Calla lilies are perennial plants that can thrive with low maintenance. But, can they survive winter?
Renowned for its trumpet-like blossoms, calla lilies are perfect flowering plants that can beautify your garden. However, without proper care you can expect this plant to bloom year after year.
You can leave calla lilies in pots over-winter indoors and wait for the plant to go in dormancy. But, gardening experts recommend digging its rhizome after foliage dries and save it in dry place to plant in spring.
If you’re living in hardy zones 8 or 9 or above, then you can leave calla lilies outdoors. To protect rhizomes and plant, you can add some mulch around the plant and reduce watering.
But, those who’re living in hardiness zone 7 or below must keep potted calla lilies indoors. Else, the plant can die.
Read on this write-up it will help you understand how to take care of your calla lily plant in this winter.
Do Calla Lilies Bloom All Year Round? – Know Your Plant
Not all calla lilies bloom at the same time, some bloom in early season, mid season and late season.
However, talking about one calla lily plant it won’t bloom year around. But, it can come back to flower next year without much work.
Though some gardeners toss when calla lily stops blooming, if taken proper care in winter the plant can bloom every year.
Remember: Calla lily plants under go dormant in winter season. You must store its rhizomes to grow back next year.
You can grow calla lilies in ground or in a container.
Light requirements of calla lily plant are low and you can grow them indoors with indirect sunlight.
You can plant calla lily plant outdoors in warm climates and dig the rhizomes to save it for next season.
As mentioned earlier, gardeners living in USDA zones 8 and above can leave calla lilies outside. They just need to cover the plant with mulch and stop watering calla lily in winter.
Gardeners in USDA zones 7 and below should shift rhizomes to dry place. So, for next season you can easily regrow the plant from these rhizomes.
I’ll share how to store rhizomes over winter later in this article. Stay tuned.
Also Read: Are Coffee Grounds Good for Calla Lilies?
Can You Leave Calla Lilies in Pots Over-Winter?
If grown in ground, you should dig and store it dry place. But, should you dig calla lily rhizomes if it’s indoors in a pot?
- You can just leave the potted calla lily plant indoors and stop watering it. Foliage turns yellow and rhizomes go dormant. After getting out of dormancy, it will regrow.
- But, gardening experts recommend digging rhizomes of potted calla lily plants over winter. Wrap them in paper and store in a dry place with 50F temperature.
This way, you can prepare fresh nutrient rich potting soil to regrow calla lily plants.
Because choosing wrong potting soil that doesn’t drain well can result in overwatering and yellow leaves.
How Do You Keep Calla Lilies Over the Winter?
Without proper care you can’t regrow calla lily plants. You just need to spare few minutes to know when to dig and if not dug how you can preserve rhizomes.
Calla lilies grow from rhizomes and its does well in different climatic conditions.
But, extreme cold or heat can stunt plant growth and kill it.
Depending on your climatic conditions, you must care this flowering plant.
In Warmer Climates (USDA zones 8 and higher)
Winter in these regions is not extreme and calla lily can survive. But, you must mulch on plant spot so rhizomes goes dormant.
Calla lily plant enters dormancy period in winter and they need to be stored to be used to regrow in spring.
Potted calla lilies must be shifted indoors, as a precautionary measure.
Either dug rhizomes and store or you can just leave them in the soil.
In Colder Climates (USDA zones 7 and lower)
When outdoors calla lily foliage is killed by frost, you must dig rhizomes and store them for next season.
As mentioned, potted calla lilies can be left indoors in warmth.
Note: Rhizomes can’t survive outdoor temperature when it drops to 25F. Dig before temperature hits this low and store them in warm.
How to store calla lily rhizomes (bulbs) over winter?
Storing is safe.
Though you’re in warmer climates or growing calla lily in pots, most gardening experts recommend digging rhizomes to store.
When to dig?
Allow the plant leaves to die by turning yellow, so that rhizomes absorb the nutrients.
- Cut the leaves and use hand shovel to get rhizomes undamaged.
- Dig rhizomes gently and brush off dirt to remove muddy wet mess.
- Avoid washing, as the moisture can result in rotting and you’re rhizomes fail to regrow calla lilies.
- Place them in a cardboard indoors, so that air circulation will dry off the remaining moisture.
- If not dried well, moisture or wetness can cause bulb to mold.
- Wrap them in a newspaper, when rhizomes are not too dry and not too wet.
- Place all wrapped rhizomes in a ziploc bag, but don’t close it.
Check out this video that shows how to dig and store calla lily plants.
Read on why leaves turn yellow:
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- Why Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow?
- How to Fix Yellow Leaves on Parlor Palm Plant?
Growth Stages of Calla Lily
In short: Sprouting, growing foliage (in 4-6 weeks), blooming (in 6-8 weeks from sprouting) and then dormancy.
- Rhizomes sprout in early spring and you must provide adequate light, water and nutrients for this plant to grow.
- Calla lily plant takes 4 to 6 weeks from planting to develop leaves.
- Blooming starts after 6 to 8 weeks from planting calla lily. Calla lilies have blooming period that last for 1-2 months.
- Every calla lily flower can last for 2 weeks.
- After blooming season, calla lily starts to grow rhizomes to absorb nutrients for winter survival.
- Foliage turns yellow and the plant enters dormant stage.
- After dormancy, if stored in saved from cold weather, rhizomes grow back in early spring.
To grow calla lily plant year after year, you must take care to store rhizomes. It can’t survive in temperature below 25F.
Do you cut back calla lilies for the winter?
Those gardeners living in warmer climates as listed above, can leave the rhizomes in ground or pot.
But, those growing outdoors in colder regions must dig to preserve rhizomes.
After the frost kills your plant, cut stems to 2 inches tall from ground.
Use hand shovel to dig rhizomes and wrap them in a paper.
When to cut calla lily plant in winter?
If the leaves are green, allow them to grow. Once plant stops growing and you see the foliage is turning yellow. It’s time to cut.
In some cases, if night temperature is below 25F then cut and dig rhizomes.
Do indoor calla lilies go dormant?
Though calla lilies are called perennials they undergo dormancy after one blooming period.
After dormancy, stored rhizomes grow back in spring and within 6 weeks you see flower buds appear from newly grown calla lily plant.
Note: Reduce watering your indoor calla lily plants, when it is about to enter dormancy.
Also Read: Are Eggshells Good for Hydrangeas?
When your potted calla lily plant leaves turn yellow and then brown, understand that it is about to enter dormancy. You must stop watering and leave calla lily rhizomes in the container.
Else, you can dig rhizomes after cutting calla lily plant and brush up the dirt gently.
Remember: Moisture results in mold growth. Allow rhizomes to dry before wrapping it in newspaper.
Too dry and too wet isn’t good for rhizomes.
Will you leave your calla lilies in pots over winter? I recommend digging and bring them in dry warm place.
Khaja Moinuddin, a computer science graduate, finds joy in gardening and homesteading. Join him on this blog as he shares his experiences in homesteading, gardening, and composting