Lilies and calla lilies

How to Make Your Calla Lily Bloom

Calla Lily has gorgeous flowers. Also known as Trumpet Lilies or Lily of the Nile, this is a gorgeous plant with waxy-white flowers. The flowers are known to gently curl and twist so they have a characteristic shape with a pointy tip. While white is the most common color, keep in mind that there are varieties that produce pink, orange and red flowers.

Calla Lily Flowers

Calla Lily has gorgeous flowers. This plant has trumpet-shaped flowers that grow a few inches above the leaves at the top of a tall stalk. The flowers and can be up to 10 inches long. Each bloom makes a huge, single-petal flower. The flowers resemble an upturned bell, though one side is typically stretched out. The stamen in the center is yellow. Keep in mind that a single bulb can produce many leaves and flowers.

If you want to grow this plant you will probably want to make it bloom. The good news is the you typically don’t need to encourage your Calla Lily to bloom. It requires very little care to thrive. All you need to provide to your Calla Lily to make it bloom is adequate light conditions and moisture.

As long as these two things are suitable for your Calla Lily it will produce blooms and flowers without much care or attention on your part. Keep this in mind if you wish to grow Calla Lily for its flowers.

What if it Doesn’t Flower?

In some cases, your Calla Lily might refuse to bloom. If it happens for a few months, don’t worry. The issue is when your plant refuses to flower for the entire growing season. Luckily, this problem is easily solvable most of the time.

Typically, the issue is with the soil. If your Calla Lily refuses to flower, test the soil for pH values. In order for your plant to be healthy, it needs soil with pH values between 6 and 6.5. Anything out of these values may cause imbalance. If the pH of the soil is imbalanced, make sure to amend the soil or change it completely. It is important to give your Calla Lily a good growing medium with adequate pH values.

In case both the pH values of the soil and moisture are adequate, the problem with flowering might be due to inadequate light. Plants can’t produce blooms if there is not enough sunlight. In case your Calla Lily doesn’t flower, the problem might be too little sunlight. To fix this problem, simply place it somewhere with more light. However, make sure not to change the temperature in the room or area where you grow your Calla Lily.

Keep in mind that any changes you may introduce will show results only after 4 weeks or so. In other words, it takes around a month for your Calla Lily to start producing flowers, so be patient.

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips for growing your Calla Lily that will make it thrive and produce rich flowers:

  • When you need to repot your plant, simply dig it out of the soil, including the rhizome. Re-pot the rhizome in the new container with the shoots points up. Make sure to place it at least 3 inches deep into the soil. Cover with soil and water once. Make sure you see the new growth before you water your plant again.

  • Propagating your Calla Lily is not difficult. If the plant is fertilized, it will produce small black berries. Simply dry them out and plant in the potting soil about 3 inches deep. These berries will develop into new bulbs. Another way to propagate is to cut the rhizome and take a section of it. Dry it out for a few days and then plant it in the soil. Just make sure that the non-smooth side is up. Alternatively, you can simply dry the whole bulb after the plant has died in the fall. In the next growing season, plant the bulb about 3 inches deep in the soil. You can expect it to bloom in about 3 months.
  • Calla Lily doesn’t have many pests. Occasionally, it may be attacked by small insects. If this happens, treat your plant with a spray safe for plants or an insecticide soap.
  • Calla Lily plants can develop certain diseases. The most common are rhizome rot, gray mold and bacterial soft rot.
  • It is best to allow your Calla Lily to die back for several months per year. This will benefit your plant since it will allow the flowers to rest. When the flowers come back in the following growing season the bloom will be richer and stronger.

Photo credit: PMillera4 Calla Lily via photopin (license)

Why Are My Calla Lilies Blooming in the Fall?

November 19, 20090 found this helpful Best Answer

Long Term Calla Lilies
While the lily plant grows with green leaves, the bulb is being recharged. The longer you can keep the lily growing, the better recharging and the bigger the bulb gets. You should continue to water the lily. Do not cut the stem back until the leaves fall off by them selves and the stem dies back. Sometimes, the stem will die back from disease, but most often you can get the lily to grow for a long time which is good. Do not cut the stem back before the lily stem has withered.

