April 14, 2011 at 8:51 a.m.
If you buy or receive an Easter lily, be sure you have one with healthy, dark green leaves and buds at several stages of maturity. Keep daytime temperatures around 65 degrees and set plants in bright indirect light, away from drafts. When plants bloom, remove the yellow anthers to prolong bloom life and prevent pollen from staining. Remove flowers as they wither. Water when soil is dry to touch. If the pot is wrapped in decorative foil, punch a hole in foil at the bottom of the pot and place a saucer underneath to catch excess water.
Easter lily leaves are poisonous to cats, causing lethargy, vomiting, kidney failure, and even death. According to the Animal Poison Control Center, cats are the only animal affected. If your cat eats the leaves, take the animal to a veterinarian right away.
Once your Easter lily has finished blooming, remove faded flowers and keep it in a sunny window. When the leaves turn brown, cut off the stem at the soil surface. In late May or early June, when all threat of frost has passed, plant the bulb outdoors. Plant the lily in a warm, sunny spot with well-drained soil.
Plant lily bulbs four to six inches deep from the soil surface to the top of the bulb. In sandy soil, the bulbs should be two to three inches deeper. Fertilize at planting time and again at mid-summer and you might get more flowers the same year. When the soil begins to freeze in the fall, cover the bulbs with a thick mulch of straw, leaves or evergreen boughs. When you remove the covering next spring, the lilies should reward your effort with new growth and beautiful flowers.
Don't forget our Spring Class Series continues. On Tuesday, April 12, Dianne Patras, Chisago County Master Gardener will demonstrate raising vegetables, and Dianne will be back on Tuesday, April 19 to do a class on raising blueberries. All classes are held at the Senior Center in North Branch. All classes begin at 6:30 p.m. and the cost is $5 per person.
We still have bare root plants for sale also. If you need any information about the classes or ordering plants, call our office at 277-0151, or you can call me at 651-257-4496, and leave a message