Growing Calla Lilies

Hi Lovelies,

This little lavender calla lily is too cute. Also, gladiolus, liatris, zinnia, agrostemma,and phlox.

So here we are on day 22, and I’m still behind in the vast majority of things that I need to get finished. I’ve still got to transplant over half of the anemones and ranunculus, I still have a bag of tulips to go into the ground, I still have hundreds of daffodils to plant, and there are dahlia bulbs to be pulled out of the ground. However, there was one task that I was able to accomplish today, and that was digging calla lily bulbs.

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I like wrapping the flexible stems around the inside of glass containers. They’re also extra gorgeous in a mixed bouquet.
Calla lilies bloom early for me, around the time that hardy annuals are coming into bloom.

Let me start by saying, I’m insanely in love with callas – I’m not even sure why, I just am. There are several types out there to grow. Mine are mostly “mini”. I tend to stay away from most white varieties (even though they’re my favorite) for the reason that they don’t like my summer heat and that their prime bloom time occurs at the peak of Japanese beetle infestation. I’ve been working on a way to fight this for the past three years!

Asiatic lilies are also in bloom around the same time.

As with most other bulbs, these were fairly easy to grow. As a total beginner, I was even able to be successful, back in the day. The thing about calla lilies is that they are generally expensive. The bulbs cost a decent amount of money, and cut flowers from the florist can be pricey. The good news is that bulbs mature and produce more quite quickly. Depending upon the climate, they may also take up more space than they’re worth. Since my weather heats up so quickly, my bloom season for callas is very short – not to mention, they are very unhappy when they don’t get afternoon shade and are allowed to dry out. But seriously, enough trash talk – they’re gorgeous.

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I plant callas after the last frost, when the soil has warmed – according to the package, of course. Depending on the site, I found that they’re hardy to zone 8 or 9. That means I have to dig them up here in zone 6b. Eventually, I’m going to try different methods to leave them in the ground (because you know, laziness).

The blue basket in the middle are saved calla lily bulbs from last year. In the next photo, you’ll see just how much my supply has grown. They’ve sprouted over winter, and are definitely ready to go in the dirt.

They grow all summer until the frost arrives, and then the leaves brown. At this point, I dig the bulbs. Are they bulbs? Or are they tubers? I’m actually not completely sure, so I won’t get stuck on the technicality of it all. But, once they’ve had a week or so to dry in a cool place, I tuck them into my basement in a basket that’s been wrapped in newspaper. They sit there in a dark corner until spring rolls around again. Most time, they’ll begin growing again around the end of February, however, I’ve never had an issue with “making them wait” until early May.

The same bulbs after being dug this fall. They’re plump and need to be dried before tucking them away. All parts of calla lilies are poisonous, so I always take proper care!

Have you grown calla lilies? What are you favorite types?

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