The Easter Lily Capital of the World

It’s likely you’ve never heard of Smith River, California, but odds are that’s where your Easter Lily was grown. This fertile land – located in the far northwest corner of California – is home to less than 900 residents, but produces about 95% of the world’s Easter lily bulbs – making it the Easter Lily Capital of the World.

With towering redwood trees to the east and the sparkling Pacific Ocean to the west, this gorgeous river valley – comprised of about 600 acres – is considered the most ideal spot on Earth for growing Easter lily bulbs due to its nearly perfect growing climate and soil condition.

In fact, only five Easter Lily bulb farms – owned by four families – produce up to 14 million bulbs each year. So how did this small strip of coastal land become such a dominant force in the production of Easter Lilies?

Easter Lily by Mancuso’s Florist

It all began in 1919 when a man named Louis Houghton introduced some hybrid lily bulbs to the south coast of Oregon and planted the seeds – so to speak – of what would become the Easter Lily Capital of the World. Prior to 1941, nearly all of the Easter lilies plants in North America were imported from Japan, but WWII changed that when Americans found themselves cut off from their beloved white lilies.

By 1945, Houghton’s crop had taken off and there were around 1,200 growers producing bulbs all along the Pacific Coast. That number would steadily drop as growers found the bulbs difficult to grow commercially.

It takes at least three years to grow the bulb to commercial size, and each year the bulbs must be dug up and sorted by hand – then either shipped to the greenhouse or replanted for another year.

Unlike other crops that are planted, left to grow, and harvested later, Easter Lily bulbs must be planted, harvested and shipped within a span of three months. That means in order to force the bulbs to bloom in time for Easter, they require 40 days of a forced artificial winter by refrigeration followed by a brief growing period in a high-temperature greenhouse.

The growing schedule is crucial since the value of the bulbs drops considerably even one day past Easter. To complicate matters, Easter doesn’t fall on the same day every year and can vary by as much as five weeks, so timing is everything.

With Easter only days away, this magnificent plant is available now. Give us a call or stop by and pick one out for your Easter celebration or check out our selection of Easter flowers.

Are you considering an Easter lily this year? Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your beautiful new plant.

  • If your Easter lily came with a decorative plastic, foil or paper wrapper, remove that as soon as possible in order to prevent the lily from becoming waterlogged.
  • When choosing a “home” for your lily makes sure to choose a location away from drafts and drying heat sources.
  • Water your plant if the surface feels dry, but be careful not to over-water. Easter lilies require a medium moisture level and should never stand in water for any length of time.
  • Potted Easter lilies kept indoors need bright, indirect natural light but, too much exposure to sunlight can cause burning issues.
  • Remove the yellow anthers from the center of each flower to prolong the life of the blossoms.
  • Easter lilies can be planted outside in a sunny location after the flowers have withered away.
  • If you plant your Easter lily outside, cover the roots with mulch to help keep them shaded.
  • Once planted outside, the lily should be watered freely during the active growth period and be kept moist during the winter.

Remember: Easter lily plants are highly toxic to cats.

It’s Time to Think Spring!

Green Cocktail by Mancuso's Florist

Green Cocktail by Mancuso’s Florist

March is here at last, which can only mean that it’s time to think spring! While most of the country enjoyed a relatively mild winter, it’s always nice to know warmer days are ahead and summer is just around the corner (and don’t forget to set your clocks forward next weekend – March 12).

But before we start thinking about summer, it’s time to celebrate spring and all of the wonderful imagery and rejuvenating energy it provides. In fact, one reason we love spring so much is that it’s nearly impossible to think about spring without thinking about flowers! From tulips to daffodils, and everything in between.

We may be a few weeks away from the “official” start of spring, but by this point, many of us are enjoying the blooming of the deciduous magnolias, cherries, and quince. Spring is a time for growth, new beginnings, and for many, a welcome reward for several months of being cooped up indoors.

Summer will be here before you know it, but don’t go digging out the flip-flops just yet. Right now it’s time to enjoy this sensational season – and all it has to offer.

St. Patrick’s Day

One sure sign that spring has sprung is the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, we’re all a little green on March 17. This particular holiday holds different meanings for everyone, but many use it as an opportunity to get out and have some fun! Of course, one of our favorite things about St. Patrick’s Day is that it features the iconic shamrock!

