Transplanting Calla Lilies: How To Transplant Calla Lilies Outside

Transplanting Calla Lilies: How To Transplant Calla Lilies Outside

By: Jackie Carroll

With their handsome, tropical foliage and dramatic flowers, calla lilies add a hint of mystery and elegance to the garden. This article tells you how to transplant calla lilies outside or into pots for indoor or outdoor culture.

Transplanting Calla Lilies

The best time to transplant calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) is in the spring after all danger of frost has passed and the soil is beginning to warm. Choose a location with organically rich soil that holds moisture well. Callas grow well in low, moist areas where most other rhizomes would suffer from root rot. The plants tolerate full sun in areas with mild summer, but where summers are hot they need morning sun and afternoon shade.

How to Transplant Calla Lilies Outside

Before transplanting calla lilies, prepare the soil by loosening it with a shovel. Work in some compost to enrich the soil and help it hold moisture. Plant the rhizomes 3 to 4 inches (7.5-10 cm.) deep and transplant potted calla lilies into a hole dug to fit the depth of the pot. Space the plants 12 to 18 inches (30.5-46 cm.) apart. Callas need lots of moisture, so water deeply after planting, and spread at least 2 inches (5.0 cm.) of mulch around the plants to prevent moisture from evaporating.

When moving calla lily plants, prepare the new bed and dig holes for the plants before lifting them from the old location so you can get them in the ground as quickly as possible. Slide a spade under the plants at a depth of 4 to 5 inches (10-13 cm.) to avoid damaging the rhizomes. Place them in the holes so that the soil line is even with the surrounding soil.

Calla lilies are ideal for landscaping garden ponds, where they thrive in water up to 12 inches (30.5 cm.) deep. Place the plant or rhizome in a basket and plant it so that the rhizome is about 4 inches (10 cm.) deep. Calla lilies are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 10. In cooler zones, the rhizomes must be treated as annuals or dug up in the fall and stored over the winter in a frost-free area. When planted in water, the rhizomes can remain outdoors as long as the water doesn’t freeze at the planting depth.

You can also transplant your callas into pots and grow them as houseplants. Choose a roomy pot that is at least 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) deep and leave 1/2 to 1 inch (1-2.5 cm.) of space between the top of the soil and the top of the pot to make it easy to water the plant generously. Use a potting soil rich in peat or organic matter that holds moisture. Transplanting potted calla lilies back to the garden in spring is a snap.

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Calla lilies (Zantedeschia spp.) grow in moist soil and can even tolerate soggy conditions around the margins of backyard ponds. These perennial plants produce impressive single-petal blooms in white, pink or yellow during the summer months. They grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10. Calla grows from a tuberous root called a rhizome. You can dig these roots up and divide the plants or transplant them to a new bed at any time of year, although mid- to late summer is the best transplanting time.

Loosen the soil around the perimeter of the calla root with a trowel, taking care not to break the yellow buds from the rhizome. Slide the trowel beneath the rhizome and lift it out of the soil.

Rinse the soil off the rhizomes. Examine the rhizomes, and divide them if they are stacked in layers on top of each other. Cut apart and separate the layers into individual sections. Dispose of any rhizome sections that don't have yellow buds.

Spread 2 inches of compost over a well-drained but moist garden bed that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily. Dig the compost into the top 8 inches of soil.

Plant each rhizome with the top, where the buds are located, 3 to 4 inches deep in the new bed. Space the rhizomes 12 to 18 inches apart in all directions.

Water the transplanted callas thoroughly so the top 6 inches of soil are completely moistened. Spread 2 inches of mulch over the soil surface to help conserve soil moisture.


Transplanting Calla Lilies

I have 1 Calla Lilly that is in a large planter. It was given to me from a friend moving away. It sits on my back porch railing and is only getting morning sun (under open porch). In this hot South Ga. weather I water every day and use Miracle Gro Fertilizer every 7 days. My plant is I guess 2 feet tall and round. It has had the white blooms for 3 weeks now. When the blooms turn brown, I'll remove them and have seeds. This is all I have to offer now. Maybe you should consider Lg. container grown. (06/16/2006)

Transplanting Potted Lilies to the Garden - enjoy them for years to come -

Potted lilies have become increasingly popular for celebrating spring holidays. But these days the traditional white Easter lilies have had to make room for a beautiful array of pink, orange, yellow, rose and red-toned varieties that have come onto the scene. Whether bought for decoration or to give as a gift, lilies long-lasting beauty and fragrance are especially appreciated in the early months of spring when everyone is ready to close the door on winter. Whatever type of potted lily you bring home, or receive as a gift, you’re sure to fall in love with its showy blossoms and lush foliage.

It's for that reason that many home gardeners want to find a way to transplant their potted lilies outside once the blooms have faded. And there's no reason you shouldn't. Most lilies - if the transition to life in the garden is handled with care - will thrive and produce many more seasons of beautiful flowers outdoors.

The first thing to remember when transplanting your potted lily, is that the greenhouses that produced it forced the blooms to come early. Most outdoor lilies will blossom in the summer, the Asiatic varieties in early summer and the Oriental varieties after the Asiatic types have faded. Planting both types of lilies in the same area is a great strategy for enjoying a continuous display over a longer period. You should not expect your potted lily to flower again the summer you replant it in the garden. In fact, it may take a couple of years before it grows strong enough to flower outside. But be patient and you will be rewarded in time.

Enjoy your potted lily indoors until all danger of frost has passed. Keep it in a cool place with partial sun, snipping off the flowers once they fade. A week or so before you are ready to put the lily in the garden, start letting it sit outside for longer periods each day. This is called "hardening off," a necessary step for plants that have lived their entire lives in the warmth of greenhouses and living rooms.

When you're ready to plant, find a sunny location and follow these steps:

  1. The soil in the flower bed should be rich with organic compost. Add compost if needed.
  2. Plant the lily to the depth it was in its pot, and add a layer of mulch to keep the soil cool. Soon the original stem and leaves will start to brown--don't panic. Prune the plant to where it is still a healthy green.
  3. New growth (but no flowers) will emerge through the summer. When that yellows and wilts in the fall, trim the plant back to the ground and cover with a few inches of mulch for the winter.
  4. When the weather warms the next spring, push back the mulch to let the lily grow, applying a balanced fertilizer once a month until the summer blooms begin.

Planting your potted lily plants into the garden is sure to bring you joy for years to come. Butterflies and other beneficial pollinators that are attracted to lilies will thank you for it too!

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Lilies are beautiful and long-lasting in a vase. Cut flowers only from mature, well-established plants.

Pro Tip – If you are sensitive to pollen you can remove the pollen-producing anthers from the flowers. Using a tissue, pluck the anthers off and dispose of them. Take care not to get the pollen on fabrics it can leave a yellow stain.

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