How to Plant and Care for Calla Lilies
Calla lilies grow from summer bulbs, which means that they rebloom every year from the same perennial bulb-and-root system. The bulbs may grow into plants that bear red, white, pink, purple, orange or yellow blooms, but always require the right growing conditions. As with many other bulb plants, calla lilies are relatively straightforward when it comes to growing, but only if they get the right planting site and soil.
- Moderately Easy
things you’ll need:
- Start calla planting based on your growing zone. In United States Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 7 and above, plant calla bulbs in the fall to give them the cold resting period they require. In Zone 6 and lower, where winters will kill calla bulbs, plant them in early spring, just before the last frost.
- Find sites where the callas will get full to partial sun or dappled sunshine. These plants bloom best in sunshine, but will grow in partial lighting if they have enough space and nutrition.
- Prepare growing sites every 1 to 2 feet in your bed to give the callas room to grow. Mix 3 inches of organic compost into the top 6 inches of soil in each site to add nutrition, drainage and moisture retention to the soil. Callas grow best in consistently moist, but not soggy, soil.
- Plant calla bulbs 1 to 2 inches deep, cover them with amended soil and water each bulb until the water soaks down into the soil below the bulb. Stick your finger into the soil around each planting to measure watering depth.
- Mulch the entire calla bed with 2 inches of organic compost to maintain soil warmth and moisture, then leave the bulbs alone.
- Water calla lilies every week once they begin to bloom. Water the plants until the water reaches a depth of 3 inches. Use your finger or a ruler to measure water depth in the soil. Don’t let these plants go dry, as they will wilt and fail.
- Deadhead callas to encourage continued blooming during their growing season. Cut flowers when they open for indoor vases, or leave them on the plant and cut them when they fade.
- Allow calla foliage to yellow and die on the plant, then cut if off. As the foliage dies back, it gathers nutrition for the bulb, for the next year’s blooming.
- Dig up and store calla bulbs if you live in Zone 6 or below. Allow the foliage to die back, then dig the bulbs and store them in a box filled with topsoil. Keep the box in a dark, cool place for the winter, and replant in spring.