How to Store Calla Lily Bulbs

A pink calla lily. image by William Wilhelm/sxc.hu

Overview

The trumpet-shaped flowers of the calla lily are a treasured sight in the garden. Often white, but ranging in color from pink to deep purple, calla lilies bloom in spring and summer from a thick, central stalk that emerges from lush green foliage. As a tropical flower, calla can't survive freezing temperatures, so digging up and storing the rhizomes (bulbs) is necessary if you want them to bloom in your garden again next year.

Step 1

Cut back flower stems after all buds have completed their blooming cycle, but allow the foliage to die back naturally in late summer to early autumn. Cut back the leaves to 3 inches once they have all died back.

Step 2

Loosen the soil around the bulb with your spade. Work out 4 to 6 inches from the stem of the plant to avoid damaging the bulb or roots. Lift it from the loosed soil.

Step 3

Brush of excess soil from the bulbs, then lay them out on newspaper in a dry room away from direct sunlight. Allow the bulbs to dry for two to three days.

Step 4

Examine the bulbs and discard any that are damaged or have soft spots, which indicate rot.

Step 5

Fill a box or bag with dry peat moss. Arrange the bulbs in the box so they aren't touching an store in a cool, dry place with a temperature of 55 degrees F until spring planting.

Step 6

Check the bulbs twice a month for signs of rot or disease. Discard any afflicted bulbs so that the healthy bulbs are not affected.

Tips and Warnings

  • Make sure there is air circulation around the bulbs to avoid rot. Don't place lids on boxes or seal non-perforated storage bags.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Newspaper
  • Box
  • Peat moss

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension
Keywords: calla lily bulbs, calla winter storage, storing rhizomes

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo by: William Wilhelm/sxc.hu