My Calla Trick

Yellow calla flower

This calla was potted last year and over wintered dry inside.

Two year old pale pink calla plants

Clump of orange callas two years old in ground

Orange calla flowers

Foliage of big white callas just finished blooming. These plants have been in ground 4 years.

Calla lily bloom from the big green foliage plants

When I say I have a trick, here it is. All over town now the bagged plants are being marked down in the big box stores and big home improvement stores. Some as much as 75%. That’s when I shop for callas. I purchased 6 tubers the other day. Make sure the tubers are firm and not mushy. Immediately plant them in a pot and water well. I usually plant mine about 1-1/2 to 2 inches deep in a good potting mix and keep the soil damp, not wet, until the tubers start emerging. Lay the tubers flat with the bud right side up. I lightly fertilize with liquid feed when the foliage unfolds. By mid-summer I will have flowers if allowed to grow in filtered shade. Once the blooms are finished I transplant them into the garden or allow them to grow in the pots until a freeze is predicted. Then I bring them in to dry, until the danger of frost has pasted next year. I then bring the dry pots out, water, and when they start growing, I liquid feed them about every 2 weeks until they flower. Now there is another way. This time of the year a friend of mine has had success by watching for the plants that have finished blooming at stores. He buys them at a reduced price and plants them in his garden. If the clump’s roots are matted you can divide, but I like big clusters. So if I did it this way, I would plant the whole plant, again, in high filtered shade and rich well drained soil. So the trick is simple. Buy on sale and enjoy them late.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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