Ask a Question forum: Lifting Calla Lilies and Canna

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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Sep 8, 2013 5:36 PM CST
I have three Calla lilies I planted in containers this year. In my zone they have to be taken in. When do I do that?

And how should I store them?

And same for my Canna. When do I dig them up and bring them in?

I know with my dahlias I wait until a few days after first frost.

Thanks all.

Name: Lee Anne Stark
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threegardeners
Sep 8, 2013 5:41 PM CST
Same with the Canna...treat them just as you would the Dahlias.

As for the Calla Lilies I always bring them inside, a couple weeks before you turn the heat on, and let them grow as house plants.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Sep 8, 2013 5:43 PM CST
Jen, this is what I found for callas.

http://www.ehow.com/how_7473322_store-lily-bulbs-over-winter...

And this for cannas:

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/HO-085.pdf

So it looks like you lift callas before frost and canna after the tops are killed by frost. Hope this helps!
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Sep 8, 2013 6:23 PM CST

Plants Admin

Hi Jenn, I bring both Canna and Calla in after first frost. Calla first. I generally allow both to go dormant.

Calla I store in boxes in the basement. Dry with air circulation space (or in perlite or vermiculite). Dry and cool. Lift, cut foliage (see below), trim roots if you wish, allow to dry then store. If potted you can store the whole pot, cool and dry, until planting time.
Canna I've stored in slightly damp peat. Also slightly damp potting soil. Some I stored dry didn't make it.

One thing, when removing foliage from Calla cut a minimum of 2" up from tuber so as not to damage "crown".
Evan
[Last edited by eclayne - Sep 8, 2013 6:28 PM (+)]
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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Sep 9, 2013 10:11 AM CST
Thank you all for the info!

I think I will leave the Callas in the pots and just put them in the garage. My basement/crawl space is too moist. But sorry, no house plant callas for me.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Sep 9, 2013 1:16 PM CST
??

Evan says Calla can be stored dry and cool, but in one link, eHow said to dry Calla lily bulbs for three weeks, indoors, warm, and then store them in slightly moist peat moss at 35-45 F.
(http://www.ehow.com/how_7473322_store-lily-bulbs-over-winter...)

I dunno, if eHow calls rhizomes "bulbs", can they be trusted to get the information right? Evan, would you say they are overly cautious, or just wrong? (I'm just curious, because I don't have any space that would be "cool" - I keep my small place 55-65 during the winter, and it would be very dry. )

I HOPE I can overwinter them OUTdoors, if I put them in a raised bed and keep the fall/winter/spring rain mostly off the bed. In fact, if I put a low hoop tunnel over that bed, I could probably keep the whole bed above freezing.)

Like this OTHER eHow link suggests:

http://www.ehow.com/how_7658923_grow-care-calla-lilies.html

- "However, they will survive outdoors in the garden in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 through 10 with proper care. Calla lilies grow from thick, fleshy rhizomes,"
...
- " Reduce watering to once every two weeks in fall and winter, to allow the plant to rest."
" Cease feeding in fall and reduce watering to once every two weeks."
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Sep 9, 2013 2:23 PM CST

Plants Admin

Cool and dry works for me Rick. 55-65F. Some hybrids like 'Picasso', Z. rehmannii (lance leaved pinks) and Z. elliottiana hybrids (yellows) I have tend to sprout "early". These I store on my basement steps where it's cooler. Definitely a tripping hazard but it's the coolest spot I have. Some sprout so early they're difficult to plant out without damaging the new growth. The new growth also seems to be more subject to cold damage once planted which inhibits or distorts bloom. Note that between lifting and planting is +-6 months here.

Rhizomes vs. tubers Shrug! FYI The Kew WCSPF lists them as rhizomes mostly, other sites as tubers.
As to moist vs. dry - I don't know. I've never done moist and dry works even for my extended storage time.

