Calla Lily Care – Tips On Growing Calla Lilies

Calla Lily Care – Tips On Growing Calla Lilies

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By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden

Although not considered true lilies, the calla lily (Zantedeschia sp.) is an extraordinary flower. This beautiful plant, available in a multitude of colors, grows from rhizomes and is ideal for use in beds and borders. You can also grow calla lilies in containers, either outdoors or in a sunny window as houseplants. Here are a few tips on growing calla lilies that will make them sparkle in your yard.

Tips on Growing Calla Lilies

It is easy to grow calla lilies. These plants do not generally require too much attention. Proper planting and location are about the only important things to consider when growing calla lilies. Care of calla lilies requires that they be planted in loose, well-drained soil. They prefer to be located in full sun or partial shade in warmer climates. Calla lilies are typically planted in the spring. However, wait until the threat of frost has passed and the soil has warmed sufficiently before planting calla lilies.

Calla lilies should be planted rather deep, about 4 inches (10 cm.) for greater results, and spaced approximately a foot apart. Once planted, the area should be watered well. Calla lilies enjoy being kept moist and will also benefit from a monthly dose of fertilizer throughout the growing season.

Calla Lilies Care

As with planting, there’s not too much required for the care of calla lilies other than keeping them watered and fertilized. An adequate layer of mulch around the plants will help keep the area moist and free of weeds. Calla lilies require a dormant period once flowering has ceased. During this time, you should refrain from watering as much to allow the plant to die back.

If you grow calla lilies in containers, cease watering and move the plant to a dark area once the foliage has faded. Regular watering can resume within two to three months. Although calla lilies can remain in the ground year-round in warmer climates, they should be lifted and stored in cooler areas.

Care of Calla Lilies Over Winter

Dig up the rhizomes in autumn, usually after the first frost, and shake off any soil. Allow them to dry out for a few days before storing the rhizomes for winter. Calla lilies should be stored in peat moss and located in a cool, dry area, preferably dark, until warmer temperatures return in spring. Likewise, you can choose to start your calla lilies indoors during late winter and transplant them outside in spring. Calla lilies can also be divided when lifted or during their dormancy period.

Growing calla lilies is easy and calla lilies care is minimal at best. Choosing to grow calla lilies in the garden or as houseplants is a great way to add color to any area. These tips on growing calla lilies will help you enjoy these lovely flowers even more.

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Read more about Calla Lilies

Lilies in the Garden - Caring for these Famous Flowers

  • Botanical name:Lilium
  • Zones: 5-8
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Site: Full sun, well-draining soil
  • Type: Bulb
  • Characteristics: Good cut flowers
  • Warning: Toxic to cats and dogs

Lilies, one of the most beloved bulbs for the summer garden, burst in with kaboom blossoms at an interlude when most flowers are in a holding pattern. Offering “swoony” scents, strong stems and substantial petals, lilies are also workhorses as cut flowers.

How to Grow Calla Lilies: Important Tips

To plant in spring, be sure all danger of frost is past. Native to southern Africa, callas like it warm and won’t grow happily until the soil has warmed up a bit.

Be sure your spot has good drainage and enrich with compost, organic fertilizer and some bone meal.

Plant bulbs (they look like a ginger root or gladiolus bulb) so that the pointed eyes or growing points face up and the top of the bulb is about 2 inches below the soil level. Water well and water as needed to keep soil moist as the plant gets established.

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Calla Lily Plant Features

The tall, elegant flower stalks of calla lily add a sense of sophistication and artistry to borders and containers. These easy-care, tender bulbs thrive in sunny spots and rich moist soil. Calla lilies grow 12 to 36 inches tall, depending on the variety and bear gorgeous chalice-like flowers in white, pink, salmon, purple, yellow, and bi-color. The leaves can also be speckled or spotted and are relatively deer resistant. In frost-free climates, calla lily acts like a perennial, but in colder climates it's treated as a tender bulb that can be stored over the winter until the following spring. Or, use it as a houseplant in a sunny window. Calla lily makes a superb cut flower, too. Hardy from zones 8-11

Calla Lily Questions?
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Calla Lily Growing Instructions

Calla lilies prefer to grow in a sunny spot with rich, well drained soil. These tropical beauties also prefer slightly moist soil that's rich in organic matter. If you are growing calla lily in containers use a commercial potting soil mix. In northern gardens, move the plants indoors before frost strikes in the fall. You can use calla lily as an indoor plant or let them go dormant and store the bulbs in a cool, dark, dry location until spring. Or, you can simply toss the plant and buy new ones every spring.

Calla lily is not recommended for human or animal consumption.


Indoors: High light
Outside: Sun


Orange, Pink, Purple, White, Yellow


Special Features

Colorful foliage
Deer/rabbit resistant

Complement your Calla Lily with these varieties:

Varieties: Our Favorites

Callafornia Garnet Glow Calla

Zantedeschia 'Callafornia Garnet Glow'

Callafornia Garnet Glow offers bright pink flowers and rich green leaves. It grows 20 inches tall and wide. Zones 8-10

Callafornia Ice Dancer Calla

Zantedeschia 'Callafornia Ice Dancer'

Callafornia Ice Dancer bears creamy-white, long-lasting blooms and dark green leaves. It grows 18 inches tall and 16 inches wide. zones 8-10

Callafornia Lemon Drop

Zantedeschia 'Callafornia Lemon Drop'

Callafornia Lemon Drop calla offers bright yellow blooms and white-speckled foliage. It grows 20 inches tall and wide. Zones 8-10

Callafornia Night Life Calla

Zantedeschia 'Callafornia Night Life'

Bearing intriguing dark purple-pink blooms, this selection has green foliage. It's ideal in containers as well as garden beds and borders. Callafornia Night Life grows 20 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Zones 8-10

Callafornia Pink Melody Calla

Zantedeschia 'Callafornia Pink Melody'

Callafornia Pink Melody calla shows off white blooms edged in soft, cotton-candy pink. It grows 24 inches tall and wide. Zones 8-10

Callafornia Red Calla

Zantedeschia 'Callafornia Red'

Callafornia Red is a stunning variety that produces lots of dark pink flowers that hold up well when cut for bouquets. It grows 20 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Zones 8-10

Callafornia Ruby Sensation Calla

Zantedeschia 'Callafornia Ruby Sensation'

Callafornia Ruby Sensation offers lots of soft-pink blooms that rise above the white-speckled foliage. Even when it's not blooming this is a great garden variety! Ruby Sensation grows 20 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Zones 8-10

Callafornia Sunshine Calla

Zantedeschia 'Callafornia Sunshine'

A bold variety that grows well in containers and landscapes, Callafornia Sunshine calla has big, golden-yellow flowers over white-spotted foliage. It grows 24 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Zones 8-10

Regal calla produces pinkish-purple flowers over lovely green leaves. It grows 20 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Zones 8-10

Beautiful Desert Gems cacti add an easy-care burst of color to any room.

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