The Yellow Farmhouse Garden

April 13, 2009

Easter Lily Care and Re-bloom

Filed under: Uncategorized — bob @ 7:19 pm


I have found that there are two different groups of people when it comes to caring for an Easter lily after Easter.

One group of  simply let their Lily “run its  course” and then toss it away after it starts to fade. Most of these folks probably water the plant once or twice and then let it go.

On the other side of the equation is a group of people who would like to keep their Lily blooming as long as possible and maybe even save it for next year. Since you are reading this post, I’ll assume you belong to the second group and are interested in getting the most out of your Lily.

Easter Lilies like to be in a cool bright spot when they are inside a house. So, if you have a choice where to place it, choose the cooler spot away from any heating vents jut as long as it gets light from the window. Don’t worry too much about it though.

More important than location is watering. Since most Easter Lilies come with a pot wrapper, it is easy to kill a Lily with too much water.  The wrapper will trap water and not allow it to drain away, this will cause the roots to become water-logged and eventually die. This is the most common mistake people make in caring for their Lily. Be sure to dump out the excess water that drains into the wrapper after watering.

Cut off the blossoms as they fade. Once all the blossoms have come and gone, just care for it like a house plant. Feel the soil with your finger to get an idea how dry it is. The top of the soil should look and feel dry before watering again. 

I also like to pick up the pot and feel how much it weighs, a dry pot will feel quite a bit lighter than a wet or damp pot.

Sometime around Memorial Day, plant the Lily into a flower bed or other area with good soil and sunlight.

Sometimes the existing stalk will die back. When this happens, the Lily bulb will send up a new shoot and continue growing through the summer.

Then in the following year your Lily will surprise you with blossoms in July. They always surprise me because I usually forget that I planted them there until they bloom.

They don’t naturally bloom during Easter, we have to give them special conditions in a greenhouse to force them to do that. Forcing Easter Lilies is a complicated procedure. We force over 200 Lilies every year. It’s fun but also a challenge because Easter Sunday changes from year to year!

There’s no Federal law saying you have to save your Lily (at least not yet ;))  but it is easy to do and a lot of fun.



  1. Keep as house plant?Will it bloom again next summer in house?Any tips on care?THX.

    Comment by donald jones — April 14, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

  2. Hi Donald,
    I don’t know of anyone personally who has tried to keep an Easter Lily indoors as a house plant. However, if I were to do it, I would try to reproduce the conditions that the Lily would be growing in normally.
    First, I would re-pot the Lily into a larger pot and begin fertilizing it with a house plant fertilizer.
    Second, I would try to find the brightest spot in the house so it get as much sunlight as possible.
    Then, late in the season, I would let it go dormant to mimic the winter resting period. Keep the dormant bulb in a cellar or garage… someplace cool. Even burying the bulb outside if you are able. Also, stop watering to encourage dormancy.
    Then, next spring, bring it back out into the light and start watering. It should start growing.
    Whether or not it blooms will depend on how much energy the bulb was able to store up during its growing season.
    Good luck and let us know from time to time how this project is progressing.

    Comment by Bob — April 15, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  3. I liked reading about the Easter lillies. They are a surprise when they come up in the yard. I usually forget I had planted them, too. They sure are pretty

    Comment by victoria — April 19, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

  4. Hey, y’all. You sure are quiet out there. Bob and Judy work really hard on bringing you facts and stories and great pictures about what grows green. How about a shout out to let them know how much you appreciate their efforts? I am sure they would appreciate the support.
    Thanks, Bob and Judy!!

    Comment by victoria — April 19, 2009 @ 8:20 pm

  5. Yeah, they sure do have a lot of information and I learn a lot from reading about plants and garden stuff. I have started growing a pineapple already and it’s growing and I can’t wait to get a piece of fruit from it.
    Thanks for everything.

