Can I Plant My Easter Plants Outside?

Can I Plant My Easter Plants Outside?

After the Easter holiday we typically get phone calls from customers who want to plant their gift plants outdoors. “Can I plant my greenhouse hydrangea outside?” they ask, or “Will the azalea that I got for a present be hardy?” If you live on Cape Cod, the answer is “Yes, those plants should be fine when growing outside.” We go on to explain, however, that it’s best not to put them out too early, however. These plants have been accelerated into bloom in heated greenhouses, so if you put them out into the cold, Cape Cod spring weather they will be damaged at best, and killed at worst. So keep them in a bright window indoors at least until mid-May.

Sometimes people have trouble keeping a hydrangea going in the house because they dry up so quickly. You might leave for work in the morning and the plant looks fine, but when you get home in the evening it’s a wilted mess! Hydrangeas will droop rapidly because their leaves and flowers are so large that they lose a great deal of moisture through all these surfaces. Additionally, a greenhouse grown plant is usually pretty root bound so there isn’t much space left in the pot for water! If you’re interested in planting a hydrangea outside it’s a good idea to put it in a larger pot right away. This not only gives the roots room to stretch out before the plant is put outdoors, but it also provides more soil to soak up moisture, so your plant doesn’t dry out as quickly.

Azaleas are easier to keep alive until they can go out in May, but putting them in a slightly larger pot gives them a head start in root development as well. If an azalea starts to put on new foliage growth in the house, wait until those new shoots are at least three inches long and then pinch the very tips off. This will help the plant to branch out and stay dense. This pinching of new growth is beneficial once the plants are growing outside as well.

Your Easter gift shrub is very small, but most of them will grow at least 5′ tall and 6′ wide so place them accordingly! Noting is more discouraging than to have a plant do well and grow vigorously in the wrong location where it covers windows, crowds neighboring plants or hangs over a walkway. Plan for your plant to thrive and get big.

These Easter plants should be perfectly hardy in Cape Cod gardens. If you live in other parts of the country, however, you'll want to call your local garden center to see if these plants are hardy in your climate.

These Easter plants should be perfectly hardy in Cape Cod gardens. If you live in other parts of the country, however, you’ll want to call your local garden center to see if these plants are hardy in your climate.

Easter lilies can also be planted in the garden, although sometimes they are short-lived. To have an Easter lily live, amend the soil well with compost and an organic fertilizer, and plant the bulb at least 6″ below the surface of the soil. Plant lilies outside in mid-May on Cape Cod.

Water all newly planted shrubs or lilies deeply once a week in cool weather – hydrangeas may need watering twice a week in hot weather. Mulching around any new plant helps keep the soil evenly moist while the roots are getting established.


  1. V.Puleo on April 16, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Very informative article…I should have know that…..

  2. Poppy Hammond on March 31, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    I got the information I was looking for but just wanted to say hello and how nice that this page came up.
    I now live in eastern VA but grew up in Chatham and lived in Hyannis. Wish i could visit in person.
    Happy Easter!

    • CLFornari on March 31, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      How nice to hear from you, Poppy! We are pleased that you got the info you were looking for, and we’re always happy to hear from former Cape people. If you are ever here for the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival (or at any other time, of course) stop by the store and say “Hi.”

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