There are Legions of Lilies

(News article for April 20, 2024)

Many people end up with potted Easter lilies after Easter. Besides being attractive adornments for altar rails, Easter lilies are perennials in the landscape in most parts of Louisiana. Plant them in a well-drained site with full to partial sun exposure. They may benefit from some afternoon shade in our climate.

Plant them so that the bottom of the bulb is approximately 6 inches below the surface, considering both soil and mulch. For example, you can place the bulb 4 inches below the soil surface and then add 2 inches of mulch. I’ve seen plant spacing recommendations ranging from 4 to 18 inches. The bulbs will multiply if healthy, so planting them farther apart may delay when you’ll need to divide them.

The leaves of potted Easter lilies will generally die back sometime after they’re planted. Dead foliage can be removed. New growth will likely emerge, but you probably won’t get more flowers till the following year. Outdoors, Easter lilies flower later in the growing season than those that are “forced.”

Easter lilies are poisonous to cats, so be aware of this, especially if you have potted plants indoors.

Besides Easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum, L. wallichianum, and hybrids), there are other Lilium bulbs that can be grown in the Louisiana landscape. The Stargazer bulbs that my mother recently gave me are in a group referred to as the Oriental hybrids. These have resulted from crosses among different Lilium species. They have large, fragrant flowers and, among Lilium species and hybrids, are some of the more tolerant of our warm climate.

While many Lilium species are native to Asia, pine lily (L. catesbaei) and Carolina lily (L. michauxii) are native to Louisiana, including parts of the Florida Parishes.

Besides the many Lilium species, we call a lot of other plants lilies, too.

Peruvian lilies (Alstroemeria species and hybrids) are popular cut flowers. Most are not reliably hardy in the landscape in Louisiana, though parrot lily (A. psittacina) is naturalized in the southeastern US and spreads readily.

Less closely related to Lilium and Alstroemeria lilies are the popular daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) and lilies of the Nile (Agapanthus spp.). Southern swamp lily or seven sisters (Crinum americanum) and spring spiderlily (Hymenocallis liriosme) are white-flowered wetland plants native to Louisiana that I would encourage you to consider planting in poorly drained areas of your yard. I recently saw spring spiderlilies flowering at the Louisiana State Arboretum near Ville Platte. Southern swamp lilies begin flowering a little later in the season.

Let me know if you have questions.

Contact Mary Helen Ferguson.

white flowers, in addition to pink, yellow, and blue-violet flowersEaster lilies bloom in the landscape (May 2024), along with other spring-blooming plants (giant plume ginger, lanceleaf coreopsis, and blue arrowleaf sage).

5/29/2024 3:23:02 PM
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