The long-lasting orchid, in myriad colours, is gaining ground on the traditional Easter lily.
SHOPPING AROUND | Since it was first introduced in North America in the early 1900s, the stick-straight Easter lily, with its scraggly leaves and showy flowers that look like trumpets growing sideways out of its stalk, has been a mainstay on Easter morn altars across this continent and a top hostess gift for Easter dinner. But now orchids of all types and sizes challenge Easter lilies for pride of place—on the home front, at least—because they have qualities lilies can’t match.
Easter Orchids VS Easter Lilies
Fragrance—Yes, lilies are among the most fragrant flowers on the planet, but they’re also one of the most allergy inducing. Many people I know (myself included) cannot be in the same room with this plant. While orchids can be fragrant, none of the common ones I know of have the potentially debilitating power of lilies. This year, I have noticed that some Easter lilies carry a lighter scent, but even that is too much for me.
Longevity—The average Easter lily blooms for three weeks and, yes, you can transplant it outdoors if the conditions are right, but most people never do it. An orchid can flower for three months or more.
Variety—All Easter lilies look pretty much the same. The potted orchids you see around town right now are mostly Phalaenopsis and Cymbidium, but they come in a million shades and colours, including the perennial Easter favourite: white.
Price—At $6.99 in plenty of grocery stores, Easter lilies are way cheaper than orchids (orchids can be as low as $10.99, though the average price is around $20 for a single stem 12 inches or taller), but when you factor in life expectancy, orchids come out on top. —C. Rule