Caring for Easter Plants

It’s traditional to fill your home with flowers at Easter. While we buy cut flowers for Valentine’s Day, at Easter the choice is often live plants, or flowering pots. Here’s a brief summary of the most popular Easter plants and how to care for them.

Easter lily (Lilium wallichianum, syn. Lilium longiflorum)

It prefers a cool environment, especially at night. Place it in a well-lit spot during the day, but in front of a cool window at night, or even in an unheated garage or cold basement. Water well when the soil dries out. In May, you can try to transplant it into the ground, but there’s no guarantee that it will succeed, as its hardiness is low (around zone 6).

Other Lilies (Lilium spp.)

Photo: www.maplantemonbonheur.fr

Lilies with yellow, orange or pink flowers, etc., sold at Easter are hardy. Their cultivation is identical to that of the Easter lily as long as they remain in the house, but you can later transplant them to a sunny spot in the open ground and expect them to do well there.

Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Photo: Pincalo

With its large “balls” of pink, purple, red, crimson or white flowers, the large-flowered hydrangea, also known as four-season and hydrangea, is very popular at Easter. The key to its success is to keep a close eye on watering, as it dries out phenomenally quickly. Depending on conditions, it may be necessary to water every 2 or 3 days! Moderate lighting and normal indoor temperatures will suffice, although the large-flowered hydrangea appreciates cool nights. It can be transplanted to the garden at the end of May, in a sheltered, semi-shaded to shady spot, but there’s no guarantee of success.

Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum x morifolium)

Photo: Mike Greer

During its stay in the house, provide it with normal temperatures and moderate lighting, watering as necessary to prevent it drying out. Afterwards, cut back the entire plant to 5 cm (2″) from the pot. At the end of May, transplant to a sunny spot in the garden. It will normally flower again in autumn, but there’s no guarantee that it will overwinter, as chrysanthemums vary widely in hardiness.


Photo: Vural Yavas

Tulips, narcissi, crocuses, muscaris, etc., are often offered at Easter. Keep them cool, with nights as cold as possible: 10°C (50°F) or less. Provide good lighting and water as soon as the soil dries out. Cut off flowers after blooming. Transplant in May. All these bulbs are hardy and should flower again in the garden.

Indoor Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)

Photo: Kaboompics

It’s the only true houseplant in the group. Give it moderate lighting and keep a close eye on watering: when in bloom, it loses a lot of water through evaporation. However, it doesn’t tolerate drying out, so water as soon as the soil is the least bit dry. It likes cool conditions, so it’s a good idea to place it outdoors in summer, in a cool, shady spot. Don’t bring it inside until October, as the cold autumn nights stimulate flowering. It should flower again in the house over winter.

Primrose (Primula spp.)

Photo: Julia Filirovska

Many primroses are sold at Easter. They all like freshness and require regular watering to avoid drying out, but differ in their hardiness. Some primroses can be transplanted into moist soil in mid-shade, where they will become established, while others die back after flowering and cannot be recovered.

Have a happy, flower-filled Easter!

Larry Hodgson published thousands of articles and 65 books over the course of his career, in both French and English. His son, Mathieu, has made it his mission to make his father’s writings accessible to the public. This text was originally published in Le Soleil newspaper on April 11, 2009.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, laidbackgardener.blog will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

0 comments on “Caring for Easter Plants

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!