What to do with Calla Lily seeds?

Discussion in 'Plant Propagation' started by musical1, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. musical1

    musical1 Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New Brunswick
    Local Time:
    6:03 AM
    This is my first year growing calla lilies. I have what I assume are many seeds coming from the bloom- how do I handle these? Can they be grown indoors as a house plant? If I want to keep the seed over to use in the spring how do I do it?
     
  2. calla lily seeds

    I also had one of my calla lilies go to seed this year. I harvested 49 seeds from 1 plant, and I have planted 6 of them. Nothing yet.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2005
  3. Jim Tillotson

    Jim Tillotson Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Mendocino CA, USA
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    Calla lily seeds

    How do I plant calla lily seeds
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

    Messages:
    8,314
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    The following was received via email:

    I found the UBC site while searching for information about Calla lily seeds, but it seems everyone on your forum has the same question - "Can I propagate calla lillies by planting the big group of seeds that forms after the flower has disappeared." Eveyone had a question but no one had an answer. Do you have any information?

    I presume I have to let the seed pods mature until they are no longer green. Then I would like to know if I should plant them separately or all in a bundle in the ground now, or should I wait until Spring?

    I live in Abbotsford so my climate is the same as that of UBC.
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

    Messages:
    8,314
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    Deni Bown in "Aroids: Plants of the Arum Family" recommends sowing the ripe seeds at temperatures of 21° - 27°C. Other references mention keeping the soil moist, and not letting it dry out.

    The proviso with these, though, is that it is apparently uncommon for the cultivated forms to come true from seed, and some of the cultivars may in fact be sterile. Success rates seem to be low from what I've been able to glean.
     
  6. Callas can indeed be grown from seed, and if you're not careful, you could end up with hundreds of these little darlings.

    First, just keep an eye on the flowers. If your calla is happy, then in my experience about half the flowers will self-pollinate and begin to develop. Cross pollination is I'm sure possible, but I don't know the natural vector for that. Look down into the flower, and you'll see little kernels forming along the stamen. Wait a couple weeks, and if the flower seems to be fading, and these little kernels have failed to further develop, go ahead and cut off the flower.

    If they are developing, and you'll be able to tell, as they grow larger and plumper, and the whole stamen will begin to resemble a small cone, or pineapple shape. Just be patient, it can take up to several months for the cone to mature. Eventually, the cone can get as long two to five inches, and as thick around as an ear of corn. You'll notice as the cone matures, it's increasing weight will naturally bend the stem until the cone is resting on the ground. Keep an eye on it, and you'll see the kernels begin to turn yellow and become mushy to the touch. It appears it's beginning to "rot" but this is all part of the natural process.

    At this point, the cone is mature, and each one of those "kernels" contains at least one or two seeds, and up to four or five seeds, each resembling a miniature tuber, about 2 mm in size. Harvesting the seeds is a bit messy, but take the cone, place it on a plate, and gently squish out the individual seeds. The whole cone can easily net you 50 seeds or more. If you want to post-pone seed harvesting, just place the cone someplace warm & dry, and eventually you'll have an ugly, desiccated dark brown cone with roughly the firmness of a dried piece of apricot. The seeds never really dry out completely, they're protected within the flesh of each kernel.

    When you're ready, plant the seeds no more than say, 1/4", or 1 cm deep, and if you can, space them about 1/2" apart. Don't worry if can't separate all these sticky seeds. Just spread a bunch of them in the pot, cover with dirt, and keep them warm, sunny & moist. The resultant seedlings are pretty tough, and can be separated later after they've grown two or three leaves.

    Germination time can vary quite a bit. I've had some pots of seeds come up within four or five days, and other pots seemed to take a month or more. But these seeds are quite viable, and they will come up eventually. Treat the seedlings mostly the way you would adults. Just keep the warm, moist, not soggy, and lots of sun, avoiding the hottest midday sun if possible. Repot as needed for size & space.

    If you're growing the colorful cultivated types of callas, they shouldn't need a dormancy period their first year, or until the tubers have grown to about 1 to 1 & 1/2 cms in size, at which point you can treat them as adults.

    Under optimum growing conditions, you might get a bloom in their second year, otherwise, expect something in their third year.

    Hope this helps reassure some of your readers.

