How to Grow Calla Lilies


The calla lily is an example of an old world flower that has undergone a transformation through selective cultivation. Originally white, it is now available in a rainbow of colors from palest pink and yellow to deepest purple. Miniature varieties are also popular. A native of South Africa, the calla lily is a favorite in bouquets and has a distinctive wrapped shape that is a welcome note of simplicity in the garden. It is easy to grow and can overwinter outdoors in areas that don’t experience a hard frost (zones 7 to 10). Calla lilies also make interesting and attractive houseplants that add designer appeal to a bare corner.



things you’ll need:
  • Moist, sandy soil

Growing Calla Lilies Outdoors

  1. Plant calla lily tubers, which are similar to bulbs, at a depth of 4 inches in moist, porous soil in spring. Calla lilies do best when kept where the soil is loose and wet.
  2. Make sure that the pointed or tapering end of the tuber is facing up.
  3. Space plants 12 to 14 inches apart.
  4. Provide partial shade in areas that experience hot summers. Locations where hostas thrive are a good location for calla lilies.
  5. Offer plants a layer mulch to help retain moisture.
  6. Water tubers frequently until shoots appear.
  7. Divide established plants in spring.

Growing Calla Lilies Indoors

  1. Fill a deep, 6-inch pot with rich potting soil.
  2. Bury a calla lily tuber to a depth of 4 inches in the pot with the pointed end of the tuber facing upward.
  3. Saturate the potting soil with warm water.
  4. Place the pot in a warm, shady spot until the first calla lily shoots appear.
  5. Gradually introduce the calla lily to a sunny location. In all but the hottest areas, a western or southern exposures should provide enough light.
  6. Keep the pot evenly moist throughout the growing season. If regular watering is a problem, consider installing a wicking system.

Tips & Warnings

  • To help retain moisture, mulch potted calla lilies with a layer of moss, marbles or pebbles.

  • Calla lilies are also known as trumpet lilies.

  • Calla lilies do particularly well in low lying areas near downspouts or other spots that tend to stay muddy or boggy.

  • The scientific name of the calla lily is Zantedeschia and it belongs to the same botanical family as the caladium (elephant ears). Although it is commonly called a lily, it isn’t a member of the lily family.

  • Calla lilies can’t tolerate freezing conditions. In cold climates, bring plants indoors to overwinter.

  • Calla lilies contain calcium oxalate crystals, poisonous compounds that can be dangerous to pets, livestock or children who may accidentally ingest them.

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