Question: Can I plant my Easter lily outdoors?
Answer: After your Easter lily finishes blooming, you may plant it in your garden. With a little luck you will get several years of blooms. Do not plop the lily down in red clay. Good drainage is a must. Prepare the soil by adding lots of organic matter and perhaps working in some pea gravel as well. Plant it in a sunny to partially shaded area. Mulch with a 2-inch layer of compost, shredded leaves or pine bark. This helps conserve moisture, suppress weeds and keep the soil cool.
Your lily will not bloom at Easter; grown outdoors, it usually blooms in June. Perhaps next year it will be your Father’s Day lily!
Q: I was visiting Savannah and noticed a green plant growing along with the Spanish moss on the branches of the live oaks in one of the city squares. At first I thought it was mistletoe, but it was smaller and had leaves that looked like a fern. Can you tell me what it is? I am from Milwaukee and had never seen anything like it.
A: It sounds like the resurrection fern (Pleopeltis polypodioides). This fascinating fern is an epiphyte. It gets its nutrients from the air, water and whatever collects on the bark of the trees on which it grows. The resurrection fern usually lives on the limbs and trunks of large trees, with live oaks being a favorite. It is often found in the company of true mosses and other epiphytic plants such as Spanish moss and green-fly orchid.
The resurrection fern gets its name because it survives dry periods by going dormant. Its fronds curl up and appear dead. When rain comes it "resurrects"; its dried fronds become green and lush again.
Resurrection fern is primarily a warm-climate species. However, its native range does extend into southern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and New York. Do not confuse our native resurrection fern with the resurrection plant (Selaginella lepidophylla). It is also called false rose of Jericho. It curls up in a ball when dry and is sold as a novelty. Unfortunately, it is sometimes sold under the name “resurrection fern.”
If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the department’s website at www.agr.georgia.gov.