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Acer's Florist & Garden Center
Edition . Acer's Florist & Garden Center

pansies and bulb plants in

Easter decor
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The Elegance of the Easter Lily

For many people, the beautiful trumpet-shaped white flowers of the Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) represent the spiritual essence of Easter. Over time, the flowers have come to symbolize purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life.   Throughout history, they have been mentioned--in mythology, literature, poetry and the world of art--with stories and images attesting to the beauty and majesty of their elegant white flowers.

The Easter lily is actually native to the southern islands of Japan, which was the primary producer of the plant until World War II. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Japanese source of bulbs was cut off abruptly. Now the majority of lily flower bulbs are grown along a few miles of the Pacific Coast at the Oregon and California border.

Easter lilies actually bloom naturally in the summer throughout most of the United States. They rise from earthy graves as scaly bulbs, and bloom into majestic flowers right before Easter with a little help from some "trickery" by greenhouse growers who use a balance of moist cold and sunlight to get the flowers to bloom in time for the holiday.

Two of the great charms of the Easter lily are its great trumpet-shaped form and its wonderful fragrance. Whether you plan to give the potted plants as a gift or use them to decorate your own home, the following tips will help make your Easter lilies keep on giving.

Select medium to compact plants that are well balanced and proportional in size--not too tall and not too short. The flowers should be in various stages of blooming with only a few blooms open and the rest still puffy buds or tightly closed.

As the flowers mature, remove the yellow anthers before the pollen starts to shed. This gives the flowers longer life and prevents the pollen from staining the white flowers. When a mature flower starts to wither after its prime, cut it off to make the plant more attractive while you still enjoy the fresher, newly opened blooms.

Easter lilies thrive near a window in bright, indirect natural daylight, but avoid glaring, direct sunlight. They prefer moderately moist, well-drained soil. If the pot is wrapped in decorative foil, be careful not to let the plant sit in trapped, standing water. After blooming, you can transplant your lily outside for many more years of lasting enjoyment.

Whether given as a gift or enjoyed in your own home, the Easter lily serves as a beautiful reminder that Easter is a time for rejoicing and celebrating.

For some tips on planting Easter lilies outdoors, click here.

Garden Primer

Can I grow basil and other herbs from cuttings?

You can take cuttings any time that the mother plants are still actively growing and healthy. Always use a shallow (less than 3 inches deep) container that is new or has been sterilized with 1 part bleach to nine parts water.

We recommend indoor greenhouse trays that come with clear plastic covers.

Use a mixture of peat moss and sand or a seed starting mix. Wet your mixture completely with lukewarm water. Always keep your soil moist, not soggy, so the new plant roots have oxygen. Select new stems and prune no more than 3 inches. Strip the leaves off the bottom half of the cutting with your fingers. Make a final angled cut (at a former leaf node) so more of the stem will be exposed to root.

Use a pencil to make holes in the soil. Dip the cut end of your cutting into rooting hormone and place in the hole, firming the mix around your cutting. (There should be no leaves touching the mix.) Mist your cutting a few times daily to keep it moist and cover with plastic or a mini greenhouse cover to keep it humid.

Place your pots or trays in a warm location where soil temperatures can be maintained between 65 and 75 degrees. You can use a heating mat if needed, but check your soil moisture more often if one is used. When new growth resists when you gently tug on the plant, then it is ready for potting.

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