How to Care For Potted Calla Lilies: Essential Tips for Beautiful Blooms

How to Care For Potted Calla Lilies?

To care for potted calla lilies, start by planting the rhizomes 1 inch deep and 1-2 inches apart in well-draining pots that are 10-12 inches in diameter.

Ensure the planting medium retains moisture without becoming too soggy.

Water the plants when the top inch or two of soil is dry and avoid overwatering, as it can cause brown foliage tips.

Fertilize the calla lilies with a general-purpose 10-10-10 or 5-10-10 fertilizer every 3-4 weeks in spring and summer, but stop fertilizing when blooming is finished.

Place the potted calla lilies in an area that receives about 6 hours of sunlight per day and maintains temperatures between 60-75 degrees F during the day and above 55 degrees F at night.

Provide a dormant period with reduced watering after flowering, and if grown in containers, stop watering and move the plant to a dark area once the foliage has faded.

In cooler climates, lift and store the rhizomes in autumn after the first frost, drying them before storing in peat moss in a cool, dark, and dry area until spring.

Calla lilies can also be started indoors during late winter and transplanted outside in spring, and they can be divided during their dormancy period.

Key Points:

  • Plant rhizomes 1 inch deep and 1-2 inches apart in well-draining pots
  • Water plants when top inch or two of soil is dry
  • Fertilize every 3-4 weeks with general-purpose fertilizer
  • Place in area with 6 hours of sunlight per day and consistent temperatures
  • Provide reduced watering and move to dark area after flowering
  • Lift and store rhizomes in autumn in cooler climates, or start indoors and transplant

Did You Know?

1. Calla lilies are not actually true lilies. Although they are commonly referred to as lilies, they belong to the Araceae family, which also includes plants like philodendrons and peace lilies.

2. Calla lilies are native to Southern Africa and were particularly abundant in the marshy areas of Lesotho and South Africa. These regions provided the ideal conditions for their growth and cultivation.

3. The name “calla” comes from the Greek word “kallos,” which means beauty. This name was given due to the flower’s elegant and graceful appearance, often associated with purity and innocence.

4. Calla lilies are highly toxic to both humans and animals if ingested. The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause severe irritation and swelling of the mouth, throat, and digestive tract. It is essential to keep them out of reach of curious pets or children.

5. In ancient Rome, calla lilies were symbols of both magnificent beauty and death. They were often associated with funerals and used in mourning rituals, representing the resurrection of the soul and its eventual transformation.

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Planting Calla Lily Rhizomes In Pots

The first step to successfully care for potted calla lilies is to properly plant the rhizomes. Calla lily rhizomes should be planted in the spring, after the danger of frost has passed. It is important to choose a pot that is 10-12 inches in diameter and has good drainage. The planting medium should be well-draining and retain moisture without becoming too soggy.

To plant the rhizomes, dig a hole that is approximately 1 inch deep and space them 1-2 inches apart. Place the rhizomes in the hole with the growing tips facing up. Cover them with soil and gently press down to secure them in place.

Once planted, the calla lilies should be placed in a location that receives full sun to part shade. They should receive about 6 hours of sunlight per day, ensuring they get the necessary light for growth. With proper planting, the calla lily rhizomes will begin to grow and produce beautiful blooms in the summer.

Care Tips For Container Grown Calla Lilies

Container grown calla lilies offer several advantages over those planted in garden beds:

  1. Early Start: They can be started indoors before the weather warms up and later placed on decks or patios.
  2. Non-invasive: Potted calla lilies do not have the potential to become invasive like their counterparts planted in garden beds.

To care for container grown calla lilies effectively, consider the following tips:

  • Proper Drainage: Ensure adequate drainage by using pots with drainage holes. Adding a layer of rocks or broken pottery at the bottom can further improve drainage and prevent rots and fungal diseases.
  • Regular Watering: Water the calla lilies when the top inch or two of soil is dry. Avoid overwatering, as this can result in brown foliage tips. Strive to provide enough water for the plants to thrive while maintaining a balanced level of moisture that does not harm the roots.

Remember: “Moderation is key.”

Fertilizing And Watering Potted Calla Lilies


  • Fertilize potted calla lilies every 3-4 weeks in the spring and summer.
  • Use a general-purpose fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 5-10-10 blend.
  • This provides the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant blooms.
  • Stop fertilizing once the blooming period is finished.


