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Growing-Calla-Lilies-THUMB.jpg

Growing Calla Lilies

I have grown very tall red calla lilies in the garden. Can they stay in the ground over the winter? If so, what care do I provide? And lastly is calla pronounced like Kay or Cal? 

Let’s start with the easy one first.  It is usually pronounced cal not kay la but that can vary, just like common words, across the country.  Now let’s discuss winter care.  Calla lilies are hardy in zones 9 and 10.  Some gardeners have reported plants surviving in colder regions when planted in mud below the freeze line of the water.  I have tried overwintering mine outdoors in a protected zone 5 with no success.  Bring actively growing plants indoors before the fall frost and grow them like a houseplant for winter.  Or dig and store the rhizomes (underground swollen structure) in a cool dark space.  Lift the rhizomes after a light freeze. Remove the soil and foliage and allow the rhizome to dry (cure) for a couple of days.  Pack in peat moss and store the rhizomes in a cool dark location for the winter.  Get a jump start on the growing season by planting the rhizomes indoors in mid March.  Gradually introduce the plants to the garden after the danger of frost has passed.  Northern gardeners that don’t get the plants dug in time should not worry.  Just call it an experiment and try a new variety next season.

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