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Keep that Easter plant blooming for years, with these gardening tips for those festive flowers

NOT JUST FOR THE HOLIDAYS — Easter lilies and many other potted plants sold during the holiday can be transplanted into your garden and bloom for years to come. Photo courtesy of Lockwood’s Greenhouses.
The bloom on the potted plant that you got for Easter may already be fading. With some care, you may be able to enjoy that plant for years to come.

I talked to Teresa Buchanan, the garden center manager at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, which is located at 4484 Clark St. in Hamburg. She had great tips about how to care for various plants.

Some, such as hyacinths, tulips and lilies, can be transplanted into your garden; they should come back, year after year. With calla lilies, which aren’t true lilies, it is more convenient to just keep them in the pot, rather than transplant them into your garden; you have to dig up calla lily bulbs in the fall, anyway. Azaleas need to spend a little time outside, but treat them like a houseplant, during the winter. Spring mums might rebloom in the fall, but will not overwinter.

Hyacinths, tulips and

daffodils

You can transplant hyacinths, tulips and daffodils into your garden, but wait until the fall.

When the flowers on your potted plant are done, cut off the flower stalk and leave the plant in the pot. Put the plant in a sunny spot outside.

Buchanan warned to not cut the foliage off. The plant uses its leaves to store up energy, so it can rebloom next year. That applies, whether you have these plants in a pot or in your garden.

When the leaves turn yellow, stop watering the plant. Put the whole pot, soil and all, in a cool, dry place for the summer, and forget about it. You do not have to take the bulbs out of the soil and place them in a paper bag; that is a waste of time.

Knock the soil out of the pot and plant the bulbs in your garden, at the end of August or beginning of September. These bulbs may have been planted in a shallow pot, but when you plant them in your garden, place them approximately 6 inches below the soil’s surface.

Easter lilies, oriental lilies and Asiatic lilies

Easter lilies are those traditional white lilies with the large, fragrant trumpets. Asiatic lilies come in orange, red and pink and are not fragrant. Oriental lilies come in pink and white and are highly fragrant.

All of these can be planted as perennials in your garden and should rebloom, next year. If you plant your potted lily in the garden now, it may even bloom again, this summer.

When the flower is spent, cut it off. While the leaves are green, plant it in your garden. However deep the lily was in the pot is how deep you should plant it outside.

Calla lily

The calla lily isn’t a true lily, and will not overwinter in Western New York. If you plant calla lilies in your garden, you must dig them up in the fall and bring them inside, whether you start with a potted plant or with bulbs.

Keep it in the same pot or transplant it into a larger pot. These are shade-loving plants, so set them with your hostas. Water and fertilize the plant through the summer; it was forced to bloom for Easter and will not rebloom during the summer.

In the fall, probably around late September when the weather is in the 40s Fahrenheit, but before we get a frost, bring the pot inside. Place it in a cool, dry, dark spot and stop watering. Let the foliage die back.

In May, when the danger of frost has passed, start watering the pot and the plant will grow again. Buchanan suggested keeping it on a patio table.

“To me, that’s the easiest thing to do,” Buchanan said. “You could put it in the garden, but you’ll have to dig it up in the fall, like you do with dahlias and cannas.”

Azaleas

Keep azaleas as a houseplant. “These are florist azaleas,” Buchanan said. “They’re not for the garden at all.”

Keep them inside now, until the danger of frost has passed. At the end of May, repot them, to give them more room, and place the pot outside in the morning sun.

“Don’t allow them to dry out,” Buchanan warned. “They will die.”

Leave the potted plant outside until the temperature gets down into the 40s, then bring the plant inside. Those cool temperatures trigger the buds for the following spring. Bring the pot inside, before we get a frost.

Place the pot in a sunny window through the winter. The evergreen leaves are beautiful, and in the spring, the plant will flower again.

Easter mums

Mums that were forced for Easter can be planted in the garden and they could rebloom in late fall. These are not garden mums, so they probably will not make it through the winter.

Connie Oswald Stofko is the publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com.
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