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Calla Lily

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Calla Lilies

Botanical Name Zantedeschia
Plant Type Rhizome
Sun Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Soil Type Well-drained clay, loamy or sandy soils
Soil pH Neutral to slightly acidic
Bloom Time June, July
Flower Color White, pink, red, yellow or purple
Hardiness Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Special Features Lift in fall in zones 3-8. Calla Lilies often have speckled foliage.

Don't let the exquisite blooms fool you. Calla lilies, also called arum lilies, are easy to grow in the garden and containers. Their tall, funnel-shaped spathes lend variety to a garden full of round flowers, and their elegant blooms make them a favorite with florists. Ivory calla lilies and white calla lilies are popular wedding flowers due to their beauty and green-white color. As cut flowers, calla lilies can last up to two weeks.

Gardeners in zones 3-10 can grow these beautiful flowers. The flowers, along with their green, often speckled foliage, are stunning in the sunny garden or containers. Here's how to grow calla lilies in your home garden or on your patio or deck.

Calla Lily SAS Image

How to Plant Calla Lily Rhizomes

Plant the calla lily rhizomes 4 inches deep. If planting in the garden, space calla lilies 12-18 inches apart. If planting in containers, use potting soil and a pot with drainage holes and plant 2 inches deep. A 6-inch container can hold one calla lily, or plant three in a 12-inch container.

While a shovel or trowel is great for digging, if you are planting lots and lots of calla lilies, you may prefer using an auger and drill. Both the Improved Bulb Auger and KneeSaver Planting Tool are time savers. Using an all-natural, slow-release fertilizer, like Van Bourgondien 100% Natural Bulb Food, at planting time can also give your calla lilies a boost.

When to Plant Calla Lilies

Calla lilies are planted in the springtime, after the last spring frost date in your area. Calla lilies that are planted at this time will usually bloom in mid to late summer. If you'd like earlier blooms, then start calla lily rhizomes indoors about six weeks before the last spring frost date and transplant them to the garden after the last spring frost. In zones 9-10, calla lily bulbs can stay in the ground overwinter and will bloom a little earlier than rhizomes planted in the spring.

Where to Plant Calla Lilies

In northern gardens, Calla Lilies grow best in full sun, or six or more hours of direct sunlight daily. In southern regions, they can be grown in partial shade. Calla lilies are a tender perennial and can stay in the ground overwinter in zones 9-10. In zones 3-8, calla lilies are either grown as an annual or dug up in the fall. Use our zone finder to find your zone.

Calla lilies grow best in well-drained soil that is slightly acidic and rich in organic matter. They can be grown in mixed perennial beds and cutting gardens. When planting in the garden, calla lilies look great on their own or planted with lower-growing flowers. They're also suitable for growing in containers.

How to Care for Calla Lilies

Calla lilies are easy to care for after planting. Mulching around them suppresses weeds and retains moisture in the soil. Calla lilies prefer moist soil. If the weather is dry, you may have to water them once or twice a week. Calla lilies growing in containers require more frequent watering. Calla lilies may be fertilized throughout the growing season.

When the flowers bloom in the summer, you can cut some for floral displays or enjoy them on the plants in the garden. Removing the spent flowers makes for a tidier look in the garden.

After the flowers finish blooming, allow the foliage to fade naturally. The foliage is making energy for next year's growth.

Overwintering Calla Lily Bulbs

If you live in zones 9-10, calla lily bulbs can be left in the ground over winter. Allow the foliage to fade naturally after the calla lilies bloom.

If you live in zones 3-8 and want to save the bulbs, then the bulbs must be dug up or lifted and stored indoors over winter. After the first frost, dig up the rhizomes and trim off the foliage. Allow the rhizomes to dry in a dark place. Place them in a box with newspapers or peat moss. The ideal storage temperature is about 50 degrees F.

Calla Lily Flower FAQs

How do you Care for Calla Lilies Indoors?

Calla lilies thrive in warm environments with at least 6 hours of indirect light every day. Avoid sitting them near vents. Make sure your calla lily is in a container with drainage holes.

Why are my Calla Lilies Drooping?

Your calla lilies may droop for several reasons. If they are overwatered or underwatered, they may droop. Fungal rot of the rhizome also causes drooping. Another cause could be too much nitrogen.

What Pests or Diseases are Common for Calla Lilies?

While calla lilies don't have lots of disease and pest issues, rhizome rot is could be a problem. Planting in well-drained soil and avoiding overwatering are preventative measures you can take. Japanese beetles are the most common insect pest.

Types of Calla Lily Flowers

When considering what calla lily flowers to plant, you have many color choices. Here are some of the most popular.


Aethiopica: The crème de la crème of the calla lilies, Aethiopica features large, pure white flowers with a yellow spadix. It's one of the most popular for wedding bouquets.

Red Alert

Red Alert: Up to 5" tall flowers in scarlet red hues stop garden visitors in their tracks. Red Alert is one of the best red calla lilies on the market--and a hit in the garden and floral bouquets.

Dubai Nights

Dubai Nights: Add drama to the garden with this impressive calla lily. The velvety, rich purple blooms appear nearly black and boast a creamy white outer margin. The overall effect is mesmerizing.

Mixed Calla Lilies

Mixed: Experience a variety of flower colors with this hybrid mix. It may include flowers in white, pink, red, yellow or purple. They'll add color and excitement to the garden, containers and bouquets.

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