Calla Lilies

(Question)

Last spring I planted several calla lily bulbs in pots and had a lot of blooms. I wintered them over in soil in my basement. However, I think my basement is too warm and when I finally retreived the lilies from their hiding place in early spring they had leafed out considerably. They have not produced any flowers and are just a mass of tall leaves. I am not sure what to do with them now. Should I separate the bulbs and repot? Cut down the leaves to soil level? Throw them out?

 

(Answer)

With the bulbs in growth, at this point the best thing to do is carefully transplant them into a slightly larger pot, adding some new soil, fertilize with a low-nitrogen fertilizer (small first number) and put them outside. Start them off in a shady spot to prevent sun scorching the young leaves. They can be moved to a sunny position as they become hardened off.

Keep your callas consistently moist – they’re naturally marsh plants in their native South Africa – during the growing season. The leaves will feed the “bulb” (really a rhizome) for next year, and you will probably get flowers this year. It isn’t unusual for callas to wait a year before flowering.

In the fall, after the first frost, bring your container indoors, stop watering and allow the leaves to die. You can, as you’ve learned, leave them in their pot. Or you can remove your calla rhizomes, shake off any soil, and store them in loose peat or coir. Repot in spring.

Enjoy your callas!