How To Plant Calla Lily [ Full Guide ]

Calla lilies are elegant and low-maintenance perennial plants that can bring a touch of sophistication to any garden or landscape. Known for their stunning trumpet-shaped flowers and lush green foliage, calla lilies are a popular choice for both outdoor gardens and indoor containers. Proper planting is essential to ensure the healthy growth and blooming of these beautiful flowers. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the detailed steps and considerations for planting calla lilies, from choosing the right location and understanding soil requirements to selecting the best variety and mastering planting techniques.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Calla Lily

Before delving into the specifics, here’s a quick overview of the essential steps to plant calla lilies:

  1. Choose a well-draining location: Select a spot with full to partial sun exposure and well-drained soil.
  2. Prepare the soil: Ensure the soil is rich in organic matter and has a slightly acidic pH.
  3. Select the right variety: Choose from the different varieties of calla lilies depending on your climate and preferences.
  4. Plant at the right depth: Plant the calla lily rhizomes at a depth of 2-4 inches with the eyes facing up.
  5. Water and mulch: Water the newly planted calla lilies thoroughly and apply a layer of organic mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Now, let’s explore each of these steps in detail.

Choosing The Right Location For Planting

The key to successfully growing calla lilies lies in choosing the right location for planting. Calla lilies thrive in locations with well-drained soil and ample sunlight. Here’s a closer look at the factors to consider when selecting the ideal spot for your calla lilies:

Sunlight Requirements

Calla lilies prefer to bask in full to partial sun, although they can tolerate some shade. When choosing a location, aim for an area that receives at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day. In regions with intense afternoon sun, providing partial shade during the hottest part of the day can benefit the calla lilies, preventing their delicate flowers from wilting.

Soil Drainage

The soil in the chosen location should be well-draining to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other issues. Calla lilies thrive in moist but not waterlogged conditions. To test the soil drainage, you can perform a simple percolation test by digging a 12-inch hole, filling it with water, and observing how long it takes for the water to drain completely. If the water drains within 2-3 hours, the soil has good drainage.

Protection From Wind

While calla lilies enjoy a good amount of sunlight, it’s important to consider the wind conditions in the planting location. Excessive wind can damage the delicate flowers and foliage of calla lilies. If your area is prone to strong winds, consider planting calla lilies in a location that offers some protection, such as close to a fence, building, or windbreak.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a prime location that sets the stage for healthy and vibrant calla lilies.

Understanding Soil Requirements

The soil in which calla lilies are planted plays a crucial role in their growth and blooming. Calla lilies have specific soil preferences that contribute to their overall health and vitality. Here’s what you need to know about meeting their soil requirements:

Soil Type

Calla lilies thrive in well-drained, fertile soil that is rich in organic matter. Ideal soil for calla lilies should be loamy with a slightly acidic pH ranging between 6.0 and 6.5. Loamy soil provides a balance of moisture retention and drainage, creating a favorable environment for calla lilies to establish their roots and grow vigorously.

Soil Composition

To enhance the soil structure and fertility, incorporate organic matter such as well-rotted compost or aged manure into the planting area. This enriches the soil with essential nutrients and improves its ability to retain moisture without becoming waterlogged. The addition of organic matter also aids in promoting beneficial soil microorganisms that support the overall health of calla lilies.

Ph Level Adjustment

If the soil in your chosen location has a pH level that is too low or too high, it’s essential to adjust it to fall within the recommended range for calla lilies. You can raise the pH level by incorporating agricultural lime into the soil, while sulfur can be used to lower the pH level if it is too high. Testing the pH level of the soil using a soil testing kit can guide you in making the necessary adjustments for optimal growing conditions.

By understanding and meeting the soil requirements of calla lilies, you can create a nurturing environment that encourages robust growth and abundant flowering.

Selecting The Best Variety Of Calla Lily

Calla lilies come in a variety of colors and sizes, each with its own unique characteristics and growing requirements. When choosing which variety of calla lily to plant, consider the following factors to ensure the best fit for your garden or landscape:

Climate Compatibility

Different varieties of calla lilies have specific climate preferences, so it’s important to select a variety that is well-suited to the climate in your region. Some varieties are more cold-hardy and can withstand lower temperatures, while others thrive in warmer climates. By choosing a variety that matches your climate, you can optimize the chances of successful growth and bloom.

Flower Color And Size

Calla lilies are prized for their graceful, trumpet-shaped flowers that come in a range of striking colors, including white, pink, yellow, orange, and deep burgundy. Consider the color and size of the flowers when selecting a variety, keeping in mind how they will complement the overall aesthetic of your garden or landscape. Additionally, some varieties may produce larger blooms, adding a dramatic flair to the display.