    Logan
     
  7. raceyladie

    raceyladie Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    St. Catharines Ontario Canada
    Local Time:
    5:03 AM
    Thank you for the information my calla has given me 2 large cones but I picked them off Will they not dry out or mature now?
    raceyladie
     
  8. LoganD

    LoganD Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Central Coast, CA, USA
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    I've never picked them "green" before, but if the cones are large & plump, I'd guess the seeds are pretty close to mature. Why not leave them out & see if they continue to "ripen"? I'd let the cone get mostly yellow & soft, then take some of the seeds and try them out. Fun project for the winter, and if you do get sprouts, they'll have a head-start on spring.

    Logan
     
  9. LoganD

    LoganD Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Central Coast, CA, USA
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    I thought I'd share a photo of some Calla Aethiopica , Fragrant Childsiana seedlings I started a couple/few months ago. The leaves are about 1 & 1/2, to two inches tall. I'll keep them indoors over the winter, even though it normally doesn't freeze here.

    Callas can definitely grow from seed!
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Garbonzobeenz1

    Garbonzobeenz1 Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    WOW Logan!!! Thank you so much for sharing your knowlege with us all! I have loved the giant white callas since I was a little girl and have had a bed full of them in my yard for 14 years now. It started off with only 5 tubers and has grown and grown. I never knew you could harvest seeds from callas, I thought their only means of multiplying was under the ground by the tubers.
    I was both thrilled and a little sad when I read this post of yours as all of my callas are done blooming for the season and I had already removed all of the blooms. I figured I would now have to wait until next spring to try out your instructions on harvesting the seeds. The day after I read your post (yesterday) I went out to my garden and found that one of my callas had bloomed! My blooms have been gone for 2 weeks now so I was quite surprised and very happy!
    Hopefully I will soon have a little pot of calla seeds growing in my house just like the one you showed us. Thank you again for sharing your expertise on this matter.
    Marta
     
  11. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years of Activity

    Messages:
    672
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Salt Spring Island
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    I found that bottom heat helps.
     
  12. vaprtrl

    vaprtrl Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Central Missouri, US
    Local Time:
    4:03 AM
    I've had the same questions recently, and I thought I'd post a picture to help. The stems of these plants had rotted off, so the seed pods were separated anyway (I didn't cut them off!). On the left pod, one of the "kernels" is starting to yellow (upper right of the pod). The picture was taken with a wide-angle lens, so there is some distortion, but the ruler should give you a sense of scale.

    The bulbs came bagged from Wal-Mart, so I really have no idea what kind they are.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. LoganD

    LoganD Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Central Coast, CA, USA
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    Hey, you're welcome!

    Thanks for the picture. That'll definitely help people know what they're looking for. Interesting Wal-Mart sells the seeds that way. Who'da thunk? Maybe I should start selling mine!
     
  14. vaprtrl

    vaprtrl Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Central Missouri, US
    Local Time:
    4:03 AM
    I was a little unclear - Wal-Mart doesn't sell the seeds. We purchased the plants as bulbs in Spring 2005, they grew last summer and this summer, and produced these seed pods now (Aug 2006). I don't remember seeing seed pods last summer, but the plants were in too shady a spot and did not produce many flowers. BTW, these pods had fallen off the plants - I have a bunch of pods out there that are still hanging on the stalks.

    As the pods age, I'll post some more pics, and I'll try to document when I harvest them.
     
  15. SUE HOLLAND

    SUE HOLLAND Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wilmington,NC USA
    Local Time:
    5:03 AM
    Can they be used to grow new bulbs, if so how?
     
  16. SUE HOLLAND

    SUE HOLLAND Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wilmington,NC USA
    Local Time:
    5:03 AM
    Thank you Logan. Your information was just what I wanted to know.
    S. Holland
     
  17. grannysmith

    grannysmith Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hobart, Australia
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    I also grow calla lillies, (zantedeschia) and other aroids too. I have found they germinate best if the pulpy substance is totally removed from the seeds before planting. I wash off what I can and soak the seeds for several days, changing the water daily. Then sow them making sure the seed is covered as they need dark to germinate. I have found this works for most aroids.I know have a large collection coming on from seed. If I cant plant the seeds straight away I always store them in the fridge until I can.
     
  18. bigjonski

    bigjonski Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    United States
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    Thanks everyone for the informative posts,I searched all over to find out what was growing on my calla lily,The photo's also helped. I've attached photo's of mine to assist others seeking info like i needed......One photo shows the pod hanging on the ground,and the other photo is a close up of the seed pod.