In your area, the temperatures may not be as low as to make the lily bulb “go to sleep” naturally and vernalize, cooling period which prompts the lily plant to bloom again. Therefore, if the lily has not started to show signs of going “back to sleep” nine months after flowering, you can put the pot ,and all, in a spare fridge set at a low temperature 33-35F. As low as you can without freezing. Gradually begin to withhold water.


Do not worry about lack of sunshine during this period. After the stem has died back, you keep the lily in the cold temperatures for six weeks and bring it back out. It should not be “programmed” to start growing again and flower.

Calla Lilies are most certainly perennial. In your region, a very mild usda zone nine, you can plant all your Calla Lilies in the ground and if you water and feed them they will all grow beautifully. It sounds like you are enjoying the blooms on your Callas. If you really want to impress your husband, memorize the following word “Zantedeschia”, the scientific name for this is plant. There are two kinds of Calla Lilies/Zantedeschia.

One is the kind that loses its leaves when it rests. The other just stops flowering and doesn’t grow much, but it still has leaves. The first one is big and white, occasionally yellow. The second one is a little smaller and brightly colored. First, the “bulbs”, which are really called “Rhizomes” , of deciduous, leaf-losing, Calla Lilies look completely different from the large, evergreen white-and-green florist Calla Lilies. Rhizomes of deciduous, colored Calla Lilies are flat, round wafers, typically with bulls-eyes or dark circles. They grow best in bright sun and can dry out between watering.


If the flower on your Calla Lily is pink, red or plum, and it has finished blooming, and when is at the end of the growing season, the leaves will begin to turn yellow. That would tell you that you have a deciduous Calla Lily. The kind that loses its leaves when it is resting. Just water it once in a while. Don’t let it get completely dry. The leaves will drop and the plant will look like you have killed it. “This is normal”. Don’t give up. Now, I must warn you: Even very experienced gardeners are rarely successful long-term with deciduous Calla Lilies.

But maybe you have the other Calla Lily. This one is the large, white florist’s Calla Lily. It is two too three feet tall and has solid green leaves. This one keeps its leaves and looks so beautiful, most people have to touch it to see if it is real, even when it is not blooming. The rhizomes are long and oval, with a larger end that is placed up when it is planted. These are strong and said to be hardy to zone seven. They need lots of water.


Remember, Ximelle,”all” Calla Lilies Must have a rest period. If you have the colorful, deciduous, slightly smaller Calla Lily described first, this is where many gardeners give up. That’s because keeping a dormant plant can feel like a total waste of time. You are sitting with a pot of dirt that seems to have absolutely no use whatsoever other than to take up space and occasionally fall over and spill its contents. Anyone you live with will think you can’t admit you have a brown thumb. The dog will knock it over and play with it.

At our house, the nanny considered all dormant potted plants utterly worthless. One weekend she did us the “favor” of throwing out a potted Amaryllis bulb; I rescued it just in time from the rubbish, but not before we argued as to whether there was anything actually growing in that pot of bone dry dirt under the pantry cabinets. A few months later, of course, there were green stems sprouting from the dry dirt. She was amazed. But that’s what happens.


A dormant potted plant, whether deciduous Calla Lily or Amaryllis, is not a pretty sight. Keep your pot in the coolest spot in the house that you can find without “Freezing”, and you have the perfect winter location for your Calla Lily. Check it every so often for signs of life. Water it so that it does not completely dry out, once every two weeks or so. Now, your Calla Lily plant will go dormant sooner or later.

If it seems to be slowing down in the next few weeks, to try watering and fertilizing it through the summer. If you live in the Northeast, or somewhere that snow falls and it gets cold enough to skate on the local pond, you should keep it in the same pot all summer and make sure you water it faithfully. If you check the different colors, you will see that even thought they are all Calla Lilies, they bloom for different lengths, depending on the color/species. So don’t feel that you have to induce dormancy. It will tell You when it’s time for a rest.


Take care of your growing Calla until the end of the summer or at least until the leaves begin to yellow and wither. Slow down on the watering without letting it dry out completely and see if all the leaves fall off. And if it appears that you’ve killed it, keep the pot slightly moist and cool through the holiday season and don’t forget to water it. Remember, it’s the dormancy period where most gardeners throw in the towel.

