Calla lilies are a beautiful, popular late spring bloomer and they are wonderful cut flowers. If you are a horror film fan, you often see these decorating the vampire’s casket.
Calla lilies aren’t really lilies at all; they are actually from the species Zantedeschia. They hale from South Africa and are rated as a zone 9 plant, so that’s why they are grown in pots and their bulbs are lifted at the 1st frost, stored over winter for their required dormancy period and then replanted.
Here are a few tips for planting Zantedeschia:
- Callas can be planted in pots (most common) or out in a garden in full sun – so an east or south exposure with some afternoon shade would be best.
- Before planting, plan ahead by familiarizing yourself with their growing habit, double check their mature height which varies by variety (usually 12-18”). Match your pots to their height accordingly so the pot can support it adequately. Also know that each bulb can produce 10-20 flowers.
- Plant callas in loose, porous soil with good drainage. Good drainage is important so the bulbs are not soggy.
- Plant the bulbs so that they are 1.5 – 2” below the soil. Give it a light watering; keep the soil moist but not damp. Let it dry slightly between watering.
- If the soil is continually kept too wet the bulbs will rot – we have killed more things at our greenhouse from overwatering than under watering…
- They should be up and growing in 3 to 4 weeks
- Fertilize when actively growing & blooming; about every 3 weeks, but stop fertilizing when they are done blooming.
- Let the leaves die back naturally after they have ceased blooming, don’t cut the leaves back – the plants are building up their bulbs and storing nutrients at this time.
- Zantedeschia require a dormant period before they can rebloom, so:
- dig up rhizomes in autumn after first frost to let them rest before the next bloom cycle.
- Let bulbs air dry, store in dry peat moss, keep in cool (50-60s F), dark, dry area
- Or; keep bulbs in the actual containers they grew in, keep the containers dry over winter. A great time to bring them out of the dark and start them with a little watering is in March
- A container idea: Plant in a container with other plants that will continue to bloom after the Zantedeschia have finished blooming, just make sure they require the same conditions
Sources: www.gardeningknowhow.com, www.easytogrowbulbs.com, www.blackthumbgardener.com, www.gardendesign.com, www.theflowerexpert.com, www.thegardenhelper.com, www.flowermeaning.com, www.pacificcallas.com, www.growingwisdom