Can Easter Lilies Be Planted Outside: Tips On Growing Easter Lilies In The Garden

November or Easter Lily (Lilium longiflorum).
Image by godrick

By Bonnie L. Grant

Easter lilies are native to the southern islands of Japan. It is a popular gift plant and produces lovely white flowers. The plants are forced to bloom around Easter and are often discarded after the flowers fade, which seems a waste. So, can Easter lilies be planted outside? Why, yes, of course!

These plants can’t overwinter in cold climates but in warm to temperate regions they will thrive and come back the following year with even more elegant lily flowers. Keep reading for some tips on the care of outdoor Easter lilies.

Are Easter Lilies Outdoor Plants?

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Growing Easter lilies in the garden allows you to preserve the plant and its bulbs. The plant will gather more solar energy outdoors to fuel a future bloom and you can enjoy the attractive foliage. Lilium longiforum is the botanical name for the plant, but it is still just a bulb derived plant and treated like any other bulb.

The majority of the bulbs for the commercial sale of Easter lilies are grown in a small coastal region between Oregon and California. The bulbs are dug up and sent to nurseries to force just in time for the Easter holiday. This answers the question “are Easter lilies outdoor plants” because they are grown on outdoor farms in that area.

That said, there is some preparation necessary to transplant them into an outdoor bed. They have become pampered hothouse flowers, so special Easter lily outdoor care is essential.

How Can Easter Lilies Be Planted Outside?

Remove the spent blooms as they form on the plant to conserve energy. Wait to transplant until all danger of frost has passed.

Easter lilies prefer their heads in sun and feet in shade, so consider planting some spring annuals around the base of the plant to shade the roots and cool the soil.

Prepare a garden bed in a sunny location with organic amendments and loose, well-draining soil. Enhance the drainage if necessary with some sand worked into the soil.

If the foliage still persists, plant the entire plant at the depth at which it grew in the container. If you have only saved bulbs, install these 3 inches deep and 12 inches apart.

Keep the area moist, but not soggy, as the plant adapts to its new location. The foliage will fade once temperatures soar in summer but can be cut back. It will form new leaves quickly.

Care of Outdoor Easter Lilies

Easter lily outdoor care in winter is minimal. Place thick mulch over the lily but remember to pull it away from new growth in late winter to early spring.

Mix a time-released fertilizer at the rate recommended for bulbs around the root zone of the plant in spring and water it in.

As with any plant, some pest issues may arise, but these can usually be dealt with using a horticultural soap.

Northern gardeners will want to dig out the bulbs in spring and pot them up to overwinter indoors.

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