Growing Calla Lilies need rich soil, bright light and moisture. Some people think Callas are good plants for beginners because it is so hard to over water them, a common and fatal beginner’s habit for other plants and very helpful if you are growing a Calla Lily. Drying these out while they’re growing makes them go dormant. Drying them out totally while they are dormant will turn them into good additions to your compost pile. In the wilds of Florida and Louisiana, these plants thrive at the edge of a tropical pond or lake where it never dries out. good luck.

“White Flower Farm” success depends on explaining the keys to growing the plants they sell and I think they have done a good job on the Calla Lily. If you can get past the unfamiliar vocabulary, think of a “Rhizomes” as just a funny looking bulb that you plant sideways; with little bumps that sprout into plants, you can see why these Calla Lilies are so popular. The hardest part is the patience you need to get through deciduous dormancy, if of course that is the kind of Calla you have.

“The Spider Mites” are easy. These are indoor plant bugs. Put these plants outside and the Spider Mites will be wiped out in a day. They can’t take dryness and they can’t take cool weather. Then when you bring these plants in, mist them every day and try to keep the air in the house more humid. A few hours in the bathroom while you’re taking a shower will keep the Spider Mites from ruining your Callas.

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7 Ways To Garden With Calla Lilies

This is an important design tip that can sometimes be hard to follow, but Calla Lilies (and most flowering plants) look best planted in clumps of odd numbers. Plant at least three rhizomes together in one spot in the garden. Lone Callas, although pretty, just won’t give off the same drama as a clump of 5 or 7.

Planting in larger clumps also makes it easier for pollinators to locate and reap the benefits of your Calla Lilies.

3. Grow Calla Lilies to Attract Pollinators

Whether you’re planting an entire garden dedicated to pollinators, or are just looking to add more pollinator-friendly plants throughout the garden, Calla Lilies are an amazing option. The colorful, tubular flowers are a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds (who love to stick their skinny beaks inside, searching for nectar).

Be sure to plant your Calla Lilies somewhere you can easily view them from a window or outdoor seating area. You’ll want to witness the parade of hummingbirds and butterflies coming to and from your elegant Calla blooms. Tip: remember to have the camera ready!

If you’re gardening in a city or balcony, pair a container of Calla Lilies with a source of water and a hummingbird feeder for the ultimate pollinator city oasis.

4. Plant Calla Lilies To Repel Deer and Rabbits!

Calla Lilies are not only extremely easy to grow, but are also deer and rabbit resistant. They are at the bottom of deer and rabbit’s list of palatable plants and although they may snack on a flower at the beginning of the season, once they do so, they should leave your precious flowers alone.

This makes Calla Lilies a great choice for summer color in areas that aren’t fenced off – you can even plant them along the outside border of a fence along your property.

For this reason, I utilize my open field to grow Calla Lilies. This area has no fencing around it and certainly gets frequent stops from deer and rabbits (especially at the berry bushes). Planting Calla Lilies here gives me lots of space to grow multiple varieties.

5. Fill In Late-Summer Gaps in your Gardens

Another great way to use Calla Lilies in your garden is to fill in gaps of summer color throughout your existing flowerbeds. Early to mid-summer bare spots are often my nemesis in the garden and Callas are the perfect fix. They require almost no room to grow and can be tucked in between plants for a burst of low-maintenance summer color.

Calla Lilies are deer resistant, which makes them a great candidate for planting outside of fences and in border gardens.

When filling in gaps in your garden with Calla Lilies, remember to plant at least three rhizomes together to create a clump of colorful blooms.

6. Add Color To Containers And Small Space Gardens

One of my favorite ways to use Calla Lilies throughout my property is to plant them in containers. They are so easy to grow and so impactful, whether you’re looking to liven up a window box or create blocks of color on your patio or balcony, Calla Lilies certainly fit the bill.

Whether you’re growing Callas in containers or in the garden, we recommend using an organic bulb fertilizer once per month until they start to bloom. This will help keep the plant healthy and grow stronger, bigger blooms.

Plant Calla Lily rhizomes three inches below the surface of the soil.

