The Q&A Archives: Freesia and Calla Lilies in MN

Question: I recently bought some freesia and calla lily bulbs from a local garden center. I had both of these flowers in my wedding bouquet and want them in my garden! (Sentimental, huh?). However, I didn't get all the information I should have and am now wondering whether these will ever bloom here in Minnesota (zone 3-4). I have a garden on the south side of my house that gets lots of sun every day. I have another on the east side that gets 4 to 5 hours of sun each day. Would either of these work? Should Istart them indoors now or plant them outside? When will they bloom? Do I need to lift them in the fall?

Answer: It's a sweet thought to grow the flowers from your bouquet, since your relationship continues to grow! Don't take this as a bad omen, but these South African natives are hardy only to zone 8. Callas can be planted like glads and lifted in the fall for replanting in spring. They require partial shade, rich, humusy soil and ample moisture. Regular feeding with a mild fertilizer ensures lots of bloom. Plant them 4" deep and about 1-2' apart. Dig the rhizomes in fall before frost, allow them to dry off a bit, and store them in dry peat moss at about 50F. <br><br>Freesia is best forced in pots in fall in northern climes. Place up to 6 corms to a 5" pot with the tips of the corms just peeking from the soil. Store the pot at 40F for a month,then place them in a bright, sunny place that remains cool (50F) at night. Water them well when they begin to grow, and should bloom about 12 weeks from planting. After bloom, cease to water them, and store them as you do the calla rhizomes. Enjoy!

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