Growing Calla Lilies

These perennial bulbs require some special care to produce exquisite late spring flowers. This guide is about growing calla lilies.

Growing Calla Lilies
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Growing: Calla Lily

Botanical Name:


Life Cycle:

perennial bulb

Planting Time:

spring to early summer; plant tubers in fall if using as houseplants


18" to 24"


full sun to light shade


rich, moist, well-drained soil; tolerates areas too moist for other bulbs


hardy to frost-free zones; bulbs can be dug up and stored over winter in cooler zones

Bloom Time:

late spring


variety of colors




Seeds, division in early spring, basil cuttings in summer.

Suggested Use:

beds, borders, bouquets and flower arrangements

Growing Hints:

Calla lilies need to be planted deeply for their size. Plant them at a depth of 4 inches, spacing each bulb 12 inches apart. In cooler zones, start bulbs indoors in late winter and transplant them in the spring when danger of frost has passed. Apply a bulb fertilizer monthly during the active growing season. Calla lilies can also be grown as house plants if placed in a sunny window. Most Calla lilies need a rest period after flowering, so gradually withhold water until the leaves die back and let plants rest for 2 to 3 months before resuming watering to encourage new growth.

Interesting Facts:

Calla lilies are often used in wedding bouquets because their meaning signifies magnificence and beauty.
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white lily flower with yellow stamen

Photo Description
We have arum lilies in our garden. I love watching them develop into beautiful flowers, but unfortunately, so does my dog. It is quite the nightmare to keep him away from these lilies. ;-) Luckily I managed to snap this pic before he could destroy the flower.

Photo Location
Waverley, Pretoria

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I ordered calla seeds. I received small bulbs some with shoots. The size is about 1/5" to 1/3". I planted them in a plastic tray each individually and covered with a dome to create a medium for growth. I don't know if I did the right thing. I also put them in a cool dark place. I got them in small plastic bags without instructions. Please help. I am starting a garden and probably need professional help. I live in zone 8.

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Get the corms (I think) out of the cool dark place and into a pot filled with good soil. Place the pot outside.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Do calla lily bulbs need to be dug up in the winter?

    Hardiness Zone: 7b

    By Chelle from Savannah, TN

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    They make it through Dallas Ft. Worth in Texas.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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    The calla lilies are in full bloom. Mock orange and white rugosas are perfuming the yard. After a rain it is particularly fragrant around here. These calla lilies seem to thrive in moist, rich soil, and full sun. They almost look like a sculpture, inspiration for a glass blower.

    Dineen from the Pacific Northwest

    Calla Lilies in Bloom

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    We recently got a calla lily and it has small droplets on the end of it's leaves. What are they?

    By Stan D.

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    In your Calla Lily water is absorbed through the roots and travels up through the plant. Most of the water taken up like this is 'lost' to evaporation. What water is left behind for the plant to use is for tissue growth, etc. The evaporation action works like a pumping station which pulls water (and fertilizer and anything else dissolved in the water) up through the plant. This is how plant tissues function. When a plant grows in very wet conditions, or is watered generously, it absorbs moisture and builds up pressure inside the cell walls. Holes in the leaves are forced open and water may drip giving the appearance that the lily is 'crying'.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I would like to purchase a calla lily plant for outdoors. I live in zone 6 and do NOT want to have to bring the plant in during the winter. Is there a calla lily plant for my zone that can be left outdoors? How would I protect it from the elements? Thank you.


    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I live in Northern CA, and we get frost, I have the small calla lilys out in my yard, and they never die!

    Just don't plant in the yard, keep in a planter and it won't take over!

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    Where I am going to try to plant my calla lily is facing west and gets afternoon sun, but gets morning shade. Is that alright for them?

    Hardiness Zone: 9a

    By Nancy from Citrus Heights, CA

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    That should be fine. Callas are the only lilies that will grow in shade.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    Here is another one of my Nana's lilies (we both enjoy lilies). This is a calla lily she just tried her hand at planting this year and they seem to be responding well. These too are in full sun, all day, and the soil is very sandy as well. She surround many of her plants with pine straw and it doesn't seem to harm them in any way.

    By HICKCHIC3 from North Augusta, SC

    Garden: Calla Lilies

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I have some calla lilies that have some kind of pod inside the flower. I was wondering I can plant those and get more flowers from them? I am new to this and have no idea what to do and my flowers are all full of pods. Please help. I want to grow more especially since those were the ones we used at our daughter's wedding. Any suggestions will be welcome. Thank you.


    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    I bought a Calla Lily plant a few weeks ago. It's getting yellow and drying up on me. I've kept it indoors, and have been watering it maybe every other day. Should I cut off the stems and leaves now and let the plant regrow on its own? Or should I replant the bulbs with new soil and fertilizer?

    Hardiness Zone: 9a

    By scissors from San Jose, CA

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes


    Calla Lilies
    These are my calla lilies! This was taken three years ago. I used the picture to make my wedding invitations. I did them in black and white on brown paper, it looked antique. The callas are beautiful every year!

    By Karen from Bolivar, TN


    Garden: Calla Lilies

    That was a wonderful idea and the callas are beautiful. I have some calla lilies also but they don't grow very well here in NC. It is a little bit too warm for them. But I keep trying! (06/06/2009)

    By ncgardener

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    My father bought me a potted Calla Lilly plant. It had holes in all it's leaves, even the new ones just coming out. Since then, at the base of the stems just above the bulbs/dirt they turn to mush and fall off.

    I water it the way I was told to water it and keep it warm and make sure it gets the right amount of sun, but still it seems to be dying. Is there something to do to save it? It is a wedding gift from my dad and I would sure like for it not to die.

    Hardiness Zone: 5a

    By gecko_20002000 from Howell, MI

    CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    Home and Garden Gardening BulbsDecember 27, 2012
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