Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I care for my Easter lily?

Easter lilies usually are purchased to be enjoyed as home decorations during the Easter season. To prolong flowering during this period, these plants should be kept in medium light, away from direct rays of the sun, and the top one-fourth of their soil balls allowed to dry out between waterings. Fertilize very lightly with each watering. When the flowers are spent, discard the plants—or get them ready for planting in the garden.

After all flowers have withered, pinch them off, and place the plants in a sunny window until danger of frost has passed. Then move them to a sheltered, outdoor site for a few days to harden off in preparation for planting out.

Remove the plants from their containers and carefully loosen the root systems. Plant them in a well-drained location, which receives morning sun, a few inches deeper than when they were in their pots. Water thoroughly and apply a small amount of a balanced garden fertilizer. Add two inches of loose mulch over the soil surface to keep the roots cool during summer. Apply more loose mulch after frost in autumn to provide winter protection.

Soon after planting, the old tops will wither and die and should be removed. New shoots will emerge and may flower in July or August. If the plants do not flower later in the current year, they probably will next summer.

Easter lilies aren't reliably hardy, and at best, can be expected to come back for only a few years, provided that winters are not severe. Some gardeners recommend that Easter lily bulbs be lifted for winter storage much like those of canna, gladiolus, or caladium, but agreement on this is not widespread.