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Easter is one season that brings out a wide variety of beautiful blooming plants including tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, azaleas, hydrangeas, chrysanthemums and, of course, lilies. But what do you do with all of these plants after the blooms fade?

Most folks assume that they are all perennial and that all they need to do is to plant them outside in the spring. Nothing could be farther from the truth. First of all, while there are "hardy" (perennial) mums and azaleas, these plants offered at Easter are not of the perennial types. They are what is referred to as "florist quality" plants. Therefore, you could plant them outside and they might bloom again in the fall but they probably would not survive our cold winter.

Secondly, while it is true that tulips, hyacinths and daffodils are hardy, they need to be placed in storage for the summer only to be planted outside in the late fall, not in the spring. Fall is the time for planting bulbs. So simply allow them to die back totally, then remove the dead foliage and place the bulbs into paper bags or cardboard boxes. Store them in the basement as it is darker and cooler than your garage during the hot summer. Plant them in the ground in October or early November to be ready for blooming next spring.

The only plants that are truly perennial and the ones that should be planted immediately are the Easter lilies and the hydrangeas. With the lilies, cut off the faded blooms but not the tall stem with the leaves, plant it and if and when the stem yellows or dies (it may not), then cut it off at ground level. The same is true with the hydrangea. Only cut off the blossoms after they die and then plant it into the garden for years of blooming beauty. Now hydrangeas typically bloom in the fall but the ones for Easter (and Mother's Day) are forced into early bloom for your enjoyment. It is quite possible that your hydrangea will bloom again in the fall putting it back on schedule with nature.


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