Recycling Easter Bulbs and Lilies

Many of the plants you buy as Easter plants are actually hardy plants that can be acclimated and used in your flower bed. Since the Easter holiday is a celebration of rebirth, the saving and regrowing of these plants is especially appropriate. With very little trouble you can convert many of these beautiful Easter plants into a lasting reminders of the season of rebirth.

TULIPS, DAFFODILS, HYACINTHS, & CROCUS These Easter plants are grown from hardy bulbs just like the ones you would buy in the fall and plant in the fall for flowering the following spring. The only difference is that the Easter bulbs were planted into a pot instead of the ground. The grower then chills the potted bulbs for at least 8 weeks before forcing or enticing them into bloom for the Easter holiday. In our area this is often well before garden-planted bulbs have even sprouted. To re-use your Easter bulbs simply cut off the spent blossoms. Grow the remaining leaves as long as possible in a bright, sunny window until the leaves yellow and wither. Keep the soil moist, but never leave the pots standing in water. You should also feed the bulb with a soluble plant food once a week. Remember, the bulb uses all its energy during flowering, so it’s up to you to build up the bulb’s strength for next spring’s flowers with strong sunlight and a high phosphorus, soluble plant food like Miracle-Gro. After the leaves yellow and wither you should plant the bulbs in a sunny location in your yard. Then, next spring, enjoy them again.

EASTER LILIES Some of the Easter lilies available are hardy varieties, most are not. Ask. The lilies should be cut back about 1/4 after the flowers have faded. Grow in the sunny window and feed just as you do the bulbs. Lilies that have been forced should not be transplanted outside until mid-June. Hardy varieties will flower the following spring. Non-hardy varieties will usually flower again in late summer of the same season you planted it.