  • Water calla lilies when the top inch or two of soil is dry.
  • This prevents overwatering and keeps the plants healthy.
  • Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems.


  • Ensure pots have adequate drainage.
  • This prevents water from pooling at the bottom of the pot.
  • Good drainage helps maintain the right amount of moisture for calla lilies without causing waterlogged conditions.

Note: It is important to strike a balance in caring for potted calla lilies. Proper fertilization, watering, and drainage are key factors in keeping these plants healthy and thriving.

Providing The Right Conditions For Potted Calla Lilies

To ensure the proper growth and blooming of potted calla lilies, it is important to provide the right conditions:

  • Calla lilies grow best in full sun to part shade. Place them in a location that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. This will aid in their photosynthesis process, allowing for energy production and vigorous growth.

  • Temperature plays a vital role in the growth and blooming of calla lilies. Optimal conditions are achieved when daytime temperatures range between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • When choosing a planting medium for potted calla lilies, opt for loose, well-drained soil. This will ensure excess water drains away, preventing waterlogged conditions that can harm the plants. Using a high-quality potting mix that retains moisture without becoming too soggy is ideal.

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Here are important tips to remember for growing potted calla lilies:

“Calla lilies grow best in full sun to part shade, receiving at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Optimal temperatures range between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, with a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. When planting, use loose and well-drained soil, preferably a high-quality potting mix that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged.”

Caring For Calla Lilies In Cooler Climates

Calla lilies are native to Africa and are hardy in US hardiness zones 8-11, possibly surviving in zone 7 with protection. However, for those living in cooler climates, potted calla lilies can still be grown successfully.

In cooler climates, potted calla lilies can be taken indoors for the winter and treated as houseplants. Once the foliage has faded, stop watering the plant and move it to a dark area. It will go into a dormant period during this time. After 2-3 months, resume regular watering, and bring the plant back into a well-lit area.

For even colder climates, it is advisable to lift and store the calla lily rhizomes in autumn after the first frost. Dig them up carefully, dry them off, and store them in peat moss in a cool, dark, and dry area until spring. This protects the rhizomes from freezing temperatures and ensures they will be ready for planting in the next growing season.

Propagating And Dividing Calla Lilies

Calla lilies can be propagated and divided during their dormant period. This is typically done in late winter or early spring. To propagate calla lilies, divide the rhizomes by carefully separating the offsets from the main rhizome. Each division should have its own growing tip and a portion of the root system. Replant the divisions in separate pots or in a suitable garden bed.

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Dividing calla lilies not only allows for the multiplication of plants but also helps rejuvenate older plants. It stimulates new growth and vigor, resulting in healthier and more robust calla lilies. Remember to provide proper care, including regular watering and fertilization, to ensure the success of the newly divided calla lilies.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will a potted calla lily last?

The lifespan of a potted calla lily depends on various factors. With proper care, including well-draining soil, sufficient sunlight, and regular watering, a potted calla lily can last for several weeks to a few months. However, if it is cut and placed in a vase, it can remain vibrant for up to two weeks if provided with fresh water and regular maintenance such as trimming.

How often do you water a potted calla lily?

To keep a potted calla lily thriving, it is generally recommended to water it once a week, ensuring the soil is consistently moist. However, under hot or drought-like conditions, more frequent watering may be necessary to prevent the plant from drying out. It is particularly important to be attentive to indoor potted calla lilies as they tend to dry out quicker than those planted in the ground.

Do calla lilies do well in pots?

Calla lilies thrive in pots, making them an ideal choice for container gardening. While they can be mixed with other annuals, they tend to perform exceptionally well when given their own space in a pot. With their stunning flowers lasting for several weeks, calla lilies bring beauty and elegance to any patio or balcony. Their adaptability and longevity make them a great addition to any potted plant collection.

Why is my potted calla lily dying?

Your potted calla lily may be struggling due to the unfavorable conditions of its soil. Although the calla is fond of moist environments, excessive moisture can lead to its decline. This could be the result of too much rain, inadequate drainage, or an excess of water being provided. If you observe your lily sitting in waterlogged soil or notice mushrooms growing nearby, it is likely that the soil is compacted and not allowing for proper drainage, which can ultimately contribute to the withering of your plant.

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