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Blooming Plant
of the month

easter lily

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Lilium longiflorum
(LIL-ee-um lawn-ji-FLOR-um)

Easter lily, Trumpet lily, Bermuda lily

This bulb plant, with its white, trumpet-shaped blooms, is a traditional symbol of Easter. The stems can grow to 3 feet high and carry three to eight flowers each, on average. The blooms are 5 to 7 inches long. The fragrance is moderately sweet.


These plants usually bloom for one to two weeks.

Easter lilies are available primarily in the spring. Bulbs are harvested in the fall and shipped to commercial greenhouses, where they are planted in pots and forced, under controlled conditions, to bloom for the Easter holiday.

These plants do best in bright, indirect light
Easter lilies do best in moderately moist soil. Water them thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Do not allow the plants to stand in water.
Display the plants in rooms that are kept at 65 F to 70 F during the day and 50 F to 60 F at night. Avoid placing the plants near drafts or heat sources. Easter lilies can be stored from three to five days at 33 F to 35 F; extended storage can cause leaf yellowing. After removing the plants from coolers, allow them to warm up overnight in 55 F rooms. Water the plants with lukewarm water (100 F to 110 F) after they are removed from coolers.
HUMIDITY Mist the leaves occasionally.
After flowering, keep the plants in well-lit locations and continue watering them as the foliage matures. In late spring, plant Easter lilies in the garden. They may reflower later in the summer, but most likely, new blooms won’t appear until the following summer.

Easter lilies are moderately sensitive to ethylene gas, which can cause blossom drop. Check with your supplier to make sure your plants have been treated with an anti-ethylene agent at the grower or transportation level.
This occurs if lilies are exposed to low-temperature storage for too long, if the plants are too close to each other or if root rot is present.
PESTS Aphids are a common pest. Control them by washing the plants with an insecticidal soap.
Lilies’ pollen can stain clothing and furniture. To protect against staining, remove the yellow anthers (pollen-bearing pods) found in the center of each flower as soon as each bloom opens.

quality checklist


BLOOMS Look for plants whose most mature flower is in the white puffy stage (before flower opening).

The plants’ foliage should be dense and rich green, and it should extend all the way down to the soil line, indicating healthy root systems. Longevity may be reduced if the plants have yellow leaves. Check the leaf axils for insects, and avoid plants showing signs of disease or insect damage.




fun facts


WHAT’S IN A NAME The name “longiflorum” means “long flowers.” It is the Latin form of the Greek “leiron” (used by the ancient Greek philosopher and botanist Theophrastus for the Madonna lily,
 L. candidum

These plants are members of the Liliaceae family. Common relatives include Fritillaria, Gloriosa, hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley and tulip.

Easter lilies are native to the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan.

U.S. production of Easter lilies began when Louis Houghton, a World War I soldier, brought a suitcase full of hybrid lily bulbs to Oregon in 1919 and distributed them to horticultural friends and neighbors.


Some information provided by:
Chain of Life Network®,
Easter Lily Research Foundation,
Flowering & Foliage Plants Book 2 from The John Henry Company
The New House Plant Expert, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
The Society of American Florists’ (SAF) Flower & Plant Care manual

Photos courtesy of The John Henry Company

Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.