How To Transplant Calla Lily?

So you’ve got a clump of calla lilies in your garden, and they’re starting to get crowded. You’re wondering if it’s time to transplant them. If so, how do you transplant them successfully?

You can transplant a calla lily in spring or fall by preparing the soil, digging up the bulbs, and separating the rhizomes. After you remove the excess soil, allow the rhizomes to dry, replant in fresh soil, and add mulch. Always ensure you water the lily generously after transplanting.

In this article, I’ll take you through the above steps to understand the right way to transplant your lily. I’ll also discuss factors to consider when transplanting your lilies. Keep reading.

1. Choose the Right Season To Transplant Your Calla Lilies

Calla lilies can grow both in warm and cool areas under the following conditions:

  • In warm regions: They perform well in partial shade or full sun.
  • In cooler areas: They need full sun to grow well.

These are the critical conditions you should consider when choosing the right time to transplant your calla lilies. 

You may transplant your calla lilies in spring or fall from the above conditions. These seasons don’t portray extreme weather conditions like summer or winter that might damage the lilies.

It’s more suitable to transplant your calla lilies in spring. At this time, you can rest assured that all the frost has passed and the soil is getting warmer to support your plants’ growth.

It’s worth noting that your calla lilies will blossom well without much struggle if you live in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 10. Some of these zones are:

  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • California
  • Texas
  • Oregon.

2. Prepare the Soil for Transplanting

Whether you’re transplanting your lilies into a new bed or moving them to another location in your garden, it’s crucial to prepare the soil. This process will give your lilies an excellent chance to grow and blossom beautifully.

When preparing the soil, you should:

  • Test the pH level of the soil.
  • Loosen the soil with a shovel.
  • Add organic matter to the soil.
  • Work on soil drainage.

We’ll discuss each of these in detail below.

Test the pH Level of the Soil

The soil’s pH level is a measure of its acidity or alkalinity. Calla lilies prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH range between 5.6 and 6.5.

You can test the pH level of your soil using a simple soil test kit that you can purchase from any gardening store. I recommend the Kensizer pH Soil Meter which also has a moisture reader and functions on a plug-and-play system so batteries are unnecessary.

If the pH level is too high or low, you can adjust it by adding either sulfur or lime to the soil accordingly.

Loosen the Soil With a Shovel

After testing and adjusting the soil’s pH level, it’s time to loosen it up with a shovel. This aeration will allow your calla lilies to spread their roots more easily.

The procedure below will help you loosen your soil the right way:

  1. Remove any existing plants from the bed.
  2. Use a shovel to dig up the soil to a depth of about 5 inches (12.7cm).
  3. Turn the soil over and break up any large clumps.
  4. Rake the bed to level it out.

Your goal is to have loose, crumbly soil that’s easy for your lilies to penetrate and blossom.

Add Organic Matter to the Soil

Organic matter helps improve the drainage and aeration of the soil while also providing essential nutrients for your plants. Apart from temperature, it’s worth noting that call lilies need well-aerated soils with a high level of biodiversity.

Mixing in compost or well-rotted manure adds organic matter to the soil, which is also an excellent way to increase the soil’s biodiversity.

Work on Soil Drainage

According to the University of Illinois, soil drainage is crucial for the growth of any plant as it facilitates aeration. Good drainage also prevents the roots from rotting.

There are two ways to improve soil drainage:

  • Amend the soil: You can add organic matter to sandy soils or sand to clayey soils. This addition will help improve water retention in sandy soils and drainage in clayey soils.
  • Install a drainage system: If you have a problem with waterlogged soil, you can install a drainage system to help remove excess water.

3. Dig Up the Bulbs and Rhizomes With a Shovel

Once you’ve prepared the soil, it’s time to dig up your calla lily bulbs and rhizomes. Be aware that this is a delicate process that requires some care so as not to damage the plants.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Dig around the plant using a shovel, about 12 inches (1 foot) from the base.
  2. Lift the plant carefully from the soil, retaining as much root mass as possible.
  3. Shake off any excess soil from the roots.

