Easter lily bloom
image by Jasmine Noor/sxc.hu
Easter lilies bloom in spring near Easter, thus their name. They were initially grown indoors to bring a touch of spring to mantles and tables. Taking care of your indoor lily ensures the longest and healthiest blooming period. While you can keep the potted plant indoors year round, generally they must be transplanted outdoors if you want further blooms in late summer. Otherwise keep the lily potted indoors and enjoy the green foliage during the summer until the bulb goes dormant for the winter. Plant pre-forced bulbs at purchase and plant regular bulbs in the fall.
Choose an 8 to 12 inch diameter container with drainage holes in the bottom and a drip tray. Place clay shards over the drainage holes so the soil doesn't drain out with the excess water.
Fill the container with rich, well draining potting soil. Make your own potting soil by mixing 2 parts compost with 1 part peat moss. Add a handful of perlite to complete the mix.
Plant the bulb root side down in the center of the pot with the top of the bulb 3 inches beneath the soil surface. Cover with soil and gently firm with your fingers.
Water thoroughly after planting until the soil is moist but not soaking wet. Water whenever the top layer of soil begins to dry, and apply water until the excess comes out of the drainage holes. Discard water in the drip tray afterward.
Keep the lily in a sunny area during the spring and summer. Choose an area of the home with temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees F for best blooming.
Move the lily to a dark area of the home with temperatures between 40 and 45 degrees F in late fall to force dormancy. A refrigerator reserved for this purpose works well. Allow lily bulbs to remain dormant for 6 weeks.
Relocate the lily to a warm, sunny area to begin forcing bloom 20 weeks before the desired blooming period. Work a bulb fertilizer into the top of the soil without damaging the bulb and continue general spring and summer care.