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Calla Lily Care — 10 Tips On Growing Calla Lilies

Calla lily flowers are not only beautiful, but also extraordinarily easy to grow. This beautiful variety of lilies is perfect for beds and boarders and can be cultivated both indoors and outdoors. It likes the company of other plants and flowers, but given the right conditions, it can be nurtured into a large flourishing plant on its own and add color to your home.

What does Calla Lily Look Like

According to Old Farmer’s Almanac, Calla Lilies represent exceptional beauty and poise. They are native to South Africa and come in a variety of colors. The most common ones are:

  • White
  • Black
  • Pink
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Purple

Calla Lilies have long and soft leaves that are pointed at the tip with white speckles. The flowers are flare-shaped and individually arise from separate stalks. The entire plant can reach the height of three feet and the width of two feet.

White Calla Lilies

White Calla Lilies. Photo by Jeffry

White Callas – This variety of lilies produces white large blooms and prefers semi-aquatic conditions. Its unique appearance greatly adds a visual value to water gardens as well as containers. These colorful hybrids are tolerant of wet soil, and when established, will grow to several feet in diameter.

Black Callas – This plant needs less sun exposure then other varieties. Warm afternoon sunlight is most beneficial as it will provide the proper levels of light without burning the delicate flowers. Black Callas are late bloomers and do not like overly soggy soil. They grow their leaves profusely with only a moderate number of lowers. This plant produces the tallest and largest flowers of all varieties.

Pink Callas – This type is one of the easiest varieties as its only demand is plenty of sunshine. It will produce an abundant amount of medium-sized flowers and are preferred for bouquets and other flower arrangements. Its vase life is estimated to be 7-10 days. They begin to bloom in early spring and proceed to bloom for several months. The leaves are spotted with silver speckles adding to the visual effect.

Yellow Callas – Lemon or gold in color, the plant persistently blooms in well-drained soil and all-day exposure to sun. It is the most “social” variety as it likes the company of many other plants with the same growing demands. It is also the most popular type to obtain at any gardening center.

Orange Callas – The orange species are extremely productive and are often cultivated in mass amounts by industrial growers. The stalks are long with small to medium-sized flowers and maculated leaves. The plant flowers from March to July and needs only minimal amounts of fertilizer and overall care. For that reason, it is used in decorative beds and boarders in large open-space areas.

Purple Callas – The purple collection of Callas is ideal for container planting. It is the most delicate variety and may require extra care. It produces deep purple flowers that are less prolific then other assortments. The blooms are also smaller and may bruise easily. They prefer stand-alone conditions and are often used as focal point pieces around the house.

Growing Calla Lily Indoors

Callas can be grown indoors in containers. The best results are achieved from propagated rhizomes as they produce both roots and shoots. When the rhizome is planted in March, the pot should be placed in the sunniest area of your home and the soil should be kept moist at all times. In order to provide constant moisture, the saucer should be filled with water and replenished daily.

The plant begins to bloom within 8-16 weeks and continues blooming throughout the summer season. During the warm months, the Callas can be moved outdoors into a wind-free spot where it will continue to develop rapidly. Once the growing season is over, the plant should be placed indoors and allowed to wither the leaves and flowers. At this stage, it should not be watered as frequently.

Growing Calla Lilies Outdoors

White calla lillies in a flower arrangement

White calla lillies in a flower arrangement

Although it is one of the easiest plants to grow, the Calla Lilies are sensitive to inclement weather and need special conditions to thrive. Depending on the zone you live in, you may want to consider these 10 basic tips on how to care for Calla Lilies:

  • Plant them in loose soil in the spring
  • Do not allow the soil dry out
  • Callas can thrive in soggy soil if given plenty of sunshine
  • Ensure plenty of sunshine or partly-shady areas in hot climates
  • Fertilize weekly during the growing season with high potassium fertilizers
  • Plant deeply and sparsely (4-5 inches apart)
  • Use mulch or bark to keep the soil moist, never use gravel
  • Cease watering for 2-3 months during dormant period
  • Let the plant die back in the winter, it will flourish in the spring
  • Store tubers during the winter in dry, frost-free areas such as a shed or a garage

It is important to remember that Calla Lilies are poisonous and should not be planted in areas easily accessible to children or pets. They should also be strategically placed where the temperature does not exceed 85 degrees as they will be exposed to heat stress. In the late fall, they should be lifted out of the soil when the temperature falls below 25 degrees and stored over the winter months.

Calla Lily Care Instructions

Calla Lily growing can be a rewarding experience if done properly. The plant can become invasive as its profuse spreading may lead to overgrowth in your garden. Pruning back the flowers will halt the excessive multiplication and sustain the plant within your pre-planned boarders. It will also prevent any fungal formations and wilting of the plants. The fungal attacks often occur within the indoor environments and may become a nuisance.

Many avid gardeners learn how to grow Calla Lilies by trial and error. Because of the ease of cultivation, numerous hybrids have been invented combining both the beauty and the sturdiness of this type of plant. In addition, because of its poisonous nature, Calla Lily serves as a natural deer and pest deterrent making it suitable for outdoor arrangements. With very little attention and favorable climate conditions, this variety of lilies will keep growing year after year.

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