The traditional flower of Easter is the glorious white lily longiflorum. Well-known as the Easter lily plant, this flower is symbolic of beauty, hope and life. With its natural beauty, grace and fragrance, the Easter lily has decorated homes and churches during the symbolic holiday, for hundreds of years.

The natural form of this plant is a combination of tall stems with a multitude of abundant and fragrant white blossoms. Although generally seen only during the month preceding Easter, you can grow this plant to flower periodically through the year.

When selecting an Easter lily, look for a quality plant that is pleasing to the eye from all angles. Choose one that is compact in size, well-balanced and proportionate in size. Keep in mind the flowering period of the plant. As Easter draws near, you will want to choose a plant with well-formed buds, ready to flower for the symbolic holiday.

The plant foliage should be dense and plentiful, right down to the soil line. The rich, dark-green foliage is not only attractive, but is also a good indicator of a healthy plant.

Easter lilies perform best in bright, well-lit locations placed close to natural sunlight. The plants do prefer cooler evening and night temperatures. If possible, move your plant to an overnight place in your home.

The Easter lily prefers to have moderately moist soil. Water the plant thoroughly when the soil feels dry to the touch. Remove any excess water from the drainage container. Lilies should not be left sitting in water.

Lilies can continue to grow and re-flower long after their initial flower period has finished. Once the lilies have finished flowering, place the potted plant in a sunny location. This would be a good time to consider transplanting to a permanent container, with adequate drainage, using sterilized potting soil.

Continue to water the plant regularly, adding a small dose (about one teaspoon) of osmocote fertilizer every six weeks. Your plant may choose to re-flower again during the summer. In the fall, move the plant to a cool, dark location indoors. Approximately six weeks prior to Easter celebrations, bring the plant back into the light and encourage to re-flower.

The spiritual meaning of purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life are well-represented within the beauty of the Easter lily plant. Whether you are purchasing a plant for yourself or giving plants to others this Easter, enjoy a gift rich in meaning found within a plant that truly embodies the very essence of the celebration.

Shari Morash is a gardening enthusiast and an accredited designer. Contact her at shari.morash@gmail.com.