How to Grow Calla Lilies

Have you ever priced single Calla lilies at a florist?  If you have, you will have discovered that they sell for $5-$9 a STEM.  Why pay those kind of prices, when you can become your own florist – well sort of, anyway. Calla Lilies make  wonderful indoor plants and comes in many colors, as well.

How to grow Calla lilies

If you love to grow flowering houseplants, especially those with dramatic blooms, calla lilies are a great choice.

Calla lilies are easy to grow and produce gorgeous long stemmed flowers in a wide range of colors.    They are a favorite with florists, particularly when white, because they are popular for weddings.

It’s hard to believe that something that grows from an ugly rhizome can produce such a gorgeous display!

To start, you will need a plant or a single rhizome.  (See my article to help understand the differences between bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers.) Good quality calla lily tubers can cost about $6 each. 

So for the cost of a single flower at the florist, you can grow the tubers that will give you up to a dozen flowers. 

Calla lilies make great cut flowers in a wide range of colorsHere are some growing tips to get the most out of you calla lily rhizome.

  • Hardy in zones 8-10,  (and possibly in 7 with a good layer of mulch over the top)
  • Plant your callas in soil that gets fairly good drainage and is in full sun (hottest climates may need some partial shade in the hottest part of the day.)
  • If your plant came in a pot, check to see if there is more than one rhizome in it.  Many nurseries use smaller tubers and plant several to a pot.  You can separate them and give them more room to grow or replant into several pots for a better display.
  • Plant after all danger of frost has passed.   They should be planted about 3 inches deep with the growing tip facing up.
  • Callas like average to moist soil conditions but not soggy soil. Be sure not to let them be dry for too long.

Calla lilies are popular with florists expensive but are easy to grow too!

  • Calla lilies make great cut flowers so don’t be shy about cutting them.  (that is the most popular reason for growing these beauties.)
  • After blooming, don’t cut the foliage off.  Like most bulbs, the leaves will continue to gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year’s display.  You can remove the leaves when they turn yellow.calla lilies as a border plant
  • In zones  8 and warmer you can leave your calla lilies in the ground year round.  In zones 7 and colder, they will need to be dug up and store in peat moss for the winter, (like dahlias and other semi temperate rhizomes and tubers.)

rhizomePropagation of calla lilies can be done two ways – by rhizomes and by seeds.  The easiest way is to divide the rhizomes making sure each has roots and eyes attached.

Calla lilies make great house plants.  They need bright light and a pot that gives them room to grow.  Hold off watering in the winter when the plant is dormant but you can leave the rhizomes in the pot. 

Growing calla lilies from seed can be a challenge but it is possible. Each of the flowers has seeds that are made internally.  When the flowering has finished, the flowers will close up to encase the seed pods. 

Save the whole flower head and cut it off the plant before frost occurs.

Here is a great YouTube video showing how to use the seeds pods for new Calla Lilies. The man who made the video has many showing how to collect seeds from Calla Lilies.

Pin these tips for growing calla lilies for later

Would you like a reminder of these tips for growing calla lilies?  Just pin this image to one of your flower boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.Tips for growing calla lilies

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  16 comments for “How to Grow Calla Lilies

  1. sue
    04/12/2016 at 9:41 am

    I received some cala Lillys for Easter and was wondering if they can be planted outside? They’re starting to wilt and die now. I live in N.H.
    Thank you,

    • Carol
      04/12/2016 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Sue. Yes, you can plant them outside but they will not last over the winter until next year. They are tender and need warmer zones to overwinter. Carol

  2. Frances
    10/10/2016 at 6:11 pm

    I received Calla Lillies in a pot for Mother’s Day (live in N.J.). Flowers are gone but the greens have not wilted. Will the greens remain green over the winter and bloom again in the spring.

    • Carol
      10/10/2016 at 7:22 pm

      Hello Frances. Calla Lilies are tropical plants and only hardy in zones 8-10 which is much more south than NJ, so they will likely not come back next year.

  3. Sarah
    05/15/2017 at 8:57 pm

    I live in Illinois and recently purchased a calla Lilly as a houseplant. Is this something that will last year round and what kind of care will it need?

    • Carol
      05/15/2017 at 10:49 pm

      Hi Sarah, Indoors, it will keep going year round. It likes bright filtered light and evenly moist soil but not too wet. Fertilize when it is flowering but cut this back a bit when it is only producing leaves. Carol

  4. Barbara J. Seefeldt
    05/18/2018 at 2:37 am

    What about SE Kansas? I received calla lillies for Mothers Day… I thought I would plant them outdoors… I have several lillies that come back each year. Sounds like the calla lillie is much more gingerly? Please advise…
    Thanks in advance
    I still have them inside… so need to make an informed decision soon…

    • Carol
      05/18/2018 at 10:38 am

      Hi Barbara..They only grow in zones 8-10. Colder than that and you’ll need to bring them indoors for the winter. What zone is SE Kansas? Carol

  5. Leslie
    04/26/2020 at 4:53 pm

    Yes I want to grow Inset indoors what should I buy?

    • Carol Speake
      04/27/2020 at 12:15 pm

      What do you mean by “inset”?

  6. tracy
    07/08/2020 at 9:34 pm

    where can I post a photo to show the large green mushroom growing out of my calla lily? I don’t feel like I over water, the plant looks healthy (but only had one flower). What is this odd mushroom. I’ve looked all over and don’t see anything like it.

    • Carol Speake
      07/13/2020 at 10:58 am

      Wild mushrooms sometimes just appear. This isn’t a feature of a caladium. To see the flower of a caladium, have a look at this post. Scroll down about 3/4 of the way and a photo is shown with the flower above the plant.

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