Growth Habit And Height

Pay attention to the growth habit and height of different calla lily varieties, as this can influence their placement within the landscape. Some varieties have a more compact growth habit, making them suitable for containers or smaller garden spaces, while others can reach greater heights and are ideal for borders or as focal points in flower beds.

By carefully considering these factors, you can narrow down the options and choose the best variety of calla lily that aligns with your preferences and the conditions of your growing environment.

Planting Techniques And Tips

With the location, soil, and variety considerations in place, it’s time to dive into the precise planting techniques for calla lilies. Follow these step-by-step guidelines to ensure a successful and thriving start for your calla lilies:

Planting Time

Calla lilies are typically planted in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. Warmer soil temperatures promote healthy root development, aiding the establishment of calla lilies for robust growth and prolific flowering during the growing season.

Planting Depth And Spacing

When planting calla lilies, it’s crucial to position the rhizomes at the correct depth to encourage strong, healthy growth. Dig a hole that is approximately 2-4 inches deep, and place the rhizome with the eyes facing upward. Space multiple rhizomes at least 12-18 inches apart to allow ample room for each plant to grow and expand.

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Watering And Mulching

After planting, thoroughly water the calla lilies to settle the soil and ensure the rhizomes receive adequate moisture. Maintain a consistent watering schedule, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Applying a layer of organic mulch around the plants helps retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and provide an additional source of nutrients as the mulch breaks down over time.


Once the calla lilies have become established and are actively growing, you can provide them with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer to support healthy foliage and flowering. Apply the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, being careful not to over-fertilize, which can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

Maintenance Practices

Regular maintenance practices, such as removing spent flowers and yellowing foliage, can help prolong the blooming period of calla lilies and promote the growth of new blooms. Additionally, monitoring for pests and diseases, and addressing any issues promptly, contributes to the overall well-being of the plants.

By following these planting techniques and tips, you can set your calla lilies on the path to flourishing and captivating growth.

Planting calla lilies is a rewarding endeavor that brings elegance and charm to any garden or landscape. By carefully selecting the right location, understanding soil requirements, choosing the best variety, and mastering planting techniques, you can create an environment where calla lilies can thrive and showcase their captivating beauty. Whether you’re adorning a flower bed, adding a pop of color to a garden border, or creating a stunning container display, the allure of calla lilies is sure to captivate all who encounter them. With this comprehensive guide, you have the knowledge and confidence to plant calla lilies with success, and reap the joy of nurturing these exquisite blooms.

Watering And Fertilizing Calla Lilies

Calla lilies (Zantedeschia spp.) are beautiful flowering plants native to southern Africa. Known for their stunning trumpet-shaped flowers and long, lance-shaped leaves, calla lilies are a popular choice for gardens and floral arrangements. While they are relatively easy to grow, there are several important factors to consider when planting calla lilies to ensure their successful growth and vibrant blooms.

Watering is a critical aspect of calla lily care, as these plants prefer consistently moist but not waterlogged soil. Here’s how to properly water and fertilize your calla lilies:

  1. Watering: Calla lilies should be watered thoroughly once a week during the growing season. However, if the weather is exceptionally hot or dry, you may need to water more frequently to prevent the soil from drying out. It is important to ensure that the soil is moist but not soggy, as excessive moisture can lead to rot.

  2. Fertilizing: Calla lilies benefit from regular feeding with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Begin fertilizing when the plants start producing leaves and continue every two to four weeks during the growing season. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for application rates. Avoid over-fertilization, as this can result in excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

Protection From Pests And Diseases

While calla lilies are generally resistant to pests and diseases, it is still important to take preventive measures to keep your plants healthy. Here are some tips for protecting calla lilies:

  1. Pest control: Calla lilies can occasionally be susceptible to aphids, slugs, and snails. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests and take appropriate control measures if necessary. Insecticidal soap or neem oil can be effective against aphids, while traps or organic slug and snail baits can help control these pests.

  2. Disease prevention: One of the most common diseases that affect calla lilies is root rot, which is caused by overly wet soil. To prevent root rot, ensure that the soil has good drainage and avoid overwatering. Additionally, remove and destroy any infected plants or plant parts to prevent the spread of disease. Fungal diseases such as leaf spot can also occur, especially in humid conditions. To prevent fungal infections, avoid overhead watering and provide good air circulation around the plants.

