How Do You Preserve a Calla Lily Bouquet? (Simple, Practical Tips)

One of the best parts about having loved ones is when they give you gifts. Especially if that gift is a big beautiful bouquet of Calla lilies. Calla lilies brighten up any space they’re in and add a soft, sweet floral scent. The only problem is that they don’t last long.

Calla lilies bloom for about three to eight weeks. To make them last a little longer, you can place them in water and add plant preservatives. You can also dry them out and preserve them in tiny picture frames.

If you just got a gift and are wondering how do you preserve a Calla lily bouquet, it’s simple. Let’s take a look at the different types of bouquets and what you can do to make them last longer.

burgundy calla liliy bouquet

Meaning of Calla Lilies

Calla lilies are flowering plants native to southern Africa. They like to grow in hot humid environments, that get plenty of sunlight.

People have used Calla lilies for centuries. There are records of Calla lilies given out as gifts as far back as ancient Greece. And, because the flower was so beautiful, many would give them as offerings in prayers. Calla is actually the Greek word for beauty.

Calla lilies have strong ties to the Greek Goddess Hera. Many people believe that Hera was responsible for creating the plant. This lead them to think Calla lilies had special properties. They would grind up the plant and use them in all sorts of concoctions.

The ancient Greeks would boil the flower and drink the tea. They thought it would heal them and give them strength. After a little research, we discovered that the flower didn’t have any healing abilities. But another part of the plant did.

Rhizomes are the part of the stem that grows underground. And, people still use it in homeopathic medicine to this day. They boil the rhizomes with milk to make wound dressings.

Once a year, Calla lilies will bloom a single petal. The petal is quite large and brightly colored. It keeps growing until it wraps around itself, creating the iconic trumpet shape. Calla lilies aren’t actually part of the lily family. We call them lilies because of the shape of their petal.

Nowadays, we use Calla lilies to show affection. Because of their bright flower, people like to give and receive Calla lilies as gifts. The best thing about these lilies is they come in a bunch of colors. This means that you can probably find a lily for any occasion.

The lilies come in many colors: white, orange, yellow, pink, and dark maroon. Each one of the colors has a special meaning:

  • White: Purity and innocence
  • Orange: Elegance and confidence
  • Yellow: Gratitude, joy, growth, and change
  • Pink: Admiration, appreciation, and flirting
  • Dark maroon: Passion and intensity

So, when you get a Calla lily bouquet, it could be saying a lot more than what the person wrote on the card.

white calla lily bouquet

Calla Lily Bouquets Types

There are a few different types of Calla lily bouquets:

  1. De-rooted

As you’ve probably guessed, de-rooted means the Calla lilies no longer have roots. This usually happens when someone picks a Calla lily from their own garden.

Most people won’t take the time to carefully dig out the Calla lily, and will just rip it out of the ground. This will remove most of the roots, and then the rest fall off.

De-rooted Calla lilies have a very rustic look and can be adorable as gifts. The main issue is, once you’ve removed all the roots, the lily’s ability to absorb water will decrease. With little water, the lily won’t be able to survive for long and can usually last about a week.

  1. De-leafed

This is the most common type of commercial Calla lily bouquet. Growers will remove the leaves of the lily as soon as it’s in full bloom.

Florists remove the leaves gently with garden shears. The florist will take extra care not to damage the stem in the process.

Removing the leaves makes the Calla lily look tall, slender, and elegant. De-leafed Calla lilies are popular for large events when you want to go for a classy flower.

While Calla lilies ‌look more polished without their leaves, this affects their life-cycle. Calla lilies can grow new leaves in the soil, but once they’re plucked out, it’s difficult. Especially if you remove the roots while de-leafing.

  1. De-stemmed

Sometimes to fill out a bouquet, florists will remove the stem of a Calla lily. This gives the florist more control over the height of the flower. 

Calla lilies can grow to about 6 or 8 inches tall. So, to make them even and uniform, you need to chop a little off the bottom of the stem.

How short the stem is will affect how long the Calla lily will stay in bloom. Stems of lilies hold extra water. The lily will use this water to stay plump and fresh. The shorter the stem, the faster a Calla lily will wilt.

wite-pink calla lily bouquet

How to Make Your Bouquet Last Longer?

Now, depending on what type of bouquet you have, your options will be a little different.

Drying Out the Calla Lily Bouquet

With a de-stemmed Calla lily, there isn’t much you can do. The flower will quickly wilt and will only last for about a day. What you can do is fill a plastic container with water and place the lily inside.

The Calla lily will absorb some of the water and plump up. After about 15 to 20 minutes, take the lily out and place it on a paper towel. Gently pat the Calla lily dry, to remove any excess water.

Now, your Calla lily should look as fresh as it’s going to get. Next, what you want to do is sandwich the flower between two flat surfaces. You could use a book here, but pick a book you don’t pick up often.

Firmly squish the Calla lily flat between the two surfaces. And now you wait. Drying your Calla lilies can take a while. Usually, it’ll take anywhere from a month to three months. Once it’s fully dry, you can take it out and display it, or even make potpourri.

With de-leafed and de-rooted flowers, you have a couple more options. The first thing you should do is cut an inch or two off the bottom of the steam. Then lightly sear the tip of the stem in a hot pan. This will lock the water inside the stem.

Planting the Calla Lilies in Water

Another good option is to place them in a vase full of water and add plant preservatives. This should keep them fresh for a few extra days. The plant can’t re-grow without leaves, but it’ll last a while longer.

Then, once the Calla lilies start wilting, you can dry them out like the de-stemmed ones.

If you’re lucky enough to get lilies with a few roots still attached, you can try re-planting. Replanting rarely works, but you can give it a shot. Just make sure to give them plenty of sunlight and water. And, if it takes more than a week, it’s probably not going to work.

Wrapping Up – How Do You Preserve a Calla Lily Bouquet?

Getting a flower bouquet is always very exciting, especially if they’re Calla lilies. Calla lilies are beautiful bright flowers that come in many colors.

Depending on what type of bouquet you get, preserving it will be a little different. The main thing to note is that you can’t re-grow a dead plant. Once a part of the flower is gone, that’s it.

But there are a few things you can do to make the bouquet last longer. You can sear the tip of the stem or use water and plant preservatives.

No matter what method you choose, it’s probably going to end with you having to dry the flowers. But, that’s a great thing. Dry Calla lilies are incredibly pretty and you can use them to make potpourri.