Calla Lilies: Care, Growing Guide, & Facts
Calla Lilies Plant Description
Calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) are beautifully formed flowers that are popular for wedding bouquets and home gardens.
The flowers are available in a variety of hues, ranging from white to pale pink to deep burgundy, with some new hybrids in brilliant orange and black.
They are a cut flower that lasts a long time and are commonly used in bridal decorations. Plant calla lilies in the springtime if you want to cultivate them.
They grow at a modest rate, producing blooms by early to mid-summer and flowering all summer long till early autumn. Calla lilies are native to Africa and flourish in tropical regions, although they can become invasive in other areas, such as Australia and California.
Humans and pets are both poisoned by calla lilies. Toxic in all sections of the plant. The family of this plant is Araceae, and they grow up to 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide.
How To Care Calla Lilies?
Calla lilies are a tropical flowering plant that thrives in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10. Calla lilies will die back in the summer and sprout the following year, but in colder climates, calla lilies should be planted as an annual.
To keep this plant healthy, recreate its native habitat with warmth, light, and moisture. They grow from a rhizome rather than a bulb, indicating that they aren’t real lilies. Fertilizer, like other blooming plants, promotes flower development.
Warning: Calla lilies are vigorous weeds that are recognised as invasive plants in coastal California, as per the California Invasive Plant Council. In Australia, the plant is also a concern, particularly for agricultural farmers.
How To Grow Calla Lilies?
Calla lilies flourish in a warm, light-filled environment, as befitting their tropical origins. If you live somewhere with hot, humid summers, your calla lilies could flourish well in partial shade. Calla lilies can take full sun if you live in a more moderate summer area.
To keep calla lilies flowering, they need a rich, wet, well-drained soil. Calla lilies are commonly seen growing around ponds and can survive in damp soil environments. Enabling these plants to become soggy can cause root rot, so be careful. Before planting your flowers, enrich your soil with organic matter to boost its nutritional richness.
Don’t overwater your calla lilies, especially after they’ve been planted. Once the rhizomes have entrenched themselves, water the plants once a week, or more frequently if the weather is particularly hot or drought-like. Indoor calla lily plants require continual hydration since containers dry out faster than ground plantings.
iv. Temperature and Humidity
Calla lilies prefer a hot climate with temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They also like a lot of humidity and moisture, so hot summers don’t stop the blooms from blossoming.
The plants go into dormancy when the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Before the temps drop below freezing, dig up your rhizomes for overwintering. Frost has the potential to harm the plant.
To ensure abundant blossoming, calla lilies require feeding when they are first planted and again in the spring at the start of the growing season. The majority of well-balanced fertilisers will suffice. Avoid using a nitrogen-rich blend since it will prevent the plant from blossoming.
Varieties of Calla Lilies
The blossoms of the common calla lily are white with a yellow spadix. Zantedeschia aethiopica is a common botanical name for these plants. They are both the hardiest and biggest of the calla lilies. This plant’s cultivars have been created in a variety of colours and with a lower height.
1. The blooms of Zantedeschia ‘Edge of Night’ are dark purple to black in hue, looking like black velvet.
2. Zantedeschia ‘Red Alert’: This variety blooms with brilliant orange and red flowers between May and August.
3. ‘Picasso’ Zantedeschia has white blooms with a purple throat.
4. Zantedeschia ‘Sunshine’ has vivid yellow blooms that are cheery.
How To Grow Calla Lilies From Seed?
A calla lily sown from seed might take up to three years to blossom. Pre-growing calla lily seeds may be done by spreading them out on a moist paper towel and covering them.
Place the paper towel somewhere cool, such a basement or cellar. Monitor for development after a few days. Those who don’t exhibit any indications of life should be discarded.
Place the seed in a well-draining container with a high-quality soilless media. With the thinnest layer of potting media, plant two seeds each container. Keep the soil wet and keep an eye on it for signs of growth.
After a few weeks, check the plants and pluck the weakest sprout from each container. Each container should only have one seedling.
Calla Lilies Pruning
Calla lilies don’t need to be pruned on a regular basis, but wilting bloom portions can be removed. This plant will not die if sections of it are removed. Use your fingertips to pinch stems just below the flower’s base, or sterilised pruning shears.
If you reside in zone 8 or warmer, trim it down to the soil level when it dies back at the end of the growth season and dispose of any plant waste. It will reappear in the spring. While dealing with this plant, it’s best to use gloves to prevent coming into contact with the sap.
How To Propagate Calla Lilies?
Calla lilies may be grown from seeds or by splitting their rhizome or rooting system. Calla lilies grow in big clumps that may be divided into individual plants. After the rhizomes have bloomed and their foliage has become entirely yellow, the optimum time to split them is towards the conclusion of the growth season.