When or whether to lift looks to be a bit complicated. Basically these are dry season dormant plants where they naturally occur, southern Africa. Cold hardiness is only part of the equation. In Florida for instance, well within the cold hardiness limits of all Zantedeschia, this article notes only the evergreen Z. aethiopica are reliably perennial. I'd surely enjoy hearing how hardy folks find Callas in various climates.

As I've been way less diligent about lifting my Callas in the fall lately, I find more tubers overwintering. The plants generally aren't robust and have few if any flowers. Those planted where I heavily mulch Musa basjoo do best.

Evan
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Sep 9, 2013 4:49 PM CST
I would sure try it your way first, if overwintering with mulch and plastic film doesn't work for me. The idea of preserving something "wet" sounds to me like encouraging rot.

Leaving them in the ground would be my first choice! Since my usual winter low is only 15-20F, and dialy highs might be I think that a little cover ought to suffice. You go down to -5 to -10, right?

The fact that you get good results at 55-65 F might make taking them inside practical for me, as long as I keep them out of the sunny front room. The shady rooms should stay that cool, and it gives me a reason to keep the night time temps "not below 55" instead of "not below 50".

Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Sep 9, 2013 5:25 PM CST

Plants Admin

Rick I notice you're Koppen Zone is Mediterranean. Winters on the dry side? With mulch and plastic sounds like a plan. Like many Aroids I've observed it's the cold/wet combination that creates problems. In especially cool/wet autumn seasons I'll find some rotting tubers when I lift them. This is also the wisdom passed down to me from my folks, from whom many of my Calla were inherited.

My guess is cool storage is simply to prolong dormancy. What are you talking as a time frame, 2-3 months dormant? All but Z. aethiopica need a dormant period in order to bloom, (as far as I've read).

We regularly get below 0F. I'm going to try some A. konjac with mulch and plastic this winter.
Evan
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Sep 9, 2013 5:54 PM CST
>> Koppen Zone is Mediterranean. Winters on the dry side?

No, summers are quite dry and mild, right where I live. Sunny and dry, unlike all the rest of the year.

Winters are rainy and it gets above freezing rather often. Fall and spring are also rainy, meaning many drizzly days and almost always overcast. Frequent, light, short rain is more common than heavy rain or all-day-rain. I guess we don't have all that many INCHES of rain per year, but we do have 8 months when the sun is a rare sight.

>> Like many Aroids I've observed it's the cold/wet combination that creates problems.

Cold and wet, I've got lots of. That's why I'm thinking of putting a plastic hoop or lean-to over the bed - to shed rain to one side so the bed won't be cold and soggy for 8 months.

I would worry about over-heating on sunny days, if we had many! But I'll probably leave a flap open and only close it for cold spells.

Now watch! This will be a winter with weeks at a time below freezing, and inches of snow!




Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Sep 9, 2013 6:08 PM CST
Rick, did you just jinx us?
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
Sep 12, 2013 8:13 AM CST
What do cannas do in the deep south? Do they keep growing and blooming all winter? If so, could I bring a potted canna into the basement, in my daylight window, and keep them growing all winter? The window stays over 55 and gets good light, and water if I think of it. (A daylight window is basically a concrete greenhouse with windows only on the top. Mine sticks out of the ground 2 ft, so there is good sunlight on the sides on that top part. It's 10' deep, with 8' underground, hope that makes sense)
Cannas will overwinter outside here most winters. Last winter a forgotten group even survived in a pot. Now that Rick has jinxed us, I guess I'll be carrying those pots down to the basement. Or is it better to bare root them for storage, or can I keep growing them? Blinking Confused
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Name: Peggy
Youngstown, Ohio (Zone 6a)
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pgurney
Sep 12, 2013 5:24 PM CST
I plan to leave my Calla lilies in the pot and store the pot in the basement, then put them in a bigger pot in the spring, if they're still alive.

I have never dug up my Dahlias, and they keep coming up every spring.

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