Our Easter plants will be arriving the week of April 8th, with Easter just a few weeks away. Here are some tips to get the most out of your Easter plants:
Easter Lilies– When you bring your Easter Lily home, keep it away from drafts and drying heat sources such as heating ducts. Bright, indirect light is best with daytime temperatures of 65 to 75° F. Take the plant out of the decorative foil because that can trap water and rot the bulb. Water the plant only when the soil feels dry to the touch, but do not overwater.
Do not throw away your Easter lily after it is done blooming. You can save the bulb and plant it outdoors. Easter lilies can be replanted outside after the blooms are gone. Plant the Easter lily outdoors as soon as the ground can be worked. Select a sunny site with well-drained soil. Set the top of the bulb six inches below the soil surface. Cut off the old flowers, but leave the stem and leaves. Do not cut back the stem until it dies down in the fall, then cut it off at the soil surface. After the soil surface freezes in late fall, mulch the soil and do not remove the mulch until new growth begins in the spring.
Hydrangea- Place your Easter hydrangea where it gets bright light but not direct sunlight which can make it fade faster. You also want to keep the plant away from a heat source like a radiator or heat vent. As with Easter Lilies, it is important to remove the decorative foil or wrap because it can hold water and the roots may get too wet. Either set the plastic pot into a decorative pot or put it in a saucer and make sure it does not sit in excess water. When the flowers have gone by you can snip them off and transplant the plant into a slightly larger pot and keep watered and fertilized. Place the pot out in a cooler area such as a screened-in porch or garage where it will not freeze. When the weather gets consistently warmer around the end of May, plant the hydrangea in a partially shaded area of the garden. Easter Hydrangeas are forced into bloom early and that puts a little strain on the plant. However, if you give it a little TLC, you will have a nice, lasting addition to your garden.
Rieger Begonias- These stunning begonias require a window that gets sun either in the morning or afternoon but not both. They prefer daytime temperatures of 60-70 degrees and nighttime of 50-60 degrees. Make sure they do not receive any light at night or the flowering may be disrupted. Water when the soil becomes dry and avoid splashing water on the leaves. Fertilize once per month with a high-phosphorous liquid plant food while the plant is blooming.
Gerber Daisies– Gerbers like bright sunlight in the morning but need to be protected from bright light during the afternoon. Water the plant deeply when the top of the soil is dry, but don’t let it sit in water. Remove any water that drains through. Pinch the blooms off as soon as they go by. If you plan on planting outside, wait until the threat of frost has past and slowly transition them outside- first to a porch or covered area and then to the garden. Avoid strong sunlight. They prefer to be planted in bright sunlight but out of the hot afternoon sun. Morning sun would be great.
Calla Lilies– Unlike Daffodils, Crocus, Iris and Hyacinths, Calla lilies are not hardy outside in our area. The care however is somewhat the same. While they are in bloom, keep them moist and in indirect light. As the blooms fall, reduce watering until all the flowers are gone; then let the leaves wither and die as the plant dries out. Give it a brief resting period in a cool and dark location and then re-pot in late winter into fresh soil and begin watering again to encourage new sprouts.