49March 23, 2016

Just when you thought Spring had arrived, the snow starts coming down. However, I must say that the first day of Spring around here is seldom a nice Spring day.

Sunday is Easter and with the arrival of Easter there is the tradition of giving flowering plants. Easter lilies, Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths and many others of the Spring flowering plants are probably a sure sign that Spring is coming to our area. Once you get these potted plants, do you know how to take care of these plants? Let me give you a quick lesson.

Let’s start with how to take care of the Easter Lilies. These plants come from a bulb. As with all plants that come from bulbs, there is a bit of a dance between how warm the plants are kept and how much water you give to the plants. When Easter is early in the year, you may find that the lily flowers are tight buds when you receive the plants. If you want the flowers to open faster, you should keep the plant warm. If you keep the temperatures in the uppers 60’s the plants will open their flowers faster. If you keep the soil moist, you will get the flowers to open even faster. The lilies prefer to be kept in very bright light and will tolerate some direct sunshine while in your home. Please keep in mind that if the soil is always soaking wet, you run the risk of the leaves dropping and the flowers going by quickly. By keeping the soil on the dry side and keeping the temperatures in the mid to lower 60’s you will slow down the opening of the flowers.

Now let’s talk about the Spring flowering bulbs that come in pots. These would be the tulips, daffodils and hyacinth. If you think about how they grow when you plant the bulbs outside, they begin to grow during cool days and will tolerate cold nights. They enjoy the moisture in the soil from the aftermath of a  snowy winter. If we get a warm spring with temperatures in the 70’s during the day, the flowers tend to come into bloom quickly and then go by bloom quickly.

When you have these flowering plants indoors, they prefer to be kept on the cool side. They will be happy with temperatures in the mid to upper 50’s but prolong temperatures in the mid 70’s will make the flowers go by quickly. If you combine warm temperatures with soil that stays wet all the time, the flowers will go by in a few days. A sunny window that warms up during the day and soil that is wet will make the flowers go by quickly. If you want your tulips, daffodils and hyacinth to last longer, keep the plants cool and allow the soil to dry a bit before you water the plants. Tulips, daffodils and hyacinths can be planted outside when they are done flowering. Keep in mind that the flowers will go by and then you cut the flower stalks off the plant. The leaves must be kept alive until you put the plant outside. If you cut off the leaves before you put the plants out or if the leaves dry out and die, the bulbs may not flower again next year or the bulbs may die after you plant them in the ground.

Many of the Easter plants come with a foil or plastic warp around the pot to “ dress up “ the pot. They look pretty, but these wraps can lead to an early death of your bulbs. The foil or plastic wrap will hold any excess water that flows out the bottom of the pot. Any excess water in the wrap will keep the soil wet all of the time. This can lead to the roots of the bulbs rotting away. If you poke holes in the bottom of the wrap and place the pot and wrap on a plant saucer, the excess water can drain into the saucer. You should then just dump any excess water out of the saucer. You can also take the plant to the sink, remove the wrap, water the plant and then let any excess water drain away and then put the plant back in the wrap.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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