    Comment by Aubry — April 19, 2009 @ 8:22 pm

  6. Hello, Bob and Judy. I’m always interested to read what is happening in the greenhouse. It’s is amazing what you grow. It makes me want to have a greenhouse, too. But, for now I will stick to my little house plants. I really like the pictures. They make the blogs come to life.

    Comment by Christine — April 19, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

  7. Good idea. I enjoy reading your articles, Bob and Judy. Thank you for all your hard work.

    Comment by jpashaian — April 19, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

  8. Easter Lilies are the gift that keeps on giving if you re-plant them. A few people give them back to me after they are done blooming because they don’t have room to plant them and they can’t bear to just throw them away.

    Comment by Bob — April 21, 2009 @ 8:57 pm

  9. Victoria, Thanks for your support by interacting with this blog. It’s always good to hear from our readers.

    Comment by Bob — April 21, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

  10. Aubry, We have already eaten that pineapple from that plant and have taken that top and started a whole new plant from it all over again!

    Comment by Bob — April 21, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  11. Christine, Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. We enjoy taking those pictures and sharing them with our readers.

    Comment by Bob — April 21, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

  12. As long as we hear from our readers Judy and I will keep writing. Keep checking in now and then, we are planning some really fun stuff that I know all of our readers will get a kick out of…even the non-gardeners.

    Comment by Bob — April 21, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

  13. I live in SC, do I need to wait until Memorial Day to plant outside, how much sun, very sunny 6-8 hours, or just sunny 4-6 hours? And moist soil or drained soil?

    Comment by Julie — April 24, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  14. Hi Julie,
    Since the weather in your part of the country warms up quicker than here in Michigan, you don’t have to wait until Memorial Day, the first week of May should be OK. If you have a choice, pick the sunnier location although we have some in a spot that gets only 8 hours or so and they seem to do fine. As far as soil, a well drained area that has access to natural rain would be ideal. If there’s a drought, give them a watering. Soggy soil can cause root rotting problems for Easter Lilies. Even in the greenhouse when forcing them for Easter we have to be careful not to over water them.
    Have fun,

    Comment by Bob — April 25, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  15. I cut off the plant leaving about 2 inches. Can I just leave the plant in the plastic pot instead of planting them outdoors? I live in an area with strong coastal winds. The soil is very sandy and clay-like….plus I have gophers in the yard.

    Comment by Sabrina — April 27, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  16. Sabrina, I’ve planted old Easter Lilies with the top intact and with the top cut off as you did, and have had success both ways. If you do keep the plant in a container, transplant it into a larger pot, although, you are more likely to be successful if the bulb is planted outside. You have an additional problem with those gophers. If you want to take the time, you can plant your bulb in a wire basket of some sort to keep the gophers from chewing on your plant. Bulb planting baskets are sold at garden centers and on-line or you can make one out of a piece of hardware cloth (your local hardware store can cut you a piece from their roll). Sandy soil will work if the plant is fertilized once in a while and gets water when dry. The planting mix used in greenhouses for growing Easter Lilies has virtually no nutritional value so, we have to add all of the plant food ourselves.
    Good luck and have fun,

    Comment by Bob — April 27, 2009 @ 8:34 pm

  17. Can i leave it outside for the winter or do i have to dig it up in the fall to save it?I live in Nova Scotia and our winter’s are harsh.Alot of freezing, snow and ice.

    Kelley Jamieson

    Comment by Kelley — May 23, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

  18. Kelly, I would leave your Easter Lily outside all winter especially if it is in a somewhat protected spot or an area that collects or drifts over with snow. All of that snow acts as an insulating blanket for plants during the winter.
    Good luck to you,

    Comment by Bob — May 24, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

  19. I have a transplanted Easter Lily in my back yard that has 11 blossoms! Is that some kind of record?

    Comment by Mark — June 8, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

  20. Hi Mark, I’m not sure what the record is for Easter Lilies, but yours is a prize winner for sure! When we grow Easter Lilies in the greenhouse we try to get 8 or 9 blossoms. Sometimes a plant will have 1 or 2 more than that. A good location with sunlight, adequate fertilizer and water along with some TLC all contributes to a vigorous plant and lots of blossoms. Some luck with the weather is also needed, temperatures in the mid 50′sF lasting for a week during bud developement will push the blossom numbers over the top.
    Thanks for sharing your great experience with us, I hope you took some pictures.

