Flowers are widely used in the celebration of Easter, the most important day in the Christian calendar. Not only are they colorful, but spring blooms also express rebirth and symbolize the resurrection. Easter also falls near the beginning of spring and flowers are a festive reminder of the coming season.
Easter lilies, formally Lilium longiflorum, are the most popular Easter flower. These Japanese and Bermuda natives, sometimes called Bermuda lilies, are cultivated in U.S. greenhouses--mostly in California and Oregon--for sale around the holiday. These plants grow from bulbs and are noted for their white, trumpet-shaped blossoms. In the garden, Easter lilies grow to be up to 36 inches tall and thrive in partial shade.
Hyacinths, formally Hyacinthus, are popular for Easter arrangements and bouquets. These spring flowering bulbs yield one large stalk with tiny florets forming a brushlike shape. They exist in a multitude of colors, including white, pink, purple and blue. Hyacinths are forced in greenhouses for Easter displays, but can be grown in home gardens in USDA growing zones three through eight. In the garden, plant healthy bulbs before the first frost in the fall for spring blooms. Hyacinths grow to be an average of 8 to 12 inches tall.
Azaleas, part of the Rhododendron family, are popular hostess gifts at Easter dinner. These brilliantly colored shrubs naturally bloom near Easter in a rainbow of colors, including pink, white, orange and red. Gift azaleas can be replanted in USDA growing zones five through nine. They prefer well-drained, acidic soil and do best in partial sun.
Tulips, formally Tulipa, are another harbinger of spring and popular in Easter arrangements. Originally found in an area extending from southern Europe through Turkey and Iran to China, these spring-flowering bulbs are now popular worldwide. There are more than 150 species of tulips; their cup-shaped flowers exist in almost every color in the spectrum. After Easter, plant tulip bulbs in the garden after the threat of frost has passed. They will thrive in sunny spots in USDA growing zones three through eight. Most species of tulips benefit from being dug up each spring after they bloom and being replanted in the fall.