Shamrocks are a symbol of Ireland and were said to have been used by St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity. Interestingly, there is not a consensus over the exact botanical species of clover that is the “true” shamrock, but instead, the name is sort of a catch-all for a number of three-leaved clovers.

Perfect Match by Mancuso's Florist

Perfect Match by Mancuso’s Florist

Easter

Easter takes place this year on April 16, and what better way to mark the occasion than with an Easter lily? This hearty plant bears a number of fragrant white trumpet-shaped flowers and is symbolic of the resurrection of Christ that is celebrated during Easter. If traditional flowers are more your style, pastel-colored floral designs are also very popular during the Easter season.

May Day

One holiday that often gets overlooked is May Day. Celebrated each year on the first day of May, this holiday originates from an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and evolved into a secular celebration. Although fading in popularity, it used to be tradition to make “May baskets” full of flowers and sweets and leave them anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps.

That’s not all…

There are so many more reasons to love spring and so many more reasons to shop for flowers – as if you needed a reason! Spring also ushers in prom season for many high school students as well as the start of wedding season and graduations. As the school year draws to a close, this is also the perfect time of year to thank teachers, coaches, school administrators and facility for all their hard work during the school year. Of course, flowers are an excellent way to do just that. Whatever the reason or occasion, Mancuso’s Florist is here to help you find the perfect gift. Don’t forget to pick some out for yourself as well! Give us a call, or stop in today – we’re always happy to help.

Welcome to Spring, Is it Easter Already?

Easter Egg Hunt by Mancuso's Florist

Easter Egg Hunt by Mancuso’s Florist

Sunday marked the first official day of spring, and this year Easter is not far behind. Can you believe Easter is only a week away?

Flowers are often associated with holidays, but perhaps none more so than the Easter lily. Lilies have long been popular symbols of Easter, representing hope and love. White lilies, especially, take on a special symbolic meaning for Easter as they signify resurrection and purity.

Lilies aren’t the only symbol of Easter, however. Daisies, tulips, azaleas, chrysanthemums, daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips are also popular Easter flowers, as are a variety of green houseplants, bringing life to every room.

Speaking of Easter symbolism

Traditionally, Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ; and is the most important Christian holiday, but many people associate Easter with brightly colored eggs, strategically hidden from children by a small bunny. At first glance, that appears to have nothing to do with Christianity or the religious observance of the holiday, but they might not be so disconnected after all.

The term “Easter” gets its name from Eastre, which is the Anglo-Saxon goddess who symbolizes the hare and the egg. Where do eggs fit into Easter? The exchange or giving of Easter eggs actually dates back to before Easter, and the giving of eggs is actually considered a symbol of rebirth.

With that in mind, the symbolism isn’t as far apart as many people think.

Of course, one thing that kids of all ages can agree on is that Easter celebrations typically involve candy, and lots of it!

During the holiday, more than 90 million chocolate bunnies and 91.4 billion eggs are produced each year in the United States alone, making it the second biggest candy-consuming day of the year, behind Halloween.

Here are some more Easter fun facts:

  • The tallest chocolate Easter egg was made in Italy in 2011. It stood 34 feet tall and weighed over seven tons! It was heavier than an elephant and taller than a giraffe.
  • The art of painting eggs is called pysanka, which originated in Ukraine. It involves using wax and dyes to color the egg.
  • Americans buy more than 700 million marshmallow Peeps during Easter, making Peeps the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy.
  • Americans consume more than 16 million jelly beans each year during Easter, or enough jelly beans to circle the Earth three times.
  • Seventy-six percent of people eat the ears off the chocolate bunny first, 5 percent go for the feet and 4 percent for the tail.
  • Cadbury produces more than 1.5 million Creme Eggs each year.
  • In the old days, pretzels were associated with Easter because the twists of the pretzel were thought to resemble arms crossing in prayer.

Whether you choose fresh flowers or a lovely plant for your Easter celebration this year, Mancuso’s Florist is here to help you find the perfect gift for your loved ones. Check out our selection or let us know if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for – we’re here to help!