What to do with your Easter Lilies???

We just passed through Easter season and along with the celebration of Christ came many lilies.  You might have received one as a hostess gift, or perhaps there were buckets of them in church that had no home after service.  Perhaps you didn't grab any lilies for Easter, but noticed a WHOLE lot of them on sharp clearance today at your local garden store or center.  Perhaps you wanted to buy them, but you had no idea how to care for them and thought they would just shrivel up and die anyway, so what is the point? Well, hustle your butt back to that store and grab up a bunch of lilies!!  Let's get planting!!  

Growing Lilies

There are LILIES (The Easter lilies, the Orientals), then there are DAYlilies which are another beast entirely.  True lilies can be planted anywhere from zones 1-9, depending on the type.  Easter lilies are for zones 7 and up, but I have grown them in a zone 6 garden with a helpful pile on of mulch in the winter.  For those of you in super cold climates, you will want to check out the Asiatics, while zones 6,7 and up can grow just about any of them.  I am ABSOLUTELY betting on Easter lilies growing just fine in my zone 6 garden near a protected rock wall.

How to Plant

If you buy clearanced lilies, get them out of the pot ASAP and rip up the roots along the bottom and sides of the plant.  Sink the entire root ball into your garden soil, slightly lower than it was planted in the commercial pot.  Give it a good soaking of water, trim off any dead looking bits and watch it grow!

If you are buying lily roots, they are a good bet for summer color in the garden.  Simply place them into the soil 6" under the surface, water them in and let nature take over.  Mulch heavily in winter if you are zone 6 or below.

Here is a lily just starting to grow:

This is what the foliage of a lily looks like.  It grows straight up on a solid stalk and shoots out fresh, spiky-looking leaves.  
Stalks usually stand up fine on their own, but might need a little staking in open areas with high wind.

Flowers start to develop in the middle of the leaf, forming a little rosette.
Here she is a few weeks later:

Those flower buds, poofing up and filling out with the promise of blooms they hold, are full of hope.  If you take a moment and walk around your garden today with your eyes wide open and close to the ground, you WILL see the hope of things to come.  Get out there, dig around a little in the leaves and see what you can find.  I bet you will find a little hope out there.