This normally happens in the late summer or early fall, just before they become dormant. Rhizome-grown plants blossom considerably sooner than seed-grown plants. To propagate a calla lily rhizome, follow these steps:
• You’ll need a shovel or a pitchfork to dig out your calla lily’s rhizome if it’s in the ground. You’ll need potting soil and a clean pot if you want to keep the plant warm indoors.
• To make it simpler to pull up the root, carve a circle around it with the shovel or pitchfork.
• Brush off the dirt from the rhizome and set it in a shaded, well-ventilated spot for several days after pulling off the clumped root. It should not be damp or watered.
• After it has dried, separate the rhizomes with a sharp knife. They don’t have to be separated precisely where they link, but they should have at least one eye or root sprouting from each piece of rhizome.
• Replant the rhizome in a compost-enriched planting bed at least 6 inches besides other plants, or pot it in wet, well-draining soil. Alternatively, the rhizomes can be stored over the winter.
Calla Lilies Potting And Repotting
When the roots of your calla lilies get congested, it’s time to move them to a larger container. Root-bound calla lily plants will not grow, so if you find a problem with their roots, transplant them. Replace the old pot with one that is at least two or three inches deeper and broader.
To repot calla lilies, carefully remove them out of their smaller pot and insert them gently into the bigger one, being careful not to harm the fragile roots. Fill the new container halfway with dirt, up to an inch from the rim.
After repotting, keep the soil constantly wet for a few days. Ensure the earth isn’t too wet or flooded. Terracotta pots are an excellent choice for this plant since their porous walls enable air and water to pass through, supporting healthy growth by preventing root rot and disease caused by overwatering.
Clay pots have the disadvantage of drying out more quickly, necessitating more regular watering.
Calla Lilies In Winter
You can dig up and overwinter the rhizomes if you live in a USDA hardiness zone cooler than 8, or buy new rhizomes each growing season if you live in a USDA hardiness zone lower than 8. Brush off any residual soil once you’ve dug up a rhizome.
Calla lily rhizomes should not be washed or watered since this might induce fungal root rot. After removing the foliage, leave about 2 to 3 inches of dead leaves at the top of the rhizomes.
Permit the rhizomes to dry for four to seven days in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area. This is vital for calla lily winter maintenance because it permits the rhizome’s outer skin to toughen or cure.
Place the calla lily rhizomes in a paper bag or wrap them separately in newspaper after they have dried. Keep them in a cold, dry environment that stays approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit; a garage or basement generally suffices.
Common Pests and Diseases in Calla Lilies
When growing calla lilies, you may encounter a variety of problems, the most common of which are bacterial soft rot, which damages the rhizomes, and botrytis, a fungal disease that causes a filmy grey mould to form on the plant’s petals, stems, and leaves.
Do not really overwater your calla lilies, and make sure they’re spaced far enough apart to allow for enough air circulation to avoid fungal illnesses. Aphids, snails, and spider mites are just a few of the parasites that can wreak havoc on calla lilies.
To counteract these difficulties, use a moderate insecticidal soap or horticultural oil like neem oil on the plants.
Calla Lilies Blooming
Calla lilies have ancient Greek and Roman mythological connections to Hera, the goddess of marriage and birth, and Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. It’s still a favourite flower for bridal bouquets.
The trumpet-shaped flower contains a central spike, or spadix, that blooms from the top of a stout stem that resembles rolled paper. The common calla lily may grow up to 3 feet tall. Smaller versions are 1 to 2 feet tall.
The aroma of calla lilies is unpleasant; some people compare it to cat urine. During mid-summer to early-fall, it can blossom for 3 to 8 weeks.
When this plant doesn’t blossom, it’s typically due to an excess of nitrogen, a lack of water, or a lack of light. Change your fertiliser to one with a greater phosphorus ratio to encourage blooming.
Make sure your calla lilies have enough of water and at least 6 hours in direct sunlight. Leave the leaves in situ after the season’s flowering has ended. The leaves will continue to absorb sunlight and store nutrients for growth the next year.
When the leaves become yellow, it must be discarded. Until then, keep fertilising and watering the plant. During the winter season, the plant will rebloom after a period of dormancy, which normally lasts two months.
Common Issues in Calla Lilies Gardening
Calla lilies are relatively simple to cultivate. They don’t require much attention beyond frequent watering. They may, however, suffer if their increasing demands are not satisfied.
Brown edges of leaves: If your leaves have a brown border, it’s possible that your fertiliser has too much nitrogen. A nitrogen-rich fertiliser might generate brown-edged leaves on your plant that grows quickly and seems lush. Your plant is also unlikely to blossom.
Yellowing