Maintaining Proper Drainage For Healthy Growth

Proper drainage is crucial for the healthy growth of calla lilies. Waterlogged soil can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases. Here’s how to ensure proper drainage for your calla lilies:

  1. Soil composition: Calla lilies prefer a well-draining soil mix that is rich in organic matter. A blend of equal parts peat moss, perlite, and compost is a suitable choice. This mixture provides good moisture retention while allowing excess water to drain away.

  2. Planting depth: When planting calla lily bulbs, ensure they are placed at the right depth. The top of the bulb should be approximately two to four inches below the soil surface. Planting too deep can inhibit proper drainage, while planting too shallow can expose the bulb and result in drying out.

  3. Container gardening: If you prefer growing calla lilies in containers, make sure the pots have drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. Fill the containers with the appropriate well-draining soil mixture mentioned earlier. Regularly check the soil moisture and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Managing Temperature And Light Exposure

Proper temperature and light exposure are vital for the growth and flowering of calla lilies. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Temperature: Calla lilies thrive in temperatures between 60 to 75°F (15 to 24°C). They are sensitive to frost and cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. In colder regions, calla lilies are often grown as tender perennials or as annuals. If you live in an area with harsh winters, consider digging up the bulbs in fall and storing them indoors until the following spring.

  2. Light exposure: Calla lilies prefer bright but indirect sunlight. They thrive in partial shade, especially during the hottest part of the day. Full sun exposure can scorch the leaves and inhibit flower production. Choose a location where your calla lilies will receive morning sun and afternoon shade. If growing indoors, place them near a west or east-facing window.

  3. Indoor cultivation: Calla lilies can also be grown indoors as potted plants. Choose a location with bright, indirect light and maintain a temperature range of 60 to 75°F (15 to 24°C). Rotate the pots occasionally to ensure even light exposure. Indoor calla lilies may benefit from the use of a humidifier or occasional misting to provide the necessary moisture levels.

By following these guidelines for planting calla lilies, you can ensure the healthy growth and vibrant blooms of these stunning flowers. Remember to provide proper moisture levels through regular watering, fertilize appropriately, and protect your plants from pests and diseases. Maintain well-draining soil to prevent waterlogged conditions, and consider the temperature and light exposure needs of calla lilies in your growing region. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy the beauty of calla lilies in your garden or as indoor potted plants.

Pruning And Deadheading Calla Lilies

Calla lilies (Zantedeschia) are elegant, trumpet-shaped flowers that add a touch of grace and beauty to any garden. Native to South Africa, these stunning flowers come in a variety of colors including white, pink, yellow, and even black. They are popular choices for both indoor and outdoor gardening, thanks to their long-lasting blooms and low maintenance requirements.

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Pruning and deadheading calla lilies not only help them maintain a neat appearance but also encourage the growth of new flowers. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Pruning Calla Lilies

  1. Remove dead or damaged leaves: Using clean and sharp pruning shears, carefully remove any leaves that are yellow, brown, or have signs of disease or pest damage. This not only improves the plant’s appearance but also prevents the spread of infection.

  2. Cut back after flowering: Once the calla lily has finished blooming, it’s time to cut it back to encourage future growth. Trim the flower stalk back to the base of the plant, as close as possible to the main stem. This will direct the plant’s energy towards producing new leaves and flowers.

  3. Remove old foliage: As calla lilies enter dormancy in the fall or winter, the leaves will naturally turn yellow and die back. At this point, you can cut the foliage back to about 2 inches above the soil level. This helps the plant conserve energy during its dormant period.

Deadheading Calla Lilies

Deadheading is the process of removing spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming and prevent energy waste on seed production. Here’s how to deadhead calla lilies effectively:

  1. Wait for the flowers to fade: Allow the calla lily flowers to fully mature and start to wilt. This usually happens within a week or two after blooming.

  2. Look for the seed pod: At the base of each flower, you’ll find a small green seed pod. This pod contains the seeds that result from pollination.

  3. Remove the seed pod: With clean hands or sterilized pruning tools, grasp the seed pod and gently twist it off the stem. Be careful not to damage the stem or new buds growing below.

By following these pruning and deadheading techniques, you can help your calla lilies thrive and produce beautiful flowers throughout the growing season.

Propagation Methods For Expanding Your Garden

If you’re passionate about calla lilies and want to expand your garden, there are several propagation methods you can try. Here are three common methods:

Propagating Calla Lilies From Bulbs

The most popular and easiest way to propagate calla lilies is by dividing and replanting bulbs. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose the right time: Wait until the plant has finished blooming and its leaves start to turn yellow. This usually happens in the fall or early winter. This is the ideal time to divide and replant the bulbs.

