Lilies and flowers that grow from bulbs symbolize new life and hope; the beautiful, white trumpet flowers of the Easter lily signify purity. The bulb represents the tomb of Jesus and the fragrant flowers his life after death. Quite often the Easter lily is referred to as ‘the white-robed apostles of hope.’
Legend has it that white lilies sprung up from the ground where drops of Christ’s sweat fell in his final hours of sorrow. It is also said that when Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden she shed tears of repentance and from these lilies grew.
The spiritual theory is that true repentance is the beginning of beauty.
(old web photo)The Easter lily is not a naturally spring blooming flower. From a small coastal region on the Oregon-California border which is the ‘Easter lily Capitol of the World’ they are shipped all over the continent to greenhouses that force the blooms under controlled conditions to flower in time for Easter. This date changes yearly as Easter is celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.
Since potted Easter lilies have a religious significance they are a favourite gift at Easter. They like a moderately cool daytime temperature in a home followed by cool nights. They should be placed in a bright window where they will not receive any direct sunlight nor a draft or excessive heat from furnaces or fireplaces.
Make sure there are good drainage holes in the pot and water well when the soil surface is dry. If you intend to leave the pot in the foil wrapper, remove this during watering.
As the flowers mature, you might want to remove the yellow anthers before the pollen starts to drop and stain the white petals as well as a tablecloth if there is one under the plant. When each bloom is spent, remove it to encourage the rest of the flowers to open.
You can plant your Easter lily out in the garden when it has finished blooming indoors. Choose a sunny location with lots of rich organic matter which will drain easily. Plant it so the bulb is about 15 cm (6”) deep and if you are planting several, keep them 30 – 45 cm (12-18”) apart. Put a layer of mulch around the plants and you should see some new growth this year.