I am trying to grow cal... #261845 - Ask Extension


I am trying to grow cal... #261845

Asked July 14, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT

I am trying to grow calla lilies for my son's wedding. It will be on Sept.6. Right now my lilies are about 3 to 4 and a half inches tall. Do you think they will be blooming at the right time???

Ogle County Illinois

Expert Response

Hi --

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't think you should count on having home-grown calla lily blooms for the wedding.  Callas can be unpredictable even under the best of conditions, so though you could be pleasantly surprised you should have a Floral Plan B ready if these blooms are anything but optional decoration at the nuptials!

Calla lilies (members of the genus Zantedeschia) come in several species and varieties. The time from planting to bloom varies across these types (roughly 8 - 14 weeks), and any given variety's timing will vary with growing conditions. Even under perfect and controlled culture, Callas bloom across a period of time. Though they are long-lasting flowers you'd probably have to aim early to get a maximum number of blooms available on a specific target date.

Compounding the difficulty is that Zantedeschia spp. are best grown by planting bulbs/rhizomes in spring for summer blooming. Most calla lilies need a dormant period between blooms. That's winter for us, so in our market they are rested and ready to go for spring planting.   Without special techniques used force a plant to bloom out of its "natural" season, most plants won't bloom well, or even bloom at all. Callas are no exception, often proving to be even more finicky than others, especially in their first season!

To give you some idea of the coaxing that can be needed, here's a Zantedeschia production guide for professional growers from the University of Florida's esteemed horticulture program:

Alas, I wish I could be more promising. Still, I can hope that only "hitch" (pun intended!) in you son's wedding is where to deploy surprise bunches of fresh calla lilies!

chris kelsey Replied August 01, 2015, 5:41 PM EDT

Loading ...