  2. Dig up the bulbs: Gently dig up the entire plant, being careful not to damage the bulbs. Shake off excess soil to expose the bulbs. If there are multiple bulbs, carefully separate them from each other.

  3. Prepare the new planting area: Choose a well-draining spot in your garden that receives partial sun. Dig a hole that is deep enough to accommodate the bulbs and provide enough space for growth.

  4. Replant the bulbs: Place the bulbs in the prepared hole, with the pointed end facing up. Cover the bulbs with soil, making sure they are planted at the same depth as before.

  5. Water and mulch: Water the newly planted bulbs thoroughly to settle the soil. Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Propagating Calla Lilies From Seeds

Propagation from seeds is another option, but it requires more time and patience. Here’s how to propagate calla lilies from seeds:

  1. Collect seeds: Once the flowers have finished blooming and the seed pods have turned brown and dried out, carefully collect the seeds. Make sure the pods are fully mature and have split open naturally.

  2. Prepare the seed starting mix: Fill a seed tray or pots with a well-draining seed starting mix. Moisten the mix and make small depressions in it for seed placement.

  3. Sow the seeds: Place the calla lily seeds in the depressions and lightly cover them with a thin layer of soil. Mist the soil with water to ensure proper moisture.

  4. Provide the right conditions: Place the seed tray or pots in a warm and bright location, but not in direct sunlight. Maintain consistent moisture and temperature, ideally around 70°F (21°C).

  5. Transplanting seedlings: Once the seedlings have developed several leaves and are strong enough, transplant them into individual pots or into the garden. Follow the same planting guidelines for mature calla lilies.

Propagating Calla Lilies From Rhizomes

Rhizome division is an alternative method of propagating calla lilies, particularly for older or overgrown plants. Here’s how to divide calla lilies using rhizomes:

  1. Dig up the plant: Carefully dig up the entire calla lily clump, making sure to preserve the rhizomes and their attached roots.

  2. Separate the rhizomes: Gently separate the rhizomes from each other, making sure each section has a healthy root system and several growing points.

  3. Trim and treat the rhizomes: Inspect the rhizomes for any rot or damage. Trim off any soft or blackened parts, leaving only healthy sections. Treat the cut areas with a fungicide to prevent infection.

  4. Replant the divisions: Choose a new planting site with well-draining soil and partial sun. Dig holes that are wide and deep enough to accommodate the rhizomes with their roots spread out. Plant each division and cover with soil.

  5. Water and care for the divisions: Water the newly planted divisions thoroughly and provide regular moisture to establish healthy root systems. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to rot. Mulch around the plants to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

By using these propagation methods, you can increase your collection of calla lilies and enjoy their stunning blooms in various areas of your garden.

Creative Uses For Calla Lilies In Landscaping

Calla lilies are not only beautiful in traditional garden beds, but they can also be used creatively in landscaping to add unique focal points and lend an exotic touch to your outdoor space. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

Water Features And Ponds

Calla lilies thrive in wet or boggy environments, making them perfect for water features and ponds. Consider planting them around the edges of a pond or in a bog garden to create a stunning display. The reflection of these elegant flowers on the water’s surface enhances their beauty and adds a touch of tranquility to your landscape.

Containers And Pots

Calla lilies are well-suited for container gardening and can be grown in pots, urns, or other decorative planters. This allows you to create versatile displays that can be moved around to suit your design preferences or to accommodate different lighting conditions. Mix different colored calla lilies in a single container or pair them with contrasting flowers and foliage for an eye-catching arrangement.

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Border Planting

Use calla lilies to create an attractive border along pathways, garden beds, or fences. The tall and upright flower spikes add vertical interest while the vibrant colors create a stunning visual impact. Combine them with other perennials or ornamental grasses to create a harmonious and dynamic border design.

Cut Flower Arrangements

The long-lasting blooms of calla lilies make them a favorite choice for cut flower arrangements. Harvest the flowers when they are fully open and have not started to wilt. Use them in bouquets, centerpieces, or even in single-stem vases to bring their elegance indoors. The wide range of colors available allows for endless possibilities in floral arrangements.

Moon Gardens

Moon gardens are designed to be enjoyed after dusk, with plants that emit a soothing fragrance and pale-colored flowers that glow in the moonlight. The white calla lily variety is perfect for moon gardens, as their trumpet-shaped flowers seem to shine in the low light. Plant them alongside other night-blooming flowers such as jasmine or white roses for a magical nighttime display.

Mixed Flower Beds

Integrate calla lilies into mixed flower beds to add a touch of drama and sophistication. Pair them with complementary flowers in different heights, shapes, and textures to create a visually appealing display. Consider combining calla lilies with other summer-blooming perennials like dahlias, daylilies, or coneflowers for a vibrant and diverse flower bed.

