Bulbs by the caseload are trucked to various regions of the U.S. and Canada where they either remain briefly in cold storage to stimulate a false winter (cold storage is necessary to trigger the next growth cycle) or arrive via refrigerated truck to a grower who immediately pots the bulb and begins the forced cycle of growth in time for Easter.

   On Easter Sunday your Easter Lily has truly risen again to provide a profound and beautiful reminder of this most sacred season. 

   Packing is the lily bulb growers' last goodbye to the product he's nurtured for the previous three years.  And there are many hands necessary in that final goodbye.  In the field, workers handpick the largest and most promising bulbs, now called "Commercials."  In the packinghouse many hands clean, sort, and hand pack cases of Easter Lily bulbs.  Ranging in sizes from 7" to over 10" in circumference.  These softball sized pearly orbs are carefully layered in between beds of moistened peat moss.  One box contains about 125 bulbs. 

A phenomenon that occurs in late summer is the Lily bulb's natural response to the shorter days and cooler nights.  In a short period of time (two to three weeks) the natural production of plant carbohydrates swings direction.  This subtle trigger causes all of the carbohydrate output to focus its energy away from promoting foliage growth and placing it back down to the bulb.  Part of the "Art of Farming" is watching for this period and timing the harvest to take place just after this swing has finished.  In a 7 day period it is possible to see as much as 1" expansion in the circumference of a bulb.  That ultimately makes all the difference in the final plant size and floral production.

   The last journey the bulb make is to the packing shed.  In the field, farmers are careful to choose the largest and most robust of the Lily bulbs.  Bulbs that produce premature growth tips or bulbs that are judged to be inferior are eliminated.  In the three years prior to harvest the bulbs are "rogued" which means inferior bulbs are culled along the way.   

Harvest

Research Foundation 

Easter Lily 

The Life of the Easter Lily

Living Lilies Fundraising

   The boxes the Lily bulbs are packaged in are not true rectangles, but are built with shaped sides and extra spacers on the lids and bottoms to allow for good heat dissipation.  The bulb boxes are built to anticipate where the bulbs will be sent next, cold storage.  When cases of bulbs are stacked on a pallet, their angular design allows for air circulation.  Fun fact, if the Lily bulbs were stored in an average rectangular box and left to their own devices, the box would heat up due to the stored energy reserved in the bulb.  

"Quality Lilies through Cooperative Research "