How to Maintain Calla Lilies

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The calla lily is not a true lily — it is a member of the species Zantedeschia. Calla lilies bloom but with no true petals. The bloom of the calla lily is a spathe that looks like a trumpet. The calla lily is a tender perennial and cannot winter outdoors in areas where the temperatures will drop below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. In areas with cold winters, you must grow the calla lily indoors or dig up the plant’s rhizomes and store them indoors.

Moderately Easy


things you’ll need:
  • Flower pot
  • Potting Soil
  • Small garden spade
  • Watering can
  • Water-soluble fertilizer
  • Small garden spade
  • Garden hose
  • Rain gauge
  • 15-30-15 fertilizer
  • Gallon bucket
  • 1 cup scooper
  • Pruning shears

Growing Calla Lilies Indoors

  1. Fill a flower pot, to within 1 inch of the top, with potting soil. Make a 3-inch-deep hole in the potting soil with a small garden spade. Place the rhizome in the hole and backfill with soil.
  2. Water with a small amount of water to keep the soil barely moist. To check if you are giving the plant the correct amount of water, pick up some soil in your hand. Try to form the soil into a ball. If it retains it shape, it is too damp, so you need to cut back on watering. The soil should break apart if rolled in a ball shape although it should feel moist.
  3. Place the pot in a sunny area once the plant sprouts. A bright, southern-exposed window sill is a good choice for a calla lily plant.
  4. Water the calla lily more often after sprouting. Water the plant every three days with a watering can. The soil should be evenly moist to the touch at all times.
  5. Fertilize the calla lily with a water-soluble fertilizer. Pour the manufacturer’s recommended amount of fertilizer in the soil around the base of the plant. The amount of fertilizer will depend on plant size and pot size. Fertilize the calla lily every other month during the growing season.
  6. Remove all the dead leaves once the plant is done blooming for the year. Dig up the rhizome from the soil. Empty the flower pot and refill with potting soil. Replant the rhizome and continue to care for it just like the first planting. After resting, the calla lily will rebloom.

Growing Calla Lilies Outdoors

  1. Dig a hole in the garden soil 4 to 6 inches deep, with a small garden spade. Place the rhizome into the hole and backfill with the garden soil. Plant the rhizomes no closer than 12 inches apart.
  2. Water the soil with a garden hose. Calla lilies need moist soil to grow. Use a rain gauge to ensure the garden is getting at least 1 inch of rain water per week. Make up any missing water with a garden hose at the end of the week.
  3. Fertilize the calla lilies with a commercial 15-30-15 fertilizer. Dissolve 2 tbsp. fertilizer in a gallon of water. Pour 1 cup of the fertilizer mixture 4 inches away from each calla lily plant.
  4. Cut the calla lily plant 2 inches from the ground after the first frost. Use a pair of pruning shears to cut straight across the leaves of the plant. Dig up the rhizome from the ground using a small garden shovel or spade. Place the rhizome in a warm and dry area for two weeks.
  5. Wait until the rhizome is dry — about two weeks — and place the rhizome in a bucket of potting soil. Place the bucket in a garage or cellar until the chance of frost is over in the spring. Replant the calla lily as you did the year before.

Tips & Warnings

  • The calla lily is poisonous if ingested. If you know or suspect anyone ingested any part of this plant, call the poison control center immediately.

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