Plant of the Week - March 24th 2018

It’s Easter Weekend, so we have only one choice for our pick of the week…and that’s the Easter Lily, the traditional Easter plant with its large, white, fragrant trumpet shaped flowers.  Now, when choosing a lily for your holiday, pick one with the flowers and buds in various stages from tight to slightly open, so you’ll have colors for a more extended period of time.  Once in the home, keep it in cooler temps (65 degrees) water when the soil is dry, and remove the flowers as they become spent.  I would also suggest removing the yellow anthers for the center of the flowers which makes the flowers last longer and keeps the pollen from getting on the kids and couch and who knows where else!   And for you cat owners, this is one plant that is extremely toxic to cats, so be careful here!!!!

Now, once the lily is finished flowering, don’t throw it away!  Keep it growing indoors until the weather is good (frost free) and plant it in a sunny spot in the perennial garden – they are very hardy!  The foliage will yellow and brown, so cut it off.  But next year, it’ll be back with flowers like it should normally do.  Yes, these are floral forced to flower for Easter!

Note:  We can thank Louis Houghton, a World War I soldier, for the popularity of the Bermuda lily, better known as the Easter lily, in this country. In 1919, he brought a suitcase full of hybrid lily bulbs to the southern coast of Oregon and gave them to family and friends to plant. The climate there was ideal for growing this lily, a native of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan, and by 1945, 1,200 west coast growers were producing bulbs for the commercial market. Up until that time, first Bermuda, and then Japan, dominated the U.S. export market.