There was a time when Japan had a lock on the Easter lily business in the U.S. Native to Japan, the flower was largely imported into the U.S. from the Japanese. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the supply was suddenly cut off, making Easter lilies extremely valuable in the U.S. Many people growing the lilies as a hobby went into business. The commercial bulb business was born on the Pacific coast where 95 percent of the potted Easter lilies originate today. Bulbs are packed and shipped to greenhouses around the country and forced, under controlled conditions, to bloom for the Easter holiday.
“Nellie White” is the most popular of the millions of lily bulbs. A lily grower by the name of James White named his white, trumpet-shaped flowers after his wife.
The Easter lilies industry has a $40 million wholesale value ranking the flower fourth in the potted plant market behind poinsettias, mums and azaleas. That’s pretty remarkable seeing that it doesn’t have much of a holiday time window. Poinsettias are around for several weeks before Christmas and mums and azaleas are available year-round.
What states produce the largest number of potted Easter lilies? The USDA places Michigan in the number one position. California is second, Pennsylvania third and Ohio ranks fourth.
Easter Lilies originate with the right growing conditions and constant care ensuring superior quality and cleanliness. Buona Pasqua!