How to Care For a Calla Lily – Easy Planting and Growing Tips

If you don’t know how to care for a calla lily, you’re missing out on a lot of beauty! These flowers are their own sense of beauty, with graceful petals wrapped around long green stalks. It’s hard not to fall in love with them.

Caring for calla lilies is relatively easy compared to other flowers. They love warm climates, and they need a lot of light to survive. They thrive best in moist soils, and they only need watering around once a week.

If you’re getting a couple of calla lilies for your house, here’s a complete care guide!

White calla lily with leaf isolated on white.

How to Care for a Calla Lily: A Full Care Guide

Most flowers are easy to take care of, and calla lilies aren’t an exception. If you know their basic requirements, you should be fine because they don’t need anything extra. Plus, they’re not needy in general.

Water

Calla lilies don’t need frequent watering. Only once weekly is fine, and you can add one more time per week if the weather is too hot. It’s also better to start this routine after the rhizomes are already well-rooted. Before that, only water them when needed.

Bear in mind that indoor flowers typically need more water because their soil dries out faster. So, if you’re putting your calla lilies inside, watch them for signs of dryness.

At the same time, avoid overwatering the flowers because their roots may rot.

Light

Calla lilies are originally tropical, so they need a lot of light to survive. Depending on the weather, they can stay in whole light or under partial shade. For example, if the weather is mildly hot, you can put them under full sunlight.

On the other hand, if the weather is too hot and humid, it’s better to place them in partial shade because the temperature may be too much for them.

Temperature

Calla lilies are initially from South Africa, so they thrive in warm temperatures. Try to keep their room between 60–80 degrees Fahrenheit, and try to keep the air humid. Because these flowers grow near water ponds, they’re used to moisture in the air.

If you live in a dry town, you can install a modifier in the flowers’ room to keep its weather suitable for their growth.

Keep in mind that it’s essential to maintain a high temperature because cold causes calla lilies to go dormant. They can eventually die if the weather gets icy.

Soil

The original habitat of calla lilies is swamps and near water ponds, so they need moist, soggy soil to thrive. They love the consistent moisture, and they can’t handle a moment of dryness. That’s why the soil should be well-drained with an excellent ability to retain moisture. 

Generally, when buying the soil for your calla lilies, choose a blend that’s organically rich. But take care that their love for moisture doesn’t mean they can handle overwatering. Overwatering can cause their roots to rot; they’re only okay with the soil’s moisture.

Fertilizer

If you want to see your Calla lilies flowering beautifully, you should ideally fertilize them right after planting. But make sure to avoid using nitrogen-heavy fertilizers because they can negatively impact your flowers. You’ll do well with balanced fertilizers. 

Finally, try to fertilize your plants at the beginning of every spring since this is the lilies’ growing season.

Pruning

Pruning gives plants a neat look, and it’s essential for many flowers. However, calla lilies don’t need constant pruning. You can merely remove the wilted parts now and then, and it’ll do. More so, you can use your fingertips to pinch the flower’s stems instead of pruning them.

With that being said, if you live in a warm area, you should cut your flower to the ground level after the growing season passes. You’ll also want to get rid of the plant debris to keep your garden looking all nice and clean. This way, your lilies will grow in the spring and flower more than before.

Pests and Diseases

Like all other flowers, calla lilies have their fair share of common diseases. The most common ones are bacterial soft rot and botrytis. The former attacks rhizomes, while the latter affects the leaves, stems, and petals by growing a grey mold over them.

But the good news is that you can reduce the risk of your plant getting those diseases. First, you should never overwater your plants because bacteria and fungus love moisture. Secondly, you should plant your flowers with large spaces between them to improve the air circulation.

Some pests also annoy calla lilies to a great extent, like slugs, spider mites, aphids, and other insects. You can get rid of those using horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.

Calla lily in a pot, isolated on white

How Can I Propagate My Calla Lily?

To propagate your calla lilies, you can grow the flowers from seeds or divide their rhizomes. This is because when those flowers grow, they form big clumps that you can divide into different plants.

Ideally, you should divide the lily’s rhizomes when its growing season ends. You’ll know that it’s here by detecting yellow and dying foliage in your garden. And most probably, the growing season will end around early autumn. After those months, your lilies will go into dormancy till the growing season come again.

After dividing the rhizomes, you’ll notice that your lilies will grow much faster than those growing from seeds.

Here are the steps you should follow to propagate your Calla lily rhizomes successfully.

  • Cut a circle around your lilies’ roots with a shovel
  • Pull the plant rhizomes up
  • Brush off the root you just pulled to get rid of the dirt
  • Place your root in a well-ventilated and shadowed area
  • Wait for a few days without watering it

When you check your root after a few days, you’ll notice that they’re all dried out. This is when you’ll need a knife to divide the rhizomes. It’s worth mentioning that each one of the rhizomes should have a growing root.

After that, you can replace your rhizome in fertilized soil but leave a space of about six inches between it and your other plants. Conversely, you can plant it in a container.

How to Grow Calla Lily From Seeds

Calla lilies take about two to three years to bloom if you grow them from seeds. However, they require pre-growing first. You can do that by putting the seeds on a damp towel and covering them. Then, you should put the closed towel in a cool place for a few days and wait to see any growth.

After you take the seeds, you should ideally place them in a well-draining pot with a soilless medium. But don’t overcrowd the pots; two seeds in each one will suffice. 

And after they grow, you should take the weaker ones away and leave only one seed in the pot. It’s essential to keep the medium humid and wait for growth for a couple of weeks.

wilting calla lily

Common Problems With Calla Lilies

Other than the annoying pests and dangerous diseases, there are a few common problems that you might face if you grow calla lilies. Here’s a brief roundup.

Yellow Leaves 

Like all plants, calla lilies start showing signs of distress when there’s not enough water. If you don’t provide enough, they won’t bloom, and the leaves will turn yellow and eventually wilt. If you want to have healthy and flowering foliage, you should regularly water your flowers and put them in a sunny area.

Drooping Stems and Flowers

If your calla lily droops, then you’re either overwatering it or not giving it enough water. If the latter is the case, your flower will turn back to normal after watering it. But overwatering will give your plant diseases, and it might not bloom usually. 

To help your plant recover from drooping, you should uproot it, remove black roots, and replace it in a well-draining container.

Now that you know how to care for a calla lily, it shouldn’t be too hard to do so. As long as you provide enough water, keep it in a sunny area, and choose moist soil, all should be well.