How To Plant Calla Lilies In Containers:

  1. Choose a container with drainage holes that is at least 10-12 inches in diameter. Try to have fun pairing a colorful pot with your Calla Lilies.
  2. Use an organic potting mix and fill the pot about halfway with soil – you’ll want the rhizomes to rest about three inches below the rim of the pot.
  3. Set the calla lily rhizomes on top of the soil and cover with soil up to the top of the rim, leaving about ½ inch of space.
  4. Water thoroughly to remove any air pockets.
  5. Place the container in an area – indoors or out – that receives at least six hours of sun per day.
  6. To get a jump start on spring growth, plant your bulbs indoors in early spring and bring them outdoors once the temperatures warm up and there is no more chance of frost.
  7. Water thoroughly once the top of the soil beings to dry out, making sure to soak the pot before the plant gets completely dry. This should be several times per week, depending on the location of the container.

7. Plant Calla Lilies Year After Year

Although Calla Lilies are technically an annual in areas where the ground freezes, you can easily dig up your rhizomes and store them over the winter to re-plant in spring.

White varities of calla lilies are stunning , and would be delightful with other white-bloomers in a moon garden.

How To Store Your Calla Lilies For Spring Planting:

  • Reduce watering after your Calla Lilies have finished blooming for the season and the leaves start to turn yellow.
  • Once the foliage dies back completely, cut it down to the ground.
  • Dig up your rhizomes, clean them off with water and let them air dry for at least 12 hours.
  • Store rhizomes in peat moss, paper bags or a crate – they just need to have some air ventilation – in a cool, dry area that stays at least 50 degrees.
  • Come spring, re-plant once there is no more chance of frost in your area and ground temperatures have warmed.

There’s a reason Calla Lilies are a must-have for gardeners all around the country. They serve a multitude of purposes – spectacular summer color, attract pollinators, make for gorgeous cut bouquets and more – without a lot of effort.

Why Calla Lilies Don’t Bloom: Making Your Calla Lily Bloom

The typical calla lily bloom time is in the summer and fall, but for many calla lily owners this time may come and go without a sign of buds or flowers from their calla lily plant. This is especially true for gardeners who grow their calla lilies in containers. It makes calla lily owners wonder, “Why don’t my calla lilies flower?” and, “How can I make calla lilies bloom?” Let’s look at why calla lilies don’t bloom and how to fix that.

Making Calla Lilies Planted in the Ground Bloom

Calla lilies planted in the ground tend to bloom without too many problems. When they fail to bloom, it is due to one of three reasons. These reasons are:

  • Too much nitrogen
  • Lack of water
  • Lack of sun

If your calla lily is not blooming due to too much nitrogen, the plant will grow rapidly and be lush. You may notice a brown edge on the leaves as well. Too much nitrogen will encourage foliage to

grow but will prevent the plant from blooming. Switch your fertilizer to one that is higher in phosphorus than nitrogen to make calla lilies bloom.

If your calla lilies are not planted in an area that gets plenty of water, this may be causing them not to bloom. The growth of the calla lily plant will be stunted, yellowing and you may occasionally see the plant wilted. If the calla lily is not getting enough water, you may want to transplant it to somewhere where it will get more water or make sure that you are supplementing the amount of water it gets.

Calla lilies like full sun. If they are planted somewhere that is too shady, they will not bloom. If calla lilies are getting too little light, they will be stunted. If you think that your calla lilies are not blooming because they are getting too little light, you will need to transplant them to a sunnier location.

Making Calla Lilies Planted in Containers Rebloom

While the same things that affect calla lilies planted in the ground can also affect calla lilies planted in containers, there is a more common reason that container grown calla lilies do not bloom. This reason is that they do not get a dormant period in order to prepare for a blooming season.

To make a calla lily plant in a container rebloom, you need to provide them with a dormant period. You can do this very easily. Once the calla lily plant has stopped blooming, stop providing water to it. Allow it to go bone dry. The foliage will die back and the plant will appear to be dead. Place it in a cool (not cold) dark place for two months. After this, bring it back out into the light and resume watering it. The foliage will regrow and you calla lily plant will start to bloom shortly thereafter.

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