How to Harvest Calla Lily Bulbs


Calla lilies are tender, perennial, summer-blooming bulbs that belong to the arum family. They are very sensitive to cold and hardy only in USDA zones 9 through 11. Calla bulbs can be dug, overwintered indoors and replanted in the late spring to be grown as annuals in cool climates beyond their natural range. The best time to harvest calla lily bulbs for spreading, moving or winter storage is in the early fall before the first frost.

Step 1

Excavate the soil very carefully from around the perimeter of the calla lily plant or bulb. Begin digging a perimeter trench at least 6 inches from the main stem of the plant. Dig a trench at least 8 inches deep to ensure that you can get under the bulb with your shovel or trowel, allowing a buffer of an inch or two of soil.

Step 2

Use a hand cultivator or soil fork to carefully loosen the roots from the soil. Lift and lever the bulb and root mass gently in several spots around the trench perimeter to loosen the roots. Removing a large amount of roots with the bulb will increase the success of transplanting.

Step 3

Lift the root mass and bulb from the loosened soil of the trench. Pull the calla lily bulb and the attached roots from the soil. Gently brush off any excess soil from the bulb, but do not rinse them. If you are going to transplant the bulb with the plant top attached, place it in moist, rich soil immediately so that it does not dry out. If harvesting the bulb for winter storage, cut off the the top foliage and store it in a dry, dark and cool place at approximately 60 degrees F.

Tips and Warnings

  • If the bulb gets nicked or stripped of a portion of its skin, it can be an invitation to disease that can be deadly to the bulb.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand trowel or small, full-length-handle shovel
  • Hand cultivating fork or soil fork
  • Gathering basket


  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Minnesota
Keywords: calla lily bulb tuber rhizome, dig harvest store, winterize storage

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.