4. Remove Excess Soil and Gently Brush Off  Dirt or Mud

You’ve successfully dug up the rhizomes and bulbs, and it’s time to replant them. But before you do, it’s essential to remove any excess soil and gently brush off any dirt or mud.

This cleaning will help the plant roots to establish themselves more quickly in the new bed. Replanting your call lilies with excessive soil and mud will make them grow slowly or fail. You don’t want this to happen.

You can remove the excess soil by:

  • Shaking off the soil gently with your hands.
  • Blowing on the roots to remove any clinging dirt particles.
  • Rinsing the roots with water from a hose or watering can.

5. Separate the Rhizomes by Cutting Them Apart

It’s vital to separate the rhizomes before replanting your calla lilies, as this will allow each plant to have its own space to grow.

You can do this by:

  • Removing any foliage.
  • Cutting the rhizomes apart using a sharp knife.
  • Ensuring each piece has at least one bud or growth point.

6. Allow the Calla Lily Rhizomes To Dry

You should not replant the rhizomes before they form a callus over the cut area. A callus ensures that the plant can heal and prevents infection.

You can let the rhizomes callus over by following these steps:

  • Leave them in a dry, airy place for one to two days.
  • Place the lilies on a sheet of newspaper in a warm room.

Once the rhizomes have formed a callus, they’re ready to be replanted.

7. Replant the Rhizomes in Fresh Moist Soil

It’s now time to transfer the rhizomes to their new home. Because you’ve already prepared the soil, we go directly to replanting.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create small mounds of soil, about 12 to 18 inches (1 to 1.5 feet) apart.
  2. Dig holes in the mounds, about 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.1cm ) deep.
  3. Place the rhizomes in the dug holes with the buds pointing upward.
  4. Cover the rhizomes with 2 inches (5.8cm) of soil.
  5. Pack the soil gently around the rhizomes.

8. Mulch To Protect the Rhizomes From Extreme Temperatures

Adding a layer of mulch will help protect your calla lilies from extreme temperatures. It will also help retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing.

You can use any mulch, but we recommend wood chips or shredded bark.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Gather organic mulches like wood chips, shredded bark, or grass.
  2. Spread a 2-inch (5.08cm) layer of mulch around the base of each plant.
  3. Make sure the mulch doesn’t touch the leaves or stems of the plants to prevent the spread of diseases.

9. Water Generously After Replanting

Your work doesn’t end with replanting; you must ensure the Callas are in the right conditions to support their growth. One of these conditions is sufficient water, as these plants need a lot of moisture to blossom.

Regularly watering your transplanted lilies will help them to establish themselves in the new bed and produce beautiful flowers.

It’s advisable to water them every two days or more frequently if the weather is hot and dry.

The following tips will help you water your lilies the right way:

  • Use a hose or watering can and drench the soil around the plants.
  • Ensure the water penetrates the ground at least eight inches (20.3cm) deep.
  • Check that the leaves are not wet, which could encourage fungal diseases.
  • Allow the top 2 inches (5.08cm) of soil to dry before watering again.

Factors To Consider Before Transplanting Calla Lilies

Before transplanting your lilies, check to ensure that:

  • They are yet to flower: You should transplant calla lilies before they bloom as the process can damage the buds, and you don’t want that.
  • The soil is moist: The soil should be wet but not soggy, so water it a day or two before replanting if it’s too dry.
  • The weather is cool: It’s best to transplant calla lilies when the weather is cool in either spring or fall. Avoid hot days, as this will stress the plants.
  • You have all the tools: You’ll need a spade, shovel, a sharp knife, and some organic mulch. Make sure you have everything before you start replanting.

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Final Thoughts

Transplanting your calla lilies is an excellent way to propagate them. You want to have these plants in your garden for years to come, which is the best way to do it. By following the steps above, you’ll surely succeed in transplanting your lilies. Just remember to be patient; it takes time for these beautiful plants to grow and bloom.

Finally, you shouldn’t forget to water your transplanted lilies regularly, as they need sufficient moisture to bloom.

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