Best Fertilizer for Calla Lilies (Plus 12 Tips For Applying Fertilizers)

The calla lily flower grows beautifully in flower beds or indoor plant pots, and when it blooms, you end up with a breath-taking lily-like flower that comes in different colors, depending on the hybrid. Luckily, this is an excellent flower for beginner gardeners because it doesn’t need much care. So, what is the best fertilizer for calla lilies and when should you apply it?

Once the flowering shoots appear, you should use plant food every three to four weeks until the leaves start to die. Calla lilies need a phosphorus-rich fertilizer with a high potassium content to help the flowers bloom. Although regular fertilizing is essential for the plant’s growth, applying too much fertilizer and overfeeding the plant will eventually kill it.

If you’re interested in growing calla lilies, keep on reading this article. We’ll share the best growing and fertilizing tips that will help you enjoy these gorgeous flowers for the longest period possible.

What is the Best Fertilizer for Calla Lilies?

Calla lily flower in white pot

Calla lilies hold a unique emotional and spiritual significance as they’re strongly connected to emotions, and this explains why these flowers are widely used in weddings as well as funerals. They also come in different attractive colors, so you can pick a suitable hybrid to bring color to your indoor or outdoor landscape design.

To make sure that your flowers are growing healthily, you need to make sure that you’re applying the right plant food at the right time. Fertilizers strengthen the plant and help it overcome pests and diseases that can kill the blooms and stop the growth of the foliage.

Phosphorus-rich fertilizers are suitable for calla lilies because they provide the needed nutrients and improve the soil conditions to help the leaves and flowers grow healthily. Moreover, the plant food you pick should provide the plant with an adequate amount of potassium.

Potassium is crucial for the development of flowers and will help the plant recover after you cut any flowers if you’re interested in creating a cut flower arrangement. As a result, the flowers will start growing again quickly.

How Do You Apply A Fertilizer to Your Calla Lilies?

Several types of fertilizers can work to make your calla lilies bloom faster and last longer. Whether you’re using a homemade organic fertilizer or a store-bought one, there are a few tips that you should follow while fertilizing your calla lilies.

Picture pf a woman's hand holding soil from a pot
  • Pick the correct type of soil or potting mix to grow your calla lilies. When the soil is poor, you’ll have to add more plant food to help the plant grow and the flowers bloom, but if the soil is already of high quality, you should use the fertilizer at your own discretion to avoid over-feeding problems.
  • Perform a soil test to see if the soil has enough calcium. If the levels of calcium are too low, apply bone meal to your calla lilies.
  • Add gypsum or lime at least six months before planting the new roots to fix the pH level and prepare the soil for the calla lilies.
  • Start feeding your calla lilies when they’re planted and through the springtime, especially if you’re using a homemade compost to feed your flowers. However, note that homemade compost isn’t the best option to feed your calla lilies because you can’t control the amount of nutrients in the fertilizer.
  • Stick to a high phosphorus fertilizer to provide the blooms with the needed nutrition.
  • Liquid fertilizers are easier to apply because you can easily mix the plant food with water while you’re watering your calla lilies.
  • Avoid nitrogen-rich fertilizers because they reduce flowers, although they encourage the growth of foliage.
  • Always provide your calla lilies with enough water because these blooms shouldn’t be left to dry out.
  • Remember that too much fertilizer won’t help the plant because you should pay attention to the calla lilies’ needs.
  • Apply the recommended amount according to the manufacturer’s instructions but keep an eye on your plant. You might need to apply a smaller or a bigger amount depending on the plant’s needs.
  • Make sure that you don’t overwater calla lilies because too much water with concentrated nutrients will burn the roots.
  • Stop fertilizing your calla lilies when the flowers start to open. Applying too many nutrients during this stage will eventually cause bulb rot.

When Should You Apply the Fertilizer to Your Calla Lilies?

You should start applying the fertilizer as soon as the flower buds appear and then keep an eye on the plant. If you notice that the flowers aren’t growing steadily, then you need to apply more plant food. However, you should also avoid adding more plant food if the flowers are growing steadily.

Some calla lily hybrids are known for their early production of blooms. In this case, the flowers start to appear between February and June, and this is when you should apply the fertilizer. Other hybrids are known for late production and start blooming between April and October, so this is when you should use the fertilizer.

During the first period, you might need to apply the fertilizer more often, usually every 10 to 15 days, and then wait to see how the plant is reacting. If you see that the flowers are blooming, you might have to reapply the plant food less often.

How Can You Tell That Your Calla Lilies Need a Fertilizer?

Even if you’re a beginner gardener with no previous experience growing flowering plants, calla lilies will show you some warning signs to tell you that it’s time to apply fertilizer.

Close up image of a wilting Calla lily flower - used in article titled Best Fertilizer for Calla Lilies
  • The foliage grows slowly on your plant, especially with the spring arrival. This is a sign that the calla lilies are suffering from a nitrogen deficit.
  • If the flowers don’t bloom or fall too early, this indicates that your calla lilies are suffering from low phosphorus or potassium levels.
  • The leaves have brown edges or a burned look, which is a sign that the plant needs fertilizing. Discoloration of the foliage is also a sign that you need to apply a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
  • The leaves are growing, but the flowers aren’t blooming. This is a tell-tale sign that your calla lilies are suffering a phosphorus deficit or that the fertilizer you’re using is providing the plant with too much nitrogen.

How to Fertilize Calla Lilies Annually?

In addition to fertilizing calla lilies every spring, you need to apply food to nourish the plant every year. If you live in a warm southern climate, calla lilies can remain in the soil all year long, and in this case, they’ll produce foliage annually.

Wait until October or November and use fertilizer sticks to slowly release nutrients into the soil. These sticks should be inserted deep into the soil to provide enough nutrients that would reach the roots and help them survive.

Applying mulch over the roots will keep them nourished and maintain the soil’s moisture throughout winter. You can also use an organic slow-release plant food that releases the nutrients slowly into the soil, providing the calla lilies with the essential nutrients.

Using bone meal and a high-phosphorus fertilizer will be appropriate because they will keep the roots alive. However, if you live in a colder climate, you’ll have to remove the roots and store them in a cool, dry place until the last frost has passed.

Wrap Up

Calla lilies are incredible flowers, and applying the right type of fertilizer will keep them in perfect health. These flowers need to be fertilized before the blooming season to encourage the growth of the blooms.

You should stick to a phosphorus-rich fertilizer instead of nitrogen-rich plant food that will encourage the growth of foliage but will prevent the flowers from growing. You should also pay attention to your calla lilies because applying too many nutrients and overfeeding your plant is just as bad as not applying plant food.

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