Do Calla Lilies Spread? Detailed Calla Lily Propagation Guide

Calla lilies are among the most fascinating decorative plants out there with their astonishingly pretty flowers, also known as blossoms. Since we can’t get enough of those beauties, you might be wondering whether your plant can spread in your garden. So, do calla lilies spread?

Calla lilies can spread and multiply naturally, which happens by giving rise to new bulbs in nearby soil. However, the growth rate of these bulbs isn’t too quick or requires heavy maintenance. These bulbs will start to grow until it becomes a completely new plant that you can actually dig up and plant somewhere else.

If you want to know more about the calla lilies spread and how to divide it to get a new plant, you’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading as we tackle all this information in the following guide!

Calla lilies in a flower field

How Do Calla Lilies Spread?

As previously mentioned, calla lilies can reproduce and multiply to spread in nearby areas, so here’s how that works.

Calla lily is an angiosperm that belongs to the family “Araceae”. This plant reproduces through the process of “alternation of generations”. In this process, the plant alternates between two stages called “gametophyte” and “sporophyte” phases.

The spread simply happens when the pollen produced from the anther of the plant “male reproductive organ” reaches the pistil “female reproductive organ”, whether it’s of the same plant or a nearby calla lily plant, which leads to fertilization of the pollen and creating seeds.

These seeds then fall into nearby soil, which initiates the germination process of the seed. Upon maturation, the seed produces a new bulb, giving rise to a completely new plant. In fact, you can actually take this new calla lily plant and grow it elsewhere.

calla lilies on rocks - Do Calla Lilies Spread
Beautiful nature background: White calla lilies in a pond

How Fast Does a Calla Lily Plant Spread?

The rate of spreading of calla lily plants depends on a variety of factors. For example, a suitable environment with rich soil that is capable of sustaining multiple calla lily plants is considered an excellent medium to encourage calla lily plants to grow.

However, even in excellent natural conditions, the rate of spreading among calla lily plants is not remarkably fast. 

For example, after calla lily settles in the soil, it may take up to 2 weeks for the seeds to germinate and produce their first shoot and root. 

After that, it’ll take up to 16 weeks (4 months) of maturation until the rhizomes in the soil are capable of producing flowers or blossoms.

As you can see, the rate of natural growth of calla lilies is pretty slow and non-invasive, which makes its spread remarkably easy to manage if you don’t want more calla lilies in your garden.

pink calla lilies in a garden
Beautiful pink calla lily flowers in springtime

How to Speed Up Calla Lilies Spreading

Now that you know that the natural rate of spreading of calla lilies is pretty limited, you might be wondering how to make sure that your calla lilies spread quickly. Ideally, there are two ways to approach this, which are the natural and artificial routes.

The Natural Method

If you want to do it the natural way, you’ll need to make sure that the plant is getting all its necessary requirements in order to thrive. 

In other words, you need to create an environment that is similar to its natural habitat, which encourages the plant to mature and thrive as quickly as possible. To achieve this, you need to keep the condition at which the plant is living in mind, such as:

  • Soil: Make sure that the soil is well draining and contain essential nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, nitrogen, zinc, etc. the soil should also be kept within a pH level of 5.5 to 6.0
  • Water: Remember to water the plant around once a week so that the topmost 1 inch layer of the plant is constantly moist without overwatering the plant and suffocating the roots
  • Lights: Keep the calla lily in partial or preferably full shade (especially if summers are relatively cool in your area)

Even with these conditions, make sure that you also have a good variety of plant that has a high affinity to spread.

The Artificial Method

The artificial way usually depends on utilizing artificial plant hormones in order to push the plant to its limit in order to spread its seeds and grow as quickly as possible.

Keep in mind that even with hormones, you still need to consider all the elements of the natural way to encourage a healthy plant. 

Additionally, experimenting with plant hormones may cause drastic effects on your plant, so you should proceed with caution or leave it to a professional gardener.

Why Aren’t My Calla Lilies Spreading?

We’ve previously established that the rate of spreading can vary from one variety of calla lily to another. 

Not only that, but natural conditions and the environment of the plant also have a lot to do with the rate of spreading of the plant.

If your plant isn’t spreading properly, you should first check the conditions at which the plant grows and make sure that it’s within optimal ranges. 

If that alone doesn’t work, you might want to opt for a professional gardener to help you with the problem.

Can You Propagate Calla Lilies?

There are several ways that you can follow in order to propagate a calla lily plant and get a new one. In this section, we’ll take a quick look at your options:

1. Dividing and Repotting

This is perhaps the most common method that gardeners and homeowners follow in order to spread and propagate their new calla lily plants. 

In fact, if you’re trying to propagate your calla lily for the first time, you should consider this method because it’s pretty easy and has a decent success rate.

To divide your calla lily plant, you’ll need to divide the clumps of the plant before it starts growing during the spring. By doing this, you can easily divide the plant into several new plants that you can repot somewhere else.

Start by digging up a considerable clump of the plant that is already established, then slice through the plant’s roots carefully with a spade. 

This will create smaller clumps of the calla lily plant that you can simply put in a pot and grow somewhere else.

2. Splitting bulbs

In spring, the bulbs of the plant will be dormant. However, these bulbs are, in fact, rhizomes, so you can split them without affecting the plant.

During that time, you’ll be able to cut this part into smaller sections as long as each one has a visible growing bud that can start its own plant.

You can then take these small sections and plant them in a pot and leave them in a spot where conditions are favorable and well taken care of, preferably inside. 

Once the section is established and ready to grow, you can then transfer the plant outside and allow it to grow. This method may take up to a year before the plant starts flowering, which is why the first method is significantly more common.

3. By Planting Seeds

This is by far the most traditional method of propagating a calla lily plant. The method is pretty time-consuming but it also guarantees excellent results because you can try with a wide range of seeds and continue growing the best specimens.

Ideally, you should start collecting the seeds of the calla lily during the fall season and keep them stored in a dry spot through winter. When the spring comes, plant the seeds so that each in one has a space of around 3 inches around it. 

Provide the seed with some water and keep it within a favorable temperature (around 68 to 72 degrees F). 

After a couple of weeks, the seed should grow a shoot. The only drawback of this method is that the plant needs up to 24 months before it reaches flowering maturity.

Wrap Up

With that said, you now have a brief guide with all the necessary information regarding calla lily spreading, dividing, and blooming. 

As you can see, calla lilies will spread naturally through multiplying, which allows them to grow other bulbs from which a new plant will rise.

You can easily transport this new plant to different locations or keep them next to each other to increase the floral density. 

However, always make sure that the soil contains enough nutrition to support all the calla lily plants there.