    Jon
     

    Attached Files:

  19. gmmona1

    gmmona1 Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Grand Rapids USA
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    so, i am not really sure if everyone that was posting will be able to view this but if you would like to post it publically that would help me out.

    i live in MI and i have been growing calalilies from seeds for two years, i find they like a lot of water, even when they are small...i drench them. what i do with the seed is put them directly in dirt and then keep an eye on them they should sprout in like 3 to 4 weeks. after that some will die, and once they start getting more than one leaf the first one it got will die. not that it matters but i planted them in february and let them grow until september from seed, at that time they had a tiny bulb...which you just need to wash off the roots really well to prevent root rot and let them dry for a week put them in a paper bag dry and in a dark place until the next spring.

    as for the next year, you can just plant the bulb inside again, because they are strong but only still about a foot tall and thin.

    i have also cultivted the seeds from the flowering pods, what i did was in the fall pull the bulbs out becauase it is cold here, and again clean roots, leave the entire flower connected and let the bulb and seed pod dry out all winter again leave them connected. march so early spring you can cut open the pod and you will have 100's of seeds to plant.

    hope this helps...and if anyone knows how long years wise it takes to get a flower from the original seeds that would be awesome.
     
  20. kidzkab

    kidzkab Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    peterborough
    Local Time:
    2:03 AM
    First, just keep an eye on the flowers. If your calla is happy, then in my experience about half the flowers will self-pollinate and begin to develop. Cross pollination is I'm sure possible, but I don't know the natural vector for that. Look down into the flower, and you'll see little kernels forming along the stamen. Wait a couple weeks, and if the flower seems to be fading, and these little kernels have failed to further develop, go ahead and cut off the flower.If they are developing, and you'll be able to tell, as they grow larger and plumper, and the whole stamen will begin to resemble a small cone, or pineapple shape. Just be patient, it can take up to several months for the cone to mature. Eventually, the cone can get as long two to five inches, and as thick around as an ear of corn. You'll notice as the cone matures, it's increasing weight will naturally bend the stem until the cone is resting on the ground. Keep an eye on it, and you'll see the kernels begin to turn yellow and become mushy to the touch. It appears it's beginning to "rot" but this is all part of the natural process.At this point, the cone is mature, and each one of those "kernels" contains at least one or two seeds, and up to four or five seeds, each resembling a miniature tuber, about 2 mm in size. Harvesting the seeds is a bit messy, but take the cone, place it on a plate, and gently squish out the individual seeds. The whole cone can easily net you 50 seeds or more. If you want to post-pone seed harvesting, just place the cone someplace warm & dry, and eventually you'll have an ugly, desiccated dark brown cone with roughly the firmness of a dried piece of apricot. The seeds never really dry out completely, they're protected within the flesh of each kernel.
    When you're ready, plant the seeds no more than say, 1/4", or 1 cm deep, and if you can, space them about 1/2" apart. Don't worry if can't separate all these sticky seeds. Just spread a bunch of them in the pot, cover with dirt, and keep them warm, sunny & moist. The resultant seedlings are pretty tough, and can be separated later after they've grown two or three leaves.
    Germination time can vary quite a bit. I've had some pots of seeds come up within four or five days, and other pots seemed to take a month or more. But these seeds are quite viable, and they will come up eventually. Treat the seedlings mostly the way you would adults. Just keep the warm, moist, not soggy, and lots of sun, avoiding the hottest midday sun if possible. Repot as needed for size & space.
    If you're growing the colorful cultivated types of callas, they shouldn't need a dormancy period their first year, or until the tubers have grown to about 1 to 1 & 1/2 cms in size, at which point you can treat them as adults.
    Under optimum growing conditions, you might get a bloom in their second year, otherwise, expect something in their third year.
     
  21. Aussie Mal

    Aussie Mal Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Australia
    Local Time:
    6:33 PM
    Thanks Logan, it was a pleasure to find so much information put into laymans terms.
     
  22. Bekka

    Bekka Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northeast TN USA
    Local Time:
    4:03 AM
    About ten years ago, I bought a beautiful yellow calla lily from a nursery. When the blooms went to seed, I broke it into several pieces and planted it. I have had lots of beautiful blooming calla lilies every year since then. Also I have given hundreds of the seed clusters away to friends and they too have gorgeous flowers from them.
     

Share This Page