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Re: over-wintering Calla

  • To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
  • Subject: Re: over-wintering Calla
  • From: Claude Sweet <sweetent@home.com>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000 22:14:26 -0600 (CST)


I live in a very mild winter climate (zone 10) and grow my callas in

I generally move the containers to a location outdoors where they will
not receive much moisture so any winter rain we receive will not soak
the containers and encouragae them to rot.

The tubers seem to lose too much moisture and shrivel when stored dry in
onion mesh bags. 

The soil mix in the containers is occasionally moisten if it seems to be
too dry. Tubers handled this way seem to sprout earlier and grow more

It seems that I neglected to water some containers of callas I held over
from previous years and they experienced a dormancy from the lack of
moisture and heat. I have some calla seeds and small tubers growing
outdoors now that the same type of callas that I purchased and planted
last May have gone dormant. These are normally summer growing types, but
seem to think our fall weather is spring. It will be interesting to see
if we experience a cool, wet winter and how these plants react.

A commercial grower I know purchased callas tubers from New Zealand
several years ago when the colored introductions were just hitting the
market. The first tubers grow normally. As the grower wanted to stagger
their production, the balance of the tubers were held in cool storage.
Each succeeding planting produced plants that were smaller in size and
produced fewer flowers. I make this comment to indicate that the
temperature the dormant plant material is held at may delay sprouting
and even limit plant growth. There might be a "chilling" injury below
some temperature.

I personally would pot up a few plants and attempt to keep them actively
growing through the winter; as a backup plan potup some dormant tubers
in containers, and hold the tuber in both a warm and cool location to
spread the risk so a total crop failure doesn't occur.

Claude Sweeet
San Diego, CA
zone 10

Lester Kallus wrote:

> Can I store Callas as tubers over the winter?
> Some tubers are best washed of any soil and soaked in fungicide before
> storage.  Others do better just being left with soil clinging to the
> roots.  To which group do Calla fall?
> Some tubers do best stored at 45-50 degrees.  Others like Caladiums need to
> be far warmer.  What temperature would be best for Calla?
> Should they be stored dry or packed in perlite or could this be a good use
> for the endless supply of foam packing peanuts?
> Thanks,
>           Les

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