2007-03-30 / Columnists

The Diary Of A Green Thumb

Easter Lilies
Commentary By Danielle McShane Danielle's Rockaway Florist

Commentary By Danielle McShane Danielle's Rockaway Florist

DANIELLE McSHANE The white, trumpet shaped flowers on an Easter lily represent life, purity and hope - the very essence of Easter. They are one of the most popular gifts given for an Easter celebration.

When purchasing one, you should look for full, compact greens, rich in color. Only the first bloom or two should be open, with a few tight buds closer to the top. As the closed buds begin to swell, and the beautiful petals on the Easter lily curl back, they will reveal a long narrow throat with anthers at the tips of the stamen. It is best to remove the anthers before the pollen turns yellow and dusty, so that it doesn't stain the petals. The upper blooms open about two days apart from each other, as the open flowers on the bottom of the cluster begin to wither. Cut the older blossoms from the stork with sharp shears to keep your lily looking attractive.

In your home, be sure to shelter the lily from direct sunlight, drafts, and heat, which may be too strong. Instead, bright filtered sunlight and moist soil will help the plant to thrive. Continue to water the plant, even after all the blooms are gone. The stem should continue to bear green leaves for a bit, and after they have all faded, cut the stem down to the soil.

Towards the end of May, the weather should warm up, and the threat of frost will pass. High winds and sandy soils are common in Rockaway, so we must choose a safe place in your garden to plant your Easter lily. Loosen your soil and add compost to ensure proper drainage and airflow. Plant the Easter lily six inches deep, and place two inches of mulch over the soil. Fertilize with a complete fast-release fertilizer a few inches from the stem, and welcome your Easter lily back in June! Gardening Questions or tips for our readers? Write us at Danielles RockawayFlorist@yahoo.com

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