Easter lily popularity as a greenhouse crop has declined over the years, but there are still thousands of Easter lilies produced in greenhouses each spring. Easter lilies are not an easy crop, and a grower must be very regimented in their production approach so that they will be heavily budded or flowering by the ship date.
Most growers today purchase case-cooled bulbs from their suppliers to ease their workload. When you purchase a case cooled product you assume that the bulbs have been treated appropriately and that the crop will flower successfully and on time. In order to ensure that Easter lilies flower on time, growers often use “insurance“ lighting to guarantee that the vernalization needs of the crop have been met. When Easter lily bulbs have not received at least six weeks or 1000 hours of cooling the forcing time or days to flower can increase significantly. Most growers use a forcing schedule of about 110 days with bulbs that have been case-cooled for six weeks. If inadequate case cooling has occurred and no insurance lighting has been utilized, it may take up to 86 additional days for Easter lilies to flower which pushes their bloom time well-past the anticipated Easter shipping date.
Easter lilies are susceptible to a few pest and disease issues, but the most serious issue observed in many greenhouses is Lily basal rot which is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lilii.
The fungus that causes basal rot of lily bulbs is long-lived and can survive outdoors in production fields for many years. Lily bulbs grown in fields with a history of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lilii can become infected and may inadvertently spread the pathogen to adjacent uninfected lily bulbs when bulbs are in close proximity to each other (like in case cooling).
Read the complete article at www.e-gro.org.