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Easter lilies offer a symbol of hope and can be enjoyed long after the holiday season

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The month of April marks the beginning of spring, and with it comes the joyful Easter season. With the holiday fast approaching, many homes and churches will soon be adorned with beautiful, fragrant Easter lilies.

While these delicate, white flowers offer a symbol of purity, hope and new beginnings during the holiday season, they can also be enjoyed long after Easter has gone, if properly cared for. 

Caring for potted lilies

According to a March 27 article written by Deborah Tukua and published in the Farmers’ Almanac, potted Easter lilies prefer cool daytime temperatures of around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. 

They also prefer moist soil, that isn’t too soggy. 

“Most Easter lilies are sold commercially in pots covered with decorative foil jackets. Individuals should remove the pot from the foil covering every time the plant is watered because no water should be left standing at the bottom of this covering,” Tukua suggests.

She explains after the water has soaked into the soil, the pot can be returned to the foil covering. 

She also notes in order to keep Easter lilies from wilting, individuals should avoid placing them in direct sunlight, and since most plants lean toward light, the pot should be turned every two days to keep the plant growing upright.

“Also, to help potted lilies thrive, do not place the pot near a direct source of heat,” Tukua cautions, further noting lilies do better in humid climates than in arid climates. 

To create some natural humidity for plants, Tukua says a saucer can be filled with small pebbles and water and set beneath the potted lily.

lilies to the garden

After Easter has long gone, individuals can introduce lilies to their garden for annual enjoyment. 

Tukua notes individuals should wait to transplant their flowers until all danger of frost has passed, and the potted lily has stopped blooming. In Wyoming, the last spring frost usually occurs anywhere from May 16 to May 28, according to the Farmers’ Almanac

Just as it was in the pot, Easter lilies planted in a garden need to be kept in well-drained soil. In order to provide needed drainage, Tukua says perlite can be added to rich, organic garden soil.

Because Easter lilies have large flowers and can grow up to three feet tall in a garden, they should be planted in an area where they can lean against other plants, while still getting plenty of sunshine. Bamboo stakes and grow-through plant supports can also be used to keep them from flopping over.

Tukua recommends planting lily bulbs, roots down, about three inches below the surface of the soil. 

“If planting more than one bulb, position them at least 12 inches apart,” she suggests. “Cut back the stems once the plant appears to be dead. This will cause new growth to begin and possibly another bloom to pop up during the summer.”

Since Easter lilies are a perennial, Tukua says individuals should look for the plant to bloom in June or July the following year. 

Other considerations 

According to a Jan. 4 Better Homes and Gardens article by Derek Carwood, aphids are the most common insect gardeners will encounter on Easter lilies, although they may see occasional visits from spider mites, thrips and scale. 

As far as diseases go, Botrytis blight, root and stem rot and rust are possible when Easter lilies are grown in environments that are too wet. 

Additionally, the article notes, according to the Food and Drug Administration, Easter lilies are poisonous to cats and will cause kidney failure, requiring vet care. This includes pollen from the plant, which may get on cats’ fur and licked off later when the animal cleans itself. 

Carwood shares dogs do not appear to have the same sensitivity, although if they happen to eat lilies they may get an upset stomach. 

Therefore, individuals with pets may want to reconsider keeping Easter lilies in their house or ensure they are out of reach of their pets.

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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