The Easter Lily industry is an American success story. Prior to 1941, the majority of the Easter Lily bulbs were exported to the United States from Japan. World War II eliminated the dependence on Japanese-produced bulbs and commercial bulb production shifted to the U.S. The Japanese have never been able to regain any of their lost market share due to the superior quality of the U.S.-grown bulbs.
Today over 95% of all bulbs grown for the potted Easter Lily market are produced by just ten farms in a narrow coastal region straddling the California-Oregon border, from Smith River, California up to Brookings, Oregon.
The Easter Lily bulbs are harvested in the fall, packed and shipped to commercial greenhouses where they are planted in pots and forced under controlled conditions to bloom for the Easter holiday.
About 11.5 million Easter Lily bulbs were shipped to commercial greenhouses in the United States and Canada.
The cultivar most widely grown today for greenhouse potted Easter Lily production is called “Nellie White.” This selection was made by a lily grower named James White, and was named after his wife. The cultivar “Nellie White” has large, white trumpet shaped flowers.
The Easter Lily the fourth largest crop in wholesale value in the United Sates pot plant market, behind poinsettias, mums and azaleas. Of these four top crops, the Easter Lily has the narrowest holiday sales window, typically only 2 weeks. The poinsettia has a holiday sales window of approximately 6 weeks, and mums and azaleas are available year-round.
The states that produce the highest number of potted Easter Lilies, according to the U.S.D.A., are: 1. Michigan; 2. California; 3. Pennsylvania; and 4. Ohio.
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Source : Texas A&M AGrilife Extension