    Comment by Bob — June 9, 2009 @ 8:47 pm

  21. An Easter Lily is blooming in my yard right now!! What a pleasant surprise. It’s beautiful. I has four blooms.

    Comment by victoria mcintyre — July 13, 2009 @ 11:51 pm

  22. Hi Bob and Judy! I am so disappointed! We live in a new home, and last year was our first summer here…it was exciting to be surprised by the different flowers blooming! BUT our eater lilies turned brown just before they bloomed….now, last year, we were blessed with echinacea plants, so we put them in…..they are glorious!!!!! Is it possible they are robbing the lilies of their nutrients? thank you for your time and insight! God bless you both!-J.P. in Wayne county

    Comment by Judith — July 28, 2009 @ 9:16 pm

  23. Hi Judith,
    I’m sorry to hear about your Easter Lilies. We are experiencing problems with ours as well. Many of ours had their buds eaten by the deer (1st time for that) and others that did escape the deer are showing symptoms similar to what you describe.
    Much of what we have here is the fact that we are growing a plant outside of its natural growing range, in this case, islands in the Pacific near Japan and that exposes the plants to new environmental stresses they don’t have in their original homes.
    Anyway, many fungi, virus and bacteria attack Easter Lilies. If the weather during the growing season is just right to encourage a disease organism and at the same time puts some stress on the plant, then conditions are right for disease to take hold.
    Dig up one of your bulbs, the roots should be nice and white and fairly thick like a piece of fat spaghetti, if they are brown or gray and/or shriveled, you have a root disease of one kind or another. Also, the bulb itself should be completely white, if you see any yellow, that also is a sure sign of disease.
    There’s not much we can do about it. You can try drenching the area with a fungicide to see if that helps. It may be a good idea to dig up and toss the diseased bulbs. Plant any future bulbs in a different bed.
    Finally, damaging the bulbs while digging, can leave a place for fungus to enter and infect the plant.
    I’m looking forward to next year to see how (or if) ours recover.
    I am glad to hear your other flowers are doing so well.
    Good luck to you,

    Comment by Bob — July 29, 2009 @ 6:07 pm

  24. Hi Guys!

    Any way to keep the critters from eating the blooms of an Easter lily???


    Comment by Janet — April 14, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

  25. Hi Janet,
    Other than a fence, you can try one of the animal repellents that are available at the garden center. These materials are sprayed on. I have also used a sprayer type device that is battery operated and has a motion detector. It uses pressure from a garden hose to spray a jet of water to startle the animal as it approaches your garden.
    Best of luck to you.

    Comment by bob — August 29, 2010 @ 10:36 am

  26. Hi, I live in Upstate NY and saw a plant growing about 4 inches out of a cosmos plant that I was going to cut before frost hits hard. I dug it up and brought it in. I realize now it is an Easter Lily. Is it confused? It surely would die before bloom. It has a beautiful healthy bulb with babies, which I planted in another pot. Did I do the right thing to bring it in before frost and winter months. I would think it should have bloomed in late July. Maybe I should replant the baby bulbs back outside? Thanks for any help.

    Comment by Peggy — October 17, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

  27. Hi Peggy, Easter Lilies sometimes do funny things. I think it is because they are forced to bloom outside of their normal blossoming time and that confuses them as you say. I would re-plant the bulb and mulch it well to protect it from your harsh winter. That way it will know what season it is when it warms back up in the spring. Best of luck to you. Bob

    Comment by bob — October 18, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

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