Not everyone can handle the pungent perfume of the traditional Easter Lily, but don’t swear off springtime flowers for your congregation or annual Easter egg hunt without an opportunity to explore some lovely Easter lily alternatives that many florist have on offer this time of year. While the long, white, pendulous blooms of the Lilium longiflorum may still outnumber any other flowers on hand, they will definitely be outshone by some of these amazing alternatives.
Every spring the miracle of resurrection can be witnessed in the first few flowers of forsythia or the bursting buds of flowering crabapple trees. The elegance of arching branches with soft-petaled blooms arranged in a tall vase can’t be overstated. If you’re lucky, a pair of pruners and obliging neighbors is all you need, but many florist will also keep flowering branches in stock this time of year. Choose yellow forsythia or pink cherry blossoms to add height and a natural look to a vestibule or dining table. Usually several of the same branches in various sizes look better than a mix of different ones.
Harbingers of spring, hyacinths are bulbs that are at their best right around Easter. With straight, upright leaves and a central flower stalk covered in bell-shaped blooms, these pastel-colored charmers add a bit of the season to any tabletop or alter. They have a strong scent, but many people prefer their sweet spicy smell over the powdery, pollen-rich odor of the Easter lily. Many florists have several of these short but stunning flowers potted together in a bowl or pretty container available in pink, white or purple blooms.
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This white-flowering vine has a subtle scent that whispers spring rather than shouts its arrival. Usually sold as a small potted plant, the jasmine comes in a wide variety of cultivars, some of which can be grown outside in warmer climates. Many jasmine vines are grown in a pot and trellised into shapes with wire, making them a whimsical choice for this holiday.
For a pretty pot of flowers without much of a scent, try gloxinias. The enormous bell-shaped blooms come in pink, purple or white and simply cover the entire plant. Unlike the Easter Lily that tends to fade after blooming, the gloxinia is easy to get to bloom again. Simply withold water after the flowers are finished, which causes it to go dormant. After a few weeks new growth will form and you can continue to water it with your other houseplants.
Don’t let the elegant French name fool you, these gorgeous but lesser-known blooms are native to the tropics in America. Tall, straight stems are topped with a starburst of pink, red or white and have a soft, clean fragrance that won’t overpower a room. Usually sold as a cut flower, these blooms have dark green foliage and are often only available around Easter time, so enjoy them with a handful of jellybeans and Peeps.