Easter lily rehab

Hort

With Easter here and gone, the weather has left us wondering when spring may arrive. Those of you who received a potted Easter lily for the holiday may also be wondering what to do with the plant after the flowers are gone. Take care of your Easter lily plant while patiently awaiting for spring weather to arrive.

In the home, Easter lilies prefer moderately cool temperatures, 60-65 degrees. Place your lily in a window with bright, indirect light. These plants prefer a moderately moist, well-drained soil. Remove any decorative foil to avoid over-watering, and allow the soil surface to dry to the touch between each watering.

After the flowers have faded, continue to water thoroughly as needed, and add one teaspoon of a slow-release fertilizer, such as Osmocote, every 6 weeks.

Plant your lily outside in a sunny, well-drained location, after all danger of frost has passed, typically around May 15 for central Iowa. Be sure to fluff and gently spread out the roots before planting and water well after planting. Adding a layer of mulch helps to maintain moisture and keeps the plant roots cool.

Though these plants do well in greenhouse, they are only marginally hardy to Iowa winters. In the late fall, mulch your lily well to provide winter protection. Carefully remove the mulch in the spring to allow new shoots to come up in the spring. With luck, you will enjoy your lily blooms again another season.

Did you know? This year, we celebrate Extension Week April 16-20 by kicking off our Largest Potato Contest. Stop into the Extension Office, 311 Bank Street in Webster City to register and receive your free seed potatoes and contest rules. Planting instructions will also be included. Grow your potato plants and enter your largest potato at the Hamilton County Fair on July 25th. Prizes will be awarded to adult and youth sections- so join our contest and “Grow with Extension”!

Horticulture Questions? Contact McCormick at yvonne@iastate.edu for information or advice.

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