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Planting potted Easter lilies in the garden.

The Easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum) sold as potted gift plants have been forced in greenhouses. They won't bloom again on their namesake holiday (June or July is the normal bloom time), but with some coasing they may produce flowers late this summer or in the summer of 1985. Planted out after Easter (April 22), one lily can produce as many of 20 flower buds in about 14 months.

During Eastertime, water enough to keep pot soil moist. After blooms fade, remove the lily from the pot and plant in the ground at the original soil level. Choose a spot in full sun, or filtered shade where summers are hot. Lilies like well-drained soil; dig organic matter into heavy soil. Sprinkle bone meal in hole before planting. Mulch with compost or rotted manure.

Where ground freezes in winter, remove decorative foil and wait until soil warms; then set the pot directly in the ground. When cold weather returns, move pot and bulbs to a protected place where they'll stay moist but won't freeze.

If new shoots emerge in a couple of months, feed with a nitrogen fertilizer; cut off the old stalk at soil level. You should get blooms in late summer. If new shoots don't appear, let old stalk remain until foliage yellows or until November, then cut it off; fertilize when new shoots appear, usually within a few months.

Rust-like spots on foliage usually indicate botrytis, a fungus disease; spray with fixed copper or rose fungicide, or discard the plant. If bloom is sparse in the second year, divide when you remove stalks, pulling apart bulblets from the parent bulb. To prevent bulbs from drying out, replant or repot right away.
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Date:Apr 1, 1984
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