Are Calla Lilies Perennial or Annual? Important Indicators

Calla Lilies, also known as Zantedeschia, are extremely popular as decorative plants. Despite their name, these plants aren’t real lilies. Yet, they have some of the most beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in a variety of colors. But are calla lilies perennial or annual?

Calla Lily belongs to the Araceae family, so they’re flowering perennial plants. This means that these plants will continue to bloom every year, provided that it gets proper care in the meantime.

If you want to know more about the plant, how it spreads, and when you should expect it to bloom, this article has got you covered! Read on as we answer some of the most curious questions about the life cycle of the amazing calla lily plant!

Are Calla Lilies Perennial or Annual?

A lot of people think that calla lilies are annual plants, although they’re in fact perennial. This is because calla lilies live from year to year and continue to bloom at specific times of the year. 

In that case, all these seasons of blooming and wilting are a part of the life cycle of the same plant.

Annual plants, on the other hand, are short-lived ones. These plants will usually complete their entire life cycle through a single growing season. 

Through that season, the same plant will start to grow until its flowers bloom and release seeds which are precursors to create a new plant.

However, for calla lilies to survive as long as possible as perennials, you need to provide them with optimal care conditions and protect them from frost. 

When Do Calla Lilies Bloom?

The answer to this question depends mainly on the variety of calla lily in question. In fact, there is a wide range of calla lily varieties, although some of them are more popular than others.

Ideally, the vast majority of calla lilies will bloom from the final weeks of spring and continue blooming throughout the rest of the summer months. The flowering period may be as short as 3 weeks and as long as 8 weeks.

In some cases, the flowering period may start in the late summer and last up to the first weeks of the fall. 

Moreover, some varieties of calla lily, such as the yellow-pink and off-white varieties, may bloom in the winter, but they’re not as common as other varieties that bloom in summer.

However, if you’ve planted a calla lily seed, you’ll need to wait for the seed to germinate and produce its first root and shoot, which may take anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the plant’s cultivar.

Additionally, you should know that blooming only occurs when the plant is mature. In calla lilies, this happens when the rhizomes of the plant are (up to 4 months).

Pink calla lilies against green leaves

How to Keep Calla Lilies Blooming for As Long As Possible?

As previously mentioned, the blooming period of calla lilies may vary depending on a wide range of aspects. For starters, some species of calla lily will have a natural tendency to bloom a lot longer than others.

Additionally, most calla lilies will bloom for longer if you keep them within favorable conditions, especially temperature and humidity.

Ideally, calla lilies are classified as hardiness zone 8 to 10. This means that they prefer a mildly warm climate, which is anywhere 60 to 90 degrees F (15 to 25 degrees C). 

However, if you want an optimal temperature range, you need to keep the plant in a spot where temperatures are consistently between 65 to 75 degrees F (18 to 24 degrees C).

As for humidity, you need to keep the plant in a relatively humid environment with plenty of moisture, preferably between 65% to 75%.

How Big Does a Mature Calla Lily Get?

As a perennial plant, calla lily plants don’t grow extremely big like some evergreen plants. However, they can still go to a decent size when they reach the flowering stage (maturity stage).

Of course, the exact size of each variety of the calla lily plant may vary, as some of them are slightly larger than others.

However, most calla lilies are expected to grow anywhere between 2 to 3 feet high (around 60 to 90 cm) and around (10 to 20 inches wide (20 to 50 cm). 

Some variants have their final size limited to the smaller end of the scale when they’re grown naturally without any artificial boosters.

Multicolored calla lilies in garden

How Do Calla Lilies Multiply and Spread?

Calla Lilies reproduce through a process known as “alternation of generation”.  In this process, the plant alternates between two stages, which are known as “gametophyte” and “sporophyte” phases.

Through these phases, the male parts of the plant (anther) will produce pollen that will then land on the female part of the plant (pistil), which can be the same or different calla lily plant, leading to fertilization.

Seeds are then created and spread around in nearby areas. When they fall in suitable soil, these seeds will then germinate and produce a new bulb. After a few months, the plant will mature and produce flowers to continue its cycle.

Are Calla Lilies an Indoor or Outdoor Plant?

Calla lily is originally an outdoor plant. However, one of the best things about this beautiful bulb plant is that you can grow it indoors as well.

This is because calla lily plants can survive in a highly nutrient and well-drained soil like potting mix with perlite.

You might also need further fertilization and nutrition to maintain the plant, but there are very good fertilizers out there that can get the job done. 

Keeping the plant indoors is also a very good idea if you typically live in areas where winter is pretty cold outdoors, as it protects the plant from frosting and drying.

Do Calla Lilies Enter a Dormancy Stage?

Like most perennial bulb plants, calla lilies will enter a dormancy stage at some point every year. This is usually through the winter season, especially for varieties that bloom throughout the summer.

This is because dormancy in calla lilies is mainly associated with the temperature around the plant. It usually starts when temperatures fall below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C).

This dormancy stage usually kicks off right after blooming to store energy for the next blooming season where the plant’s leaves start to turn yellow and then darken in color. The flowers and leaves will usually wilt at that time and some of them will fall off.

This is all-natural and it’s highly recommended that you prune the plant at that stage by removing all the wilted plants to help it get through the dormancy stage quickly and become ready for the next blooming season.

That said, if temperatures fall below freezing points in the winter where you live, you should dig up the plant and keep it somewhere safe during that time because calla lilies will die out irreversibly if they suffer from frost.

White and yellow calla lilies

Should You Cut or Prune Calla Lilies?

One of the main reasons why many people like calla lilies is that they don’t require much pruning. As previously mentioned, the plant doesn’t overgrow and takes a pretty long time to spread around.

Moreover, pruning the plant is usually through the dormancy stage only where you remove all the unhealthy and wilted parts of the plant, such as flowers or leaves. 

Some may also recommend cutting the entire plant down to rhizome level but this isn’t necessary if the plant isn’t damaged.

Final Thoughts – Calla Lily Is a Perennial

There you have it! A brief guide that answers the popular question of whether calla lily is perennial or annual. 

As you can see, calla lily is a perennial plant, so you should keep the plant well maintained in order to enjoy its blooming beauty every year!

You should also expect the plant to bloom anywhere from late spring and across summer for most varieties of the plant, although some may bloom in winter.