Easter lily

(Question)

Is it practical to regrow an Easter lily in Toronto and vicinity?

I just dumped it out of the pot. The top now looks more or less dead but it has about 15 or 20 healthy-looking bulbs of various sizes.

It did its duty this Easter. How can I give it another chance please?

(Answer)

The Easter lily (Lilium longifolium) is native to the southern islands of Japan. Easter lilies have been traditionally sold around Easter–the large outward-facing trumpet-like fragrant flowers of this bulbous plant symbolize purity and the arrival of Spring. However, Lilium longifolium plants, which normally bloom in July and August, are forced [under controlled greenhouse conditions] to bloom several months earlier due to their popularity as an Easter plant.

It is not practical to ‘regrow’ an Easter lily indoors after the blooms have faded because they prefer fairly cool daytime temperatures–16-18’C. and even cooler night temperatures–14-16’C.  It would be very difficult to force it into bloom again. However, it is possible to plant the bulb outdoors after the ground warms up and can be worked. Select a sunny site with well-drained soil in a sheltered position–rich organic soil with medium moisture is best.  Set the top of the bulb 4-6 inches below the soil surface. Mulch around the plant to keep the root zone cool. Do not let the soil dry out–consistent moisture is necessary.  Cut off the old flowers, but leave the stem and leaves. Do not cut back the stem until it dies down in the fall, then cut it off at the soil surface. After the soil surface freezes in late fall, mulch the soil with and do not remove the mulch until new growth begins in the spring.

Since the plant that you have has produced healthy-looking bulbs, it might be worth planting the bulbs in the fall in the conditions described above. Since the bulbs seem to be separated, they can be planted in groups or separately, depending upon the bulb size. However, the smaller bulbs will require several years before reaching maturity. [Given the winter conditions in the Toronto area, they may not reach that point]. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the blooms will equal those of the original plant which would have been grown in a very controlled environment.

All the best in giving your Easter lily another chance.