How to Grow and Care for Calla Lilies in Containers

Calla lily Zantedeschia

Intro: Calla lily flowers, also called trumpet lilies or Lily of the Nile, most often have waxy-white flowers that gracefully twist and curl, ending in a delicate point. Calla lily flowers can also come in pink, orange or red, and the dark green, heart-shaped foliage can also be variegated with white spots. Calla lily plants are native to marshlands of South Africa but have gained popularity in gardens in the United States as marginal pond plants and container plants. It is a popular flower for weddings and Easter, and cut calla lily flowers last a long time in floral displays. The calla lily grows to 2 feet tall and can be grown in plant containers, and there are also miniature calla lily varieties that you can keep.


Scientific Name: Zantedeschia aethiopica

Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial flower

Light: The calla lily flower requires part shade (full sun in cooler climates).

Water: Keep the calla lily flower's potting soil damp at all times (but not too wet, as the plant's bulb may rot). Dark leaf tips may mean you are overwatering (see "Tips for Watering Plants" for more information). After the calla lily has flowered and begins to die back, stop watering so the bulb can dry out and be stored until the next growing season.

Fertilizer: Fertilize your calla lily with a bulb fertilizer monthly. Stop fertilizing once the calla lily plant has bloomed. If the foliage has dark tips, you may be adding too much fertilizer.

Temperature: If you live in a cooler climate, such as the Pacific Northwest, you can grow Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Crowborough,’ which can tolerate cooler (but not cold) temperatures in outside balcony container gardens. In cold climates, overwinter the calla lily plant container indoors to keep it blooming year-round. If you do not have space indoors, dig up its bulbs after the plant has died back in the fall and save the bulbs for the next growing season.

Pests and Diseases: Kill any small insect pests on your calla lily with insecticide soap or spray safe for plants. The calla lily flower is susceptible to several diseases, such as rhizome rot, bacterial soft rot, gray mold and some viruses.

Propagation: Grow the calla lily plant from bulbs. Dig bulbs from the ground after the plant has died back in the fall (divide the bulb to get more plants). Plant dried calla lily bulbs 3 inches deep with the foliage pointing upward. After planting, the calla lily will bloom in about three months. You can also propagate calla lilies by growing them from seed.

Misc. Info: Provide the best care for your calla lily by keeping it in well-draining, loose potting soil, and add coffee grounds to the calla lily’s plant container to make the soil more acidic. Although this container plant can live year-round when in appropriate climates, allow it to die back for about two months each year. This will allow your calla lily flower to rest and come back with better blooms in the next growing season (it may not even bloom in its first year). During the rest period, you can dig up and store the tubers or keep them in dry potting soil.

The calla lily gets its name from its old scientific name. This flower used to be classified in the Calla genus, but that genus has been split up, and the calla lily flower is now in the Zantedeschia genus.




White and Pink Calla Lilies 

 Calla Lily Flower Foliage


Pink Calla Lilies


White Calla Lily Flower

Additional information