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Beginner Gardening Questions: Dividing Calla lilies

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Elijablue
Wheaton, IL
(Zone 5b)

January 26, 2012
2:34 PM

Post #8983237

I got several rhizomes of 'Pink Giant' calla lilly (Zantedeschia) a few years ago and they have done very well for me. The rhizomes are getting large with several shoots starting to come up already, even though they are in storage now. (I usually put them in the fridge at this time to "hold" for a couple months and warmer weather.) My question is can I cut them up in smaller pieces to get more rhizomes/plants? They are all oval shaped, with no definite place to divide, and I guess I would have to cut them with a knife, but them do I need fungicide? If I cut them, should I cut them now, or wait til I plant them out in the garden in the spring?
Thanks so much for your help.
Carolyn22
Athens, PA
(Zone 5b)

January 27, 2012
8:46 AM

Post #8984093

My callas just come apart on their own when the bulbs increase. I have not tried dividing them with a knife, but I would be hesitant to do so. I would be afraid of killing the bulb. Some of the calla bulbs to get quite large.

How long do you keep them in the fridge? I have mine in the attic at the top of the stairs with my dahlias and have done this in previous years.

When do you typically bring them out to start?

WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

January 27, 2012
3:54 PM

Post #8984616

Hi Elijablue, you are right that you can split up the Rhizomes of your Calla's, the best way and time to do this is when you first notice the tiny green new shoots begin to form, you have to make sure you also have a root area too, IF you cant separate the Rhizome without cutting then it is OK.
What you then have to do is using a very sharp knife (Craft or razor sharp knife, Sterilize the blade and look carefully where you want to cut the Rhizome that has a green bud and root, cut clean through and try not to saw as you cut or you make little rough areas where disease could get hold. Any time I divide Rhizomes / Tubers etc, I also like to dress the cut areas with (Flowers of Sulfur) this I buy from the pharmacy at the drug store, it is bright yellow and I place the powder in a small bag, drop the Rhizomes into the bag and shake to coat the Rhizomes, there may be other sterilizing remedies you can buy where you live too.
Once this is done, you place the old and new parts into a pot or good soil water from the bottom and allow to grow on till the top growth is large enough to set out into the garden or larger pot.
I find the best results I get from these plants are when the rhizomes are almost filling the pot, then I divide them up.
Hope this helps give you a bit more confidence for carrying out the task you have to hand. Good luck, WeeNel.
Elijablue
Wheaton, IL
(Zone 5b)

January 28, 2012
12:16 PM

Post #8985545

Carolyn22:
Last year, I put my callas in the fridge on Jan 31, left until May 13 when I potted them up and kept indoors, planted them in the garden on May 25 and had my first bloom on June 23. This year, they went in the fridge on Jan 26, as the "sprouts" are about 1/2" tall. I overwinter them in the coolest portion of my heated basement, which is not cool enough for them - hence the fridge treatment.

WeeNel:
Thanks for your instructions. My largest rhizome is about 2-1/2" in diameter and has 5 big sprouts coming up from it. I think I'll wait til closer to spring to try to separate them. I really don't want to damage them, as I don't have that many to experiment with, and the idea is to get more - not less! Perhaps I should just wait another year and see if they get bigger and want to separate on their own.

Thank you both for your input. It is greatly appreciated!
Carolyn22
Athens, PA
(Zone 5b)

January 28, 2012
2:47 PM

Post #8985710

I know in 2010, I did not get mine planted until late May and at that time, I decided I needed to get them going earlier. So, 2011, it was about mid May when I started my callas. I went through and checked and the earliest photos I have are dated 6/26, so apparently mine start blooming about the same time as yours. They flower right through into August for me.

Elijah - what kind do you have? I would love to see photos of yours.

Thumbnail by Carolyn22
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Elijablue
Wheaton, IL
(Zone 5b)

January 29, 2012
8:57 AM

Post #8986519

Carolyn22:
I have 'Pink Giant' - it has a paler pink flower and plain green leaves. I don't have any photos from last year - will have to take some this year.
Your photo is great! Looks like you have a lot of callas. I really like that dark pink one - what variety is that? I also want to get some with the mottled leaves...

Carolyn22
Athens, PA
(Zone 5b)

January 29, 2012
5:02 PM

Post #8987126

Elijah -

I googled the Giant Pink. It is beautiful! How big does it get? I bought Green Goddess and it did not flower last year, but got quite big. I am hoping this year it flowers.

The darker flowers on the right, I believe the upper one is Rudolph and the one below it is Captain Romance. I hit a co op last year and picked up a bunch of them.

One of my favorites is Fire Glow.



Thumbnail by Carolyn22
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WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

January 30, 2012
3:18 PM

Post #8988474

Elijah, the size of rhizome you have there is no hurry at all the split it up, I prefer to learn the signs a plant is ready for this by just watching them from year to year, I leave mine alone for years till one year there are fewer flowers, the same amount of foliage and this indicates that the plant is in need of splitting up to allow more room at the root /bulb/ tuber/ rhizome etc, Daffodils are like this also. one thing you will learn as you go along is, gardening requires lots of patience, lots of watching, lots of trials and testing your own wit's, so your right to want to wait till the plant is larger and NOT take a chance for dread of loosing all, there is nothing wrong in wanting to do experiments so long as you know the outcome might be the opposite of your great expectations, just take your time and enjoy, you will have more pleasure for the gardening tasks if you don't turn it into a chore, keep it as a place you really love to be in .
Good luck and happy gardening. WeeNel.
Elijablue
Wheaton, IL
(Zone 5b)

January 30, 2012
6:09 PM

Post #8988675

Carolyn22:
My Giant Pink gets about a foot and a half tall as I recall - I never measured it! Thanks for the names of yours - I will look for that Rudolph this spring - I think that dark burgundy color will look great with my pink.

WeeNel:
Thanks so much for your advice again. I love to propagate my favorite plants, and can't wait to get more of the callas. Temp today was 50degrees, so I'm rushing spring! Think it is probably best to wait another year though, as in retrospect, my rhizomes are really not that big. I don't want to sacrifice blooms this year. Think I'll just investigate getting some new varieties.

I love this site - gardeners sharing so much info!! Thanks again..
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

February 6, 2012
10:07 AM

Post #8996711

That's the way to go Elija, go buy more plants, always a pick-me-up after the winter ha, ha, ha, just make sure you use labels as if you have to lift or re-pot when the plants are dormant, you wont know what colour you are working with and if like me you like a cpolour scheme, it's annoying when you think you have planted pink and a nice yellow shines bright instead ha, ha, ha. don't rush, just enjoy, Good luck. WeeNel.

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