Lily annual or perennial

Garden Q&A: Calla lilies are easy to plant and grow

What can you tell me about growing calla lilies?

The calla lily grows from an underground structure called a rhizome and produces very large green leaves, typically covered with lighter-colored spots. The flower blooms from the top of a rather thick stem and sort of resembles trumpet- shaped rolled paper.

Planting the calla lily is as simple as sticking the rhizome into the ground. The calla lily is quite flexible and will grow in almost any soil, although it needs to be well drained, so the bulb does not start to rot. Plants should be in full sun. The calla lily bulb should be planted horizontally with the growing side up in a small hole that is about 4 inches deep.

If you want to plant more than one bulb, plant them at least be 12 inches apart so they get enough room to really spread out. Once in the ground, the flower bed needs to be watered well, so that the bulb really gets settled. Although quite hardy, the calla lilies can only take minor frost before it dies.

You can plant calla lilies in a pot in a similar way as you would in the ground, then bring the plant in before frost. Just remember that the calla lily needs to be replanted once a year, so it does not run out of room in the pot.

If nothing is done to prevent it, calla lilies can end up taking over the entire flower bed. These new rhizomes can be dug up at any time and be either thrown away or replanted in the garden. But they typically decline over time.

I have grown pumpkins for two years. One day, I discovered holes in the pumpkins that I assume were made by a bird or other animal. How can I prevent this from happening this year?

Birds will peck at pumpkins, but their damage is slight, and the wound usually heals over. It usually doesn’t prevent the pumpkin from ripening unless it is a deep wound from another source.

If you want perfect pumpkins, you might use bird netting to cover the plants. Depending on the size, the hole could be from a worm or caterpillar.

Tom Bruton is a master gardener with the Duval County Extension Service and the University of Florida/IFAS.

Calla Lilies

With their delicate bell shape and vibrant color varietals, Calla lily bouquets make for an especially beautiful and meaningful gift for anyone on your gift list. Our Calla lily flower arrangements are meticulously designed and feature Calla lilies complemented by multicolored Stargazer lilies, stunning Tiger lilies, and lush greenery to make the perfect gift for a loved one, or even yourself!

What do Calla lilies symbolize?

Calla lilies have many meanings depending on the color and individual sending them—but the most common meaning for Calla lilies is purity and holiness, which makes a white Calla lily bouquet a great choice for new baby flowers, religious celebrations, and sympathy gifts. Each Calla lily color holds their own meaning, which means they’re an excellent option for just about any occasion, or even just-because! To help you choose the best Calla lily bouquet for your order, here are some of the different meanings Calla lily flowers hold: · Pink Calla lilies symbolize appreciation and admiration · Purple Calla lilies represent charm and passion · Yellow Calla lilies express gratitude

What other flowers pair well with Calla lilies?

Calla lilies are a great foundational flower, which is why they’re included in many of our flower bouquets. If you’re going for a more subdued look, a Calla lily bouquet with blush tulips would make for a fantastic centerpiece. Or, for a bolder statement, our Deluxe Smiles & Sunshine Calla lily arrangement with multi-colored roses would be a bright and stylish choice. From Calla lily delivery to sweets and gifts, ProFlowers has all of your gifting needs covered.

What occasions are the best to gift Calla lilies?

Calla lilies are great for any special occasion, or even just to brighten up a room when there’s no occasion at all! From birthdays and anniversaries to thanks and sympathies, our selection of Calla lily arrangements is sure to get your message across just beautifully. Plus, buy Calla lilies from ProFlowers and you can count on fresh flowers for seven days—so you and your loved ones can enjoy a gift that keeps on giving.

Calla lilies are native to Africa and, according to the University of Illinois, are not true lilies. They are herbaceous flowering plants that cannot survive winter in the ground outdoors. The plants grow from a rhizome, similar to a bulb, much like irises. Calla lilies grow to about 30 inches in height, and the flowers are shaped in the form of a funnel. While the white flowers are the most fragrant, calla lilies also come in pink, red and yellow.


The bulb-like structure of calla lilies grows well in a planter or in the ground in warm weather. Calla lilies may be transferred indoors at the first freeze and replanted outdoors each spring. If left in the ground, the plants are considered annuals because the roots will die when frozen. The flowers bloom in the late spring and throughout the summer. After the first freeze, the rhizomes should be dug up and allowed to dry before being moved indoors or to a warm, moist spot.


Calla lilies prefer full sun and perform well in soil that stays moist. They will bloom in the summer in partial shade, especially when the soil remains evenly wet throughout the season; calla lilies grow well beside a pond or other body of water. The rhizomes, or bulbs, look like small potatoes and grow well when planted about 1 inch deep. Rhizomes should be spaced about 1 to 2 feet apart. They provide a lush summer garden when planted with other summer-flowering plants.


While calla lilies grow well outdoors in the summer and provide yearlong blooms indoors, the flowers also make popular cut flowers in arrangements. White calla lilies are popular in floral arrangements for weddings and special occasions. The flowers do not have individual petals and make appropriate gifts for anyone ranging from business associates to friends and lovers. ProFlowers has a popular pink potted calla lily that can be enjoyed indoors and later planted outside for continued enjoyment or remain as an indoor plant.


Calla lilies are toxic and should not be kept where children or animals can get at them. The roots are the most dangerous part of the plant, though the entire flower is poisonous. Symptoms of calla lily poisoning include nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. When ingested or placed in the mouth, the oxalic acid in the plant causes burning and swelling of the mouth, tongue and throat. If the acid gets in your eyes, it can cause pain and swelling.

How to Grow and Care for Calla Lilies in Containers

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.


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Growing Calla Lily

To grow Callas indoors in a container

  • To pot the rhizome, first moisten the potting mix. Place the mix in a plastic tub and slowly add warm water, stirring with your hand until the mix is moist but not soggy.
  • Next, fill the pot about two thirds full of mix and set the rhizome, with the pointed growing tip facing up, on top of the mix. Cover the rhizome with the remaining mix. Water thoroughly and place in a warm room.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist while you await the appearance of the shoot.
  • When growth starts, set the pot in a sunny window (preferably one that faces south).
  • Calla Lilies are one of the few houseplants that thrive in wet, even soggy, potting mix. To maintain a constant supply of moisture, keep the saucer filled with water.
  • Bloom usually shows between 8 and 16 weeks after potting, depending on the amount of sunlight the plant receives.
  • In summer, move the plant outdoors to a spot in full sun. Repot once or twice during the growing season.
  • Bring indoors before frost. In areas where winter lows do not drop below 10°F, you can plant your Calla Lily in the ground in spring in an evenly moist or boggy location in full sun.

To grow Callas outdoors

  • Plant after danger of frost has passed in full sun or partial shade (partial shade is required in the South and warm inland areas of the West unless the soil is constantly wet) and rich moist soil.
  • Rhizomes should be planted horizontally, with the growing points facing up.
  • Grow in containers (3 per 12″ pot) or in the garden. Rhizomes in containers should be planted just 3″ deep.
  • Hardy to Zone 9 (20°F), but an ample layer of mulch applied in fall can get plants through winter in Zone 8 (10°F) and even Zone 7 (0°).
  • In colder climates, dig the rhizomes when frost threatens in fall and store them indoors in dry peat moss or sand at a temperature between 60° and 75°.
  • Calla Lilies grown in a container can be left in the container over winter. Bring the container indoors in fall and withhold water completely until you want to start growth again in spring.

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