Growing Calla Lilies Outdoors

People love Calla Lilies and I understand their shape and colors make them a beautiful choice for summer color. Calla Lilies aren’t overly complicated but in order to grow them in colder climates like here in New York they will require a little love and attention.

PLANTING CALLA LILIES OUTDOORS

In the spring when the danger of the last frost has passed find find a place of full to partial shade to grow you callas. Out West and down South you will want to choose areas with partial light so that the calla lilies don’t dry out as quickly.

CALLA LILY SOIL PREPARATION

Calla lilies need nutrient rich and most soils, so the first step will be to till the soil and amend it with organic mulch or mushroom compost. If the area in your garden where you intend to plant the calla is overly sandy or rocky you will want to make sure to add more organic material.

PLACING CALLA LILY TUBERS

Calla lily tubers should be place 3 to 4 inches down in the ground and 12 inches apart. When you place the tubers in the ground be sure to place them in horizontally, with the growth points facing up.

You can start Calla Lily tubers indoors several weeks before the last frost. In 12 inch pots you can place 12 tubers and once the last frost has passed you can simply dig the pots into the garden and let them grow all year.

CARING FOR CALLA LILIES DURING THE GROWING SEASON

Calla Lilies are a tropical plants and are used to moist soils, in order to keep yours happy you will need to make sure that the soil around your calla lilies doesn’t dry out. To make sure that the callas have all the nutrients they need watering them with with a water-soluble general plant fertilizer (like this one). When the flowers begin to form you may want to increase the amount of fertilizer you apply, this is the time when the plants are most in need of nutrients.

WINTERING CALLA LILY TUBERS

After the flowers have passed you will want to stop fertilizing the plant so that the tubers will enter a dormancy period. Depending on your U.S. Hardiness Zone you may be able to overwinter them outdoors. Calla Lily tubers are hardy up to zone 9, but zone 8 can keep them outdoors if they are covered in a layer of mulch throughout the winter. I’ve even heard of them being overwintered in zone 7 given enough mulch. Here in New York I pull the bulbs before the first frost every fall.

After you dig up the bulbs prune back the growth to within a half inch from the tuber and place them in sand or a dry peat moss. During the winter try and store them in an area that will stay between 60 and 75 degrees. If you are growing your Calla Lilies in containers all year long you can simply unearth the pots and bring them indoors for storage. Make sure to keep the pots completely dry during the winter until you are ready to start growing them again in the spring.

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