THE SENSUAL, SENSITIVE LILY
March 30, 2012
Lilies Love Bright, Indirect Light
Spring is here! WOOT! Easter Lilies are a bold, beautiful sign that winter is behind us and summer is on the way! A symbol of purity and grace throughout the ages, the regal white lily graces millions of homes and churches every year. Whether given as a gift or enjoyed in your own home, the Easter Lily serves as a beautiful reminder that Spring is a time for rejoicing and celebrating. Throughout history Lilies have been part of some crazy tall tales- mostly concerning the sacrament of motherhood. Roman mythology links it to Juno, the queen of the gods. The story goes that while Juno was nursing her son Hercules, excess milk fell from the sky. Although part of it remained above the earth (creating the Milky Way constellation), the remainder fell to the earth, creating Lilies.
Another tradition has it that the Lily sprang from the repentant tears of Eve as she went forth from Paradise. In churches during the Victorian era, however, (and this just cracks me up) the very conspicuous stamens and pistils were removed because they were seen as overt symbols of sexuality that might move the congregation to impure thoughts.
While most people just toss out their Lily after the holiday~ they actually have the potential to live on for quite awhile. BUT you have to work a bit for it! Kinda like a high maintenance girlfriend, but if you love Lilies like I do, they are worth the extra effort and careful treatment!
The first thing you need to know is that the natural blooming period for this plant is June or July. They are forced by growers for the Easter season, therefore they are very sensitive to the amount of light and water they receive.
Don’t drown your girlfriend—I mean Lily! Never let it sit in standing water. Take any plastic or foil covering off of the pot to allow the water to drain out.
BUT- Lilies will fail to bloom if the air is too dry so a great idea is to set your Lily in a saucer filled with small stones- both for drainage and to create some humidity around the plant.
Easter Lilies thrive in bright indirect sunlight. Blossoms will quickly wilt if placed in direct sun.
Turn the pot every couple of days to prevent your Lily from earning the name “Eileen”.
Lilies like cool daytime temps of 60-65 degrees, and slightly cooler temps at night.
Never place your Lily in an area where it will be exposed to drafts from windows or heaters.
BUT WAIT-THERE’S MORE!
Trying to get a second indoor bloom out of your Lily plant is difficult. The better idea is to re-plant outdoors!
Once your Lily has finished blooming, place the pot in a sunny location in your home until the danger of frost has passed (usually after May 15th). Choose a sunny spot outside and prepare a hole with good drainage, one part soil, one part peat and one part perlite. (A raised bed is a perfect spot).
Set the entire pot and plant into the ground until the foliage has died back, then remove it from the pot and plant it directly into the ground. Gently spread the root ball to loosen the clumped and matted roots. Plant it a little deeper than what it was growing in the pot, with the bulb about three inches below the soil surface. Lily bulbs should be planted 6” deep and at least 12 to 18 inches apart in a deep enough hole that the bulbs can be placed in it with the roots spread out and down, as they naturally grow. Work the prepared soil around the bulbs making certain there are no air pockets around the roots. Water thoroughly after planting! Cover it with soil, mulch, and cut the stems back to the ground. Feed monthly with an all-purpose 10-10-10 water-soluble fertilizer.
Over 12 million Easter Lilies were grown and sold in the United States and Canada last year. Wow, with that many Lilies, the Victorians would be suffering from fits of impure thoughts everywhere they turn!
Easter Lilies at the Mellano and Company Wholesale Location at the Los Angeles Flower Market