How to care for gifted Easter flowers

The dynamics of Easter may be different this year due to the pandemic, but caring for gifted plants and flowers exchanged on one of the biggest holidays of the year hasn’t changed.

Soon, it will be time to hit your local florist or grocery store to pick out flowers for your holiday celebration — whether you’re seeing someone in person, or simply dropping off well wishes.

This year, florists have seen more curbside deliveries and loose flowers as gifts, opposed to traditional centerpiece orders for family dinner tables, but the desire for customary flowers like Easter lilies, tulips and hyacinths has not changed.

“Potted Easter lilies and tulips are very popular this time of year,” said Missy Willson, owner of My Enchanted Florist in Sandy Spring, Maryland. “Stock flowers in lavenders, pinks and soft pastel shades are also popular. It’s a very fragrant flower and the colors are perfect for Easter.”

Willson said if you end up with potted lilies, they like to be in bright light, but they need to be kept in a cool area.

“The soil should be dry to the touch — because if you overwater them, you’ll kill the plant. Leaves will start to turn yellow and then they start to die.”

Other popular flowers available for Easter include daffodils, hyacinth, grape hyacinth (which are lavender and blue in color and resemble baby bells) and tulips. Some double as spring bulb plants.

Care for these are generally the same, said Donna Moore, an employee at My Enchanted Florist.

“All the bulb plants are pretty much the same, you cannot let them dry out or else they will die,” Moore said. “Keep them moist. Tulips will grow continuously — you just keep the soil nice and wet.”

Gardening expert Mike McGrath, who has talked about flower care for decades, explained how to maintain bulbs indoors until you’re ready to plant them outside in the fall.

“My favorite Easter flowers are spring bulbs that are already blooming in pots,” McGrath said.

He advised when you purchase potted flowering bulbs: “You want the heads to be nice and tight, and then you might have an indoor show for a good two weeks.”

McGrath provided these steps once you get the plant home:

Take the foil off the base, give a good watering if the plant seems light. Let it ‘show’ in the darkest and coolest room of the house, away from direct sunlight. Once the flower fades, cut off the very top of the stem, so no seed heads form. Take the plant outside and let it absorb sunlight through its green leaves. Water it during dry periods. When leaves turn brown, you can take the bulbs out of the pot, store them indoors, until Halloween or Thanksgiving. Then you can plant them outdoors, and with any luck, they will rebloom right around every Easter, and do what they are supposed to do — be an internal symbol of spring.

McGrath said if you decide to purchase cut flowers, buy them when the pedals are still “folded up tight and not fully open yet.”

He advised recutting the stems when you get them home, putting them in a vase with fresh water and changing the water daily. And he warned: “Don’t mix daffodils with tulips” or any other flowers in a vase.

“They will both suffer,” McGrath said. “If you want to do it right, daffodils get their own vase and so do tulips. In fact, every species should get their own vase.”

Glynis Kazanjian

Glynis Kazanjian has been a freelance writer covering Maryland politics and government on the local, state and federal for the last 11 years. Her work is published in Maryland Matters, the Baltimore Post Examiner, Bethesda Beat and Md. Reporter. She has also worked as a true crime researcher.

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