Repotting Calla Lily – Detailed Guide

It’s not too difficult to keep a Calla Lilly in your home or garden. This plant is native to South Africa, so it does well in a wide range of climates. Its care routine is quite simple, but there is one aspect of it that needs special attention: repotting Calla lily.        

Repotting these plants the right way is of paramount importance to keep it thriving at all times. Read on to find out all the essential details. From the signs that show that the Calla lily needs a new pot, to the care guide after its transfer. 

pink calla lily in flower pot on white background

When Is It Necessary to Repot a Calla Lily? 

Calla Lilly plants are quite generous with their foliage and flowers. They grace us with their beauty with just a moderate amount of care. Thus, when they start showing distress, that should be a clear sign that they need a big change. 

A potted Calla Lilly that suddenly seems weak, is most probably not getting sufficient nutrition. Yellowing stems, wilted leaves, and the absence of flowers can indicate a lot of things. But more often than not, they point to a root system that doesn’t have any more space to grow.

There are other situations where it is practical, or necessary, to repot this plant. Here are the main reasons why a Calla Lilly would need repotting.  

  • When the plant is root-bound, it can’t get food or moisture. It’s then essential to move it to a bigger pot. You can check this routinely by taking a look at the roots.  
  • If two or more shoots grow in the same pot, they compete for limited resources. They also become quite difficult to prune and clean. Separating them into individual pots is the best way to keep them thriving. 
  • The winter months in hardiness zones below 7 can be devastating for a Calla Lilly. They need to be reduced to their bulbs, then stored throughout the chilly season. Repotting them in the early spring lets them bloom again. 
  • Calla Lillies planted in gardens might need repotting as well. Extreme cold or heat aren’t suitable for them at all. Also, overcrowding in a small patch isn’t a good look. Repotting and relocating them to more suitable locations is important.  
Potted Calla Lily or Arum Lily isolated on white in a side view close up of the fresh green leaves and a single flower with typical white spathe and yellow spadix

How to Repot a Calla Lilly

Some people get so apprehensive about repotting a plant, to the point that they start seeing it becoming lifeless and stunted. That’s because the process seems much too complicated and they worry quite a bit about hurting their plant. 

To make sure that repotting becomes as routine as watering or pruning, we divided the process into five easy steps. Even a brand new gardener wouldn’t go wrong with this guide!

Step 1: Water the Soil Two Days Prior to Repotting 

A hard soil and soggy soil are both difficult to manage. Contrary to that, mildly moist soil is rather easy to work with. 

Thus, it would be wise to water your plant two or three days before repotting. This would naturally depend on the ambient temperature as well. In midsummer, the soil would dry up in a day while in winter it would retain its moisture for much longer. 

The aim is to get a soil consistency that wouldn’t be troublesome to handle. Additionally, if the Cala Lilly has been recently watered, that would decrease its distress during and after the transfer. 

Step 2: Prepare the New Pot 

The new pot for a Calla Lilly should be larger and it needs to have good drainage. Plastic pots, naturally, tops the list of the materials gardeners prefer. It’s lightweight and easy to handle. However, some other materials are also user favorites, such as ceramic pots and stoneware pots

You’d also need a generous amount of gardening soil mix. Since the previous pot is already small, the soil in it wouldn’t suffice. Additionally, the old soil has already lost much of its vitality, thus, using a richer medium would be better. 

A potting mix for indoor plants is often optimal for Calla Lillies. Another practical alternative is the compressed coco coir fiber grow medium. You can also add perlite and compost to enhance the properties of the soil. 

The newly potted Calla Lilly would need to do a lot of growing after the transfer. This is especially true at the beginning of the spring season. Thus, adding an all-purpose fertilizer would help the plant to stay healthy and bloom. 

After mixing and preparing all the ingredients of the soil, fill up the lower part of the pot, and keep the rest of the mix handy for the subsequent steps. 

Step 3: Loosen Up the Soil 

The Calla Lilly that needs repotting might be a single bulb in a small pot, multiple bulbs crowding up a pot, or a bunch of Lillies in a garden patch. Each case should be treated differently. 

If your Calla Lilly is living alone in a tight pot, then it would be so easy to repot it in a bigger one:

  1. Turn the pot upside down while supporting the plant. 
  2. Tap lightly on the pot till the soil block comes off. 
  3. Remove the excess soil and loosen up the compacted roots. 

A number of shoots coming off multiple tubers would need to be separated. Thus, you need to reach the bulb of the Calla Lilly and cut off the roots of each tuber from the others. 

Calla Lillies planted in a garden and needing repotting can easily be uprooted with a shovel. If it’s spring or summertime, they can just go to a new pot. If this is end-of-season overwintering, then they should be reduced to their bulbs and stored. Potting the bulbs later on in the warm season is quite easy. 

Step 4: Transfer the Calla Lilly Into the New Pot

It’s now time to repot the Calla Lilly in the bigger new pot. Hold the whole plant, root, bulb, shoot, and all, and insert it on top of the soil mix. Keep supporting it while adding more of the soil mix on the sides. Press the soil just a little to make it robust but not compact. 

The soil should fill up around two-thirds of the pot. Add a bit more if you think that your plant’s stem requires more support. Just leave two inches from the rim to be able to water the plant properly.   

Step 5: Choose a Nice Location for the Calla Lilly

Calla Lillies come all the way from South Africa where it’s often sunny and warm. The best place for this plant is a half shade if you’re in hardy zones 7-10. 

In hotter climates, it should be treated as a shade plant and placed inside the house. Colder locations would need a brighter spot, out on the porch or beside a large window. It’s not unusual to see Calla Lilly pots placed outside in the garden in places with extra cold weather and short days.   

Pink calla lilies

Caring for a Calla Lilly After Repotting 

Plants usually experience varying degrees of distress after repotting. Some seem a little tired, some don’t grow for a while, while others look seriously lifeless! Fortunately, this doesn’t last for too long. Especially with a bit of extra care.   

A repotted Calla Lilly might need more frequent watering, starting right after the repotting. It could also favor a warmer spot with plenty of light. 

At this point, it’s preferable not to move the plant around at all. It would need a few days to reacquaint itself with its surroundings. And of course, to regrow its roots in the new soil. 

Conclusion – Repotting Calla Lily

Repotting a Calla Lilly isn’t difficult at all. As a matter of fact, it’s a straightforward procedure. Thus, whenever you notice that your plant needs a new pot to spread its growing roots, dig right in and give it the new home it deserves.