The Q&A Archives: Forcing Calla Lily Bulbs?

Question: I know that calla lilies are grown from bulbs. Can they be forced indoors? If so, what is the procedure and how long does it take to get flowers?

Answer: Your calla will not survive outdoors over the winter, so many northern area gardeners keep them as potted plants. They can be set outside for the summer, or can even be planted in the ground in a shady location for the summer, but need to be brought inside before frost. Callas also take "a rest" after blooming, and need that rest in order to bloom again. It is a good idea to repot into fresh soil each year (usually after the dormant period), because callas like a good rich mix. Here are some general pointers on callas.

Calla lillies (Zantedeschia) are originally from South
Africa and do not tolerate cold winter weather. They also
need a dry dormant period every year. As a potted plant,
the rhizomes are usually started into growth during the fall to
force blooms during the winter. They may also be planted in spring for summer bloom. During their growth period
they prefer cool household temperatures, rich soil and ample
moisture. After blooming, when the leaves begin to yellow,
the plants should be rested by gradually reducing water,
allowing them to dry out.

In the garden, they prefer shade and a rich, moist soil. You
must be lift them each fall before the first frost, and store
them dry over the winter. Replant them in the spring after all
danger of frost has passed. They do well as container plants
outdoors, too, as long as you allow them an annual resting period.

They should bloom the first year and each year thereafter.

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