Calla Lily Care In Winter - Caring For Calla Lilies Over Winter

White Calla Lilies
(Image credit: kinpouge05)

Calla lilies have long been loved for their elegance and simple beauty. These beautiful flowers are an asset to any garden, but if you would like to see calla lilies year after year in your garden, you need to take a few extra steps for calla lily winter care. Winter care for calla lily plants is not difficult. Keep reading to learn if and when to dig up calla lilies and how to care for calla lilies over winter.

Calla Lily Winter Care in Warm Climates

Calla lilies are not cold hardy. This means that calla lily winter care in some gardens will be different from other gardens. If you live in USDA plant hardiness zone 8 or higher, your calla lilies can survive the winter outdoors in the ground and do not need to be dug up. Winter care for calla lily plants in the ground in warm climates is simply to mulch the spot where the calla lilies grow in the winter and stop watering the spot for the winter. This will allow the plant to go dormant and rejuvenate itself. If you find that you are in a much warmer climate and your calla lilies are not performing well, you may want to follow the directions below for storing calla lily rhizome for winter. It may be that your calla lilies are not getting enough dormancy and storing them will provide that for them.

Winter Care for Calla Lily Plants in Colder Climates

If you live in zones 7 or lower, calla lilies will not survive the winter cold, so your winter care for calla lily plants will be different than for warm climates. Your calla lily care in winter will consist of digging the rhizome of the plants. Note that in some areas, like zone 7, callas may be left in ground with added protection over winter and still come back. That said, you may want to play it safe and dig them up. The best time when to dig calla lilies is right after the frost has killed the foliage. This will ensure that your calla lilies have stored all the nutrients they can to survive the winter. The next step in winter care for calla lily plants is after you dig them up, gently brush off any remaining dirt. Do not wash the calla lily rhizomes off as this can cause the rhizomes to rot later on. Cut off the foliage from the top of the rhizomes, leaving about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm.) of the dead leaves. After this, leave the rhizomes to dry in a warm, dry place to dry for four to seven days. This is important to calla lily care in winter because it allows the outer skin of the rhizome to toughen up and will help it survive the winter. This is called curing. After the calla lily rhizomes have dried, place them in a paper bag or wrap them in newspaper. Store them in a cool, dry place, somewhere that stays around 50 F. (10 C.). Proper calla lily winter care is essential to having these lovely flowers in your garden year after year.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.