These creative uses for calla lilies in landscaping will help you make the most of their beauty and versatility, transforming your garden into a haven of color and elegance.

Troubleshooting Common Issues With Calla Lilies

Despite their resilience and relatively low maintenance requirements, calla lilies may face some common issues that can affect their growth and overall health. Here’s a list of potential problems you may encounter and how to address them:

Fusarium Rot

Fusarium rot is a fungal disease that affects calla lilies and causes the plant to wilt and decay. The leaves may turn yellow, and black streaks can be observed on the stems. To prevent and manage fusarium rot:

  • Ensure your calla lilies are planted in well-draining soil to avoid waterlogged conditions.
  • Avoid excessive watering, as the fungus thrives in wet environments.
  • Remove affected plants and isolated contaminated soil to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • If the infestation is severe, treat unaffected plants with a fungicide recommended for fusarium control.


Aphids are small insects that can cause damage to the leaves and flowers of calla lilies. They suck the sap out of plants, leading to stunted growth and distorted foliage. To control aphids:

  • Spray the plants with a strong jet of water to dislodge and remove aphids.
  • Introduce natural predators like ladybugs or lacewings to control aphid populations.
  • If aphids persist, use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat the affected plants.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are common pests that can infest calla lilies, particularly in hot and dry conditions. They leave small webs on the undersides of leaves, causing yellowing, mottling, and ultimately leaf drop. To manage spider mites:

  • Increase humidity around the plants by misting the leaves regularly.
  • Wash the leaves with a strong stream of water to remove mites and their webs.
  • Apply insecticidal soap or a miticide if infestation persists.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves on calla lilies can indicate a range of issues, including overwatering, underwatering, nutrient deficiencies, or pests. To address yellowing leaves:

  • Check the moisture levels in the soil and adjust watering accordingly. Avoid waterlogged or dry conditions.
  • Ensure your calla lilies are receiving adequate sunlight. Lack of sunlight can weaken the plant and cause yellowing.
  • Apply a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for flowering plants to address nutrient deficiencies.
  • Inspect the plants for signs of pests and treat accordingly.

Lack Of Blooms

If your calla lilies fail to produce blooms, there are a few potential reasons:

  • Ensure your calla lilies are receiving enough sunlight. Lack of sunlight can result in reduced flowering.
  • Overfertilizing can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of blooms. Use a balanced fertilizer sparingly.
  • Calla lilies need a dormant period to recharge. If they have been continuously flowering, they may need a rest period to produce new blooms.

By being vigilant and addressing these common issues promptly, you can help your calla lilies thrive and overcome any challenges they may face.


Calla lilies are stunning flowers that can add elegance and beauty to any garden or landscape. By properly pruning and deadheading your calla lilies, you can encourage continuous blooming and keep them looking their best. Propagation methods such as dividing bulbs, sowing seeds, and separating rhizomes allow you to expand your garden and enjoy these beautiful flowers in various areas.

Getting creative with calla lilies in your landscaping can elevate your garden design to another level. Utilize them in water features, containers, borders, cut flower arrangements, moon gardens, or mixed flower beds to enhance their visual appeal. Remember to address common issues such as fusarium rot, aphid infestations, spider mites, yellowing leaves, and lack of blooms to maintain the health and vigor of your calla lilies.

With proper care and attention, calla lilies will reward you with their exquisite blooms and bring a touch of elegance to your outdoor space. So go ahead and plant these enchanting flowers in your garden, and let their beauty mesmerize you year after year.


What Kind Of Soil Is Best For Planting Calla Lilies?

Calla lilies thrive in well-drained, rich, and slightly acidic soil. It is recommended to amend the soil with compost or organic matter before planting.

When Should I Plant Calla Lily Bulbs?

Calla lily bulbs should be planted in the spring after the last frost has passed. This will ensure that the soil is warm enough for the bulbs to grow properly.

How Deep Should I Plant Calla Lily Bulbs?

Calla lily bulbs should be planted about 4 inches deep, with the pointed end facing up. If planting in a pot, make sure the top of the bulb is at or just below the soil surface.

Do I Need To Water Calla Lilies Regularly?

Calla lilies prefer moist but not waterlogged soil. Water deeply once a week, making sure the soil is evenly moist. During periods of hot, dry weather, they may need more frequent watering.

Do Calla Lilies Need Full Sun Or Partial Shade?

Calla lilies do best in partial shade, receiving morning sun and afternoon shade. They can also grow in full sun, but may require more frequent watering and protection from direct afternoon sun.