better yet, some recycled paper printed with vegetable dyes--maybe some nice floral patterns. The more simple paper would let the beauty of the lilies shine, rather than all that aluminum foil.

Now, if you don't even have a recycling bin to toss the foil into, it's high time. Take that step this spring: Spring cleaning the planet is everybody's chore. Recycling works.

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