Calla Lilies are gorgeous garden and indoor flowering plants. With their elegant, cup-shaped, elongated flowers, tall stems, and speckled foliage, they’re an excellent choice for a gift. If you received one for a special occasion, you might be wondering, how long do Calla Lily plants last?
Calla Lilies are sometimes regarded as annuals that flower once and are then tossed. However, if you give your Calla Lilies the proper care they need and the right growing conditions, you’ll be enjoying these perennial beauties for years on end.
In this article, we’ll discuss how long it takes for Calla Lily plants to flower, how to care for them, and how to store them over winter to enjoy them for coming years.
When Do Calla Lilies Flower And for How Long?
Calla Lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) are perennial flowering plants, which means they can survive or go dormant over the winter, then flower again in the spring.
Their flowering schedule changes based on the hardiness zone your state is located in. If you’re located in the 8–10 hardiness zone, your Calla Lilies will flower in late spring to early summer.
If you live between hardiness zone 3–7, you can take them indoors for the winter and replant the tubers in late spring, but they won’t flower before early fall.
Their flowering phase lasts anywhere between 3 and 8 weeks. They come in exquisite shades that range from pure white to vibrant pinks to dark maroons, as well as yellow and orange varieties.
Are Calla Lilies Easy to Grow and Take Care Of?
Calla Lily plants are very easy to grow. They require minimal intervention and can grow up to 3 feet in one growing season. They don’t require much besides sun exposure, regular watering, and a phosphorus-rich growing medium.
Calla Lily flowers also happen to fare well in the vase, with a long vase life of up to 2 weeks. Just make sure you pull rather than cut their stems, preferably in the cool morning or evening, so their sap doesn’t dry as fast.
However, you should be aware that the plant sap is toxic to humans and pets. This is why Calla Lily is not recommended as an indoor or garden plant for someone with small children or pets.
That being said, you should also wear gardening gloves when cutting stems or picking flowers to protect your skin while tending to the plant.
What Are the Best Conditions to Grow Calla Lilies?
Native to Africa, Calla Lilies thrive in tropical climates and warm winter areas. They require partial shade if you’re located in an area where summers are hot (zones 8–10), but if you’re in a cooler area (zones 3–7), full sun exposure is preferred.
Calla Lily plants need moist, well-drained, phosphorus-rich soil to thrive. They don’t require excessive watering, as having too-moist of a planting medium can cause them to rot.
Avoid planting in soil with high nitrogen content, as the Calla Lily plant will have very green, lush foliage with no flowers. Instead, add phosphorus-rich plant food to their watering can and use it once a month to maintain their health.
Calla Lilies can do great as potted plants, just avoid using plain garden soil as their growing medium, instead opt for a high-quality potting mix. Put them near a well-lit window, but avoid putting them in direct sunlight as they don’t do well in overheated areas.
How to Overwinter Your Calla Lily Plant?
Overwintering is the practice of storing your flower tuber during the winter season, or until the last frost of the season has passed, to replant it in the following spring. This process can happen naturally, but in the case of flowering plants, you’ll need to lend a hand.
After the flowers begin to fade in late fall, start deadheading your Calla Lilies to avoid any energy moving from the rhizomes to the flower for seed formation. You’ll also need to trim the stems to 1–2 inches and allow the leaves to die back for about 2 months.
If you live in hardiness zones 8–10, you can leave the tuber in the ground all through winter. However, this can’t be done if you live in a place where there’s a danger of frost.
In this case, you’ll trim the Calla tuber, clean it, dry it, and store it in a box with slightly damp peat moss. This will ensure the tuber doesn’t shrivel or rot. It’s always wise to check on the tuber every once in a while to make sure it’s still in good condition to replant in the following spring.
Once the last frost has passed, and/or when soil temperature exceeds 65℉ (18℃), you can replant your Calla Lily tuber. Just make sure the “eyes” of the tuber are facing upwards.
You can expect the first shoot to appear after about 2 weeks. It usually takes 13-16 weeks for Calla Lily tubers to flower, depending on the cultivar.
Does Overwintering Affect Calla Lily Plants?
It’s normal for Calla Lily plants in hardiness zones 3–7 to have fewer flowers after overwintering, and some might fail to flower altogether.
This comes down to the temperatures tolerated by the cultivar, as well as the strength of the individual rhizome you’re replanting. You can do everything correctly and still end up with fewer flowers than the previous season.
There’s one instance when you can do something about the yield. After 2–3 seasons, it’s wise to divide the plant into 3–4 sections, to avoid crowded rhizomes. This will help your Calla Lilies flower even more the following season because each shoot is receiving proper nutrition from the soil.
What Are the Most Common Pests That Affect Calla Lily Plants?
The biggest enemy of Calla Lily plants is soft rot, which happens due to overwatering and poor drainage of the soil or potting mix. This usually presents in the form of weak, soft stems that lean towards the soil, black spots, and tubers that produce an offensive smell.
Calla Lilies can also fall victim to aphids, which are minute insects that feed on the plant’s sap. These usually produce a sticky substance called honeydew. To get rid of them, you should spray the plant with non-toxic insecticide regularly until all of them are gone.
Tips to Grow Calla Lilies in the Garden
- Use moist, but well-drained soil.
- Use rotting compost or manure to fertilize the flower bed before planting.
- Water regularly, but avoid drenching the plant.
- Use liquid plant food in a watering can once a month.
- Prune any dead leaves or rotting stems.
- Remove the tubers before frost starts to avoid killing the plant.
Tips to Grow Calla Lilies Indoors
- Use a good quality potting mix.
- Place in a well-lit area, but keep away from intense sunlight.
- Place the plant away from AC vents or heating vents.
- Keep away from the reach of small children and pets.
- Make sure the soil is well-drained to avoid soft rot.
- Place in an individual container, not with other plants.
To Wrap Up – How Long Do Calla Lily Plants Last
Calla Lily plants are a sight to behold, with long stems, eye-catching colors, and full, long leaves that make the plant a beautiful addition to any garden or household.
They’ve been linked to fertility and motherhood from the times of Ancient Greece, owing to their uniquely-shaped flowers.
While relatively easy to care for, Calla Lilies need special conditions to live up to their perennial nature. Once you find out which hardiness zone your state belongs to, just make sure to follow the steps provided in the article, and you’re guaranteed a gorgeous plant that will bloom year after year.
Just keep in mind the schedule required to prune, dry, and store your Calla Lily tubers, and you can replant them right as the weather gets warmer. This way you’ll enjoy their full bloom come summertime.