Lilium longiflorum 

(li' lee-um lon-gi-floor' um)

Common name: Easter Lily

Family: Liliaceae, Lily

Height x width: 12-36" x 6-9" (naturally taller, shorter with growth retardants)

Foliage: lanceolate to 6" long and ½" wide, scattered around and up stem arising from bulb, dark shiny green; number formed is determined by amount of cooling--more cooling, more leaves

Flowers: trumpet-shaped white, 2-6 usually, terminal and held horizontal from stem on stalks; very fragrant; yellow anther sacs of pollen should be removed carefully upon flower opening to increase life of flowers and prevent staining of petals

Light: bright

Temperature: cool 55-65ºF, height varies with temperature

Watering: moderate

Humidity: average

Soil: average, well-drained, often contains soil or sand for weight

Pests and Problems: leaf spots, gray mold, root rots, bulb borers, aphids, spider mites

Growth habit, uses: seasonal flowering

Other interest: native to Japan; due to ideal growing conditions, most bulbs are produced in southern Oregon, northern California; when buds open, florists remove yellow anther sacs from flowers to prolong bloom and prevent staining of pure white flowers; in commercial production, this crop is known as the "wheelbarrow" crop as it is continually being moved from cool to warm and back depending on how fast or slow it is growing that particular season, with different bulbs responding differently; much research has been done on timing for commercial production, with leaf and bud counting, and graphical tracking often used. For the traditional leaf counting, when buds have been initiated by mid January, all the leaves have been formed. They are then counted--number unfolded and number to unfold, with later number divided by number of days to Easter to determine number of leaves needed to unfold each day. The warmer the temperature, the faster the leaves unfold. Some parts may be poisonous.

Other culture: plant bulbs in fall in large pots, with about 4" of soil above bulbs; store cool but above freezing until winter, then bring into warmth and water and fertilize according to growth; plant in garden after bloom for possible fall rebloom; hardy only to zone 5.

Propagation: bulb offsets (usually bulbs purchased)


Originally there were several--Georgia, Ace and Nellie White. Until the late 1970's Ace was most popular, but due to better growth Nellie White is now the main cultivar seen in commerce, with Georgia popular 30-40 years ago.

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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