Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


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Cornell University

Easter Lily
Lilium longiflorum
(lill-ee-um long-ih-floor-um)

easter lily flower  easter lily bulb 
Click on thumbnails for larger image.
easter lilies

What about it?

The Easter lily, also known as the Trumpet Lily or the Long-Tubed White Lily, is a member of the lily family along with several hundred other varieties. A true lily has a bulb that consists of 2 parts: a basal structure, and overlapping scales. At the center of the scales is the growing point from which the stem emerges.

The Easter lily has a long, slender stem that will grow up to 3 feet. There are approximately 30 leaves on a plant. These leaves are 3 to 5 inches long and 1 /2 an inch wide. The flowers are large, white trumpets that grow in a raceme.

What is it used for?

In the Northern climates, Easter lilies are grown as pot plants or in greenhouses for cutting. In warmer areas, they can be used as border plants.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

Lilies need fairly rich, well-drained soil. When planting lily bulbs, mix in generous amounts of seasoned compost into each hole. Plant the bulbs 5-6 inches deep. It is also common to grow Easter lilies "under glass".

What are its primary problems?

Easter lilies are afflicted by a number of problems. Botrytis mold will often attack lilies, as well as rust, puffy leaf, limber neck, basal and edge-scale rot. Aphids can be persistent as well.

How do we propagate it?

Lilies grow from bulbs. If keeping indoors, you should plan on getting your lilies to bud 6 weeks before you would want the plant to flower. Easter lilies are especially responsive to forcing under artificial conditions. Many people place the bulbs inside the refrigerator for a while and then remove. The bulbs will begin to grow and form buds.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.