When to Transplant Calla Lily – Important Considerations

There’s nothing better than planting a Calla lily seed and watching it grow into a healthy plant. It can take a while but with the right care, you can have yourself a bed of Calla lilies. But if your lilies have outgrown their flower bed, you might ask when to transplant a Calla lily.

The best time to transplant a Calla lily is right before spring or late fall. You want to make sure that the lily isn’t in bloom, so avoid moving it in late summer. It’s also a good idea to avoid moving your lilies in the winter to avoid the risk of freezing.

In this article, we’ll walk you through when to transplant a Calla lily. We’ll also talk about how and why you transplant them. First, let’s take a look at the part of the Calla lily.

calla lilies in flower pot

Parts of a Calla Lily

Before you dig up your Calla lilies, you should have an idea of what the different parts of the plant look like.

Calla lilies consist of 4 main parts:

  • Flower
  • Stem
  • Leaves
  • Roots

The flower is the part of the lily that blooms. It’s usually white, and it’s what the plant uses for reproduction. Flowers also have a pretty scent to attract insects to help them reproduce.

Traveling a little further down the Calla lily, you’ll find the stem. The stem helps hold the flower upright so it can get plenty of sunlight. It also helps distribute water in the plant. 

In most plants, the stem consists of layers that stack up onto each other. This part extends from the end of the flower to the roots underground.

Calla lilies have smooth, sword-like leaves. The leaves are green with white freckles and their main function is to absorb sunlight.

Underground, you’ll see that roots shoot out from the stem. Roots keep the lily firmly planted and where the lily will get water.

Why Transplant Your Calla Lilies?

Transplanting a plant is when you move it from one soil bed to another. There are many reasons why you’d want to move your plants:

  1. The plant has outgrown its pot
  2. You want to encourage growth
  3. Plant bed has become too crowded
  4. To protect against disease and parasites
  5. The plant isn’t getting enough light

These are just some of the reasons why you’d want to move a plant. If any of those apply to you, you might find yourself wondering when to transplant Calla lilies.

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The Best Time to Transplant Your Calla Lilies

Transplanting Calla lilies can be tricky, and you have to pick the right time. The general rule is, if you want to move your lily, it shouldn’t be in bloom. Calla lilies bloom between mid-summer and early fall, so try to avoid that period.

It’s also not a good idea to move your lily in the winter. If you remove the lily in the cold, parts of it can freeze and die. So, it’s best to wait until spring, when it’s warmer outside.

How to Transplant Your Calla Lilies

When you’re transplanting your Calla lilies, the part you’ll want to move is the stem or‌ the rhizome. The rhizome, or tuber, is the part of the stem that grows underground. It’s usually thicker and more fleshy so it can support the plant.

Since the rhizome is underground and you can’t see it, ‌work slowly and carefully to make sure you don’t damage it.

Step 1: Prepping Your Soil

Before you start digging into your flower bed, you have to make sure the soil is damp. Dry soil is more likely to damage your lily’s roots when you move it around.

Fill a spray bottle with water and gently go over the area around your lily. You can add a few drops of plant vitamins to the spray bottle. This will help the lily stay healthy during the move. Don’t overuse the vitamins, just a few drops until you get the plant to the new pot.

Black moist soil in man's hands, closeup

Step 2: Digging Up Your Calla Lily

Using a trowel, gently loosen the soil around the Calla lily. Then, slowly, work your way to the stem with the trowel.

The rhizome will have yellow buds covering the surface. Those are crucial to the survival of the plant. While digging with the trowel, avoid the buds as much as you can.

Keep digging around the Calla lily until you’ve exposed all the roots and the rhizome. After you’ve exposed the lily, lift it gently between your hands and place it in a plastic container. Be very careful not to damage any of the roots at this point.

It’s a good idea to dig up a few rhizomes at a time. If you’re planning to move a whole bed of Calla lilies, it might be best to do it in sections. Digging up Calla lilies and leaving them hanging around in the open air can dry them out.

Try digging up two or three lilies at a time, then planting them before you move on to the next lily.

Step 3: Prepping Your Calla Lily

Grab your spray bottle, this time only fill it with water. Rinse off the soil from the rhizome. This gives you a good opportunity to check on your plant’s health. Look for any discoloration in the rhizome other than the yellow buds.

It’s also a good idea to look through the roots and make sure no parts are moldy or rotten. Snip off any roots that you think might become an issue later on.

Rhizomes grow in layers stacked on top of each other. This means you can get multiple rhizomes per lily. Separate the rhizomes and throw out any that don’t have yellow buds. You can try to plant them, but chances are they’ll never grow.

If you only want to replant a few lilies, choose the ones with the biggest rhizomes. The bigger the rhizome, the bigger and stronger the Calla lily will be.

hand holding vase full of white calla lilies

Step 4: Replanting Your Calla Lily

When replanting your Calla lilies, you want to find a place where they’ll have plenty of space and sunlight. It’s best if you plant them in a flower bed. This will give them ample space and you can plant many rhizomes.

 If you don’t have a flower bed, a plant pot will do just fine. The issue is that you can only plant one or two lilies depending on how big your pot is.

Dig about three or four inches into your soil. Place your rhizome in the hole with the yellow buds on top. Then, cover the rhizome up with more soil. If you’re going to plant more than one rhizome, leave about 12 to 18 inches of space between them in all directions.

Now, you’ll want to water all the rhizomes with your spray bottle. Again, here you can add a few drops of plant vitamins. You want the soil to be moist, so it’ll take quite a bit of water.

Another thing you can add to help your lilies grow is mulch. Cover the entire surface of the soil in about two to three inches of mulch. This will help lock moisture in the soil, which will give your lilies a better chance of surviving.

Wrapping Up – When to Transplant Calla Lily

Calla lilies are beautiful flowers and are easy to grow. But, if you’ve overfilled your flower bed and want to transplant some of them, it can get tricky.

The most important thing to consider when transplanting a Calla lily is when you do it. You can transplant a Calla lily as long as it’s not in bloom. Another good consideration is the weather, if it’s too cold some part of your lily can freeze.

Once you’ve decided when to move your lily, it’s a pretty straightforward process. But you have to be very gentle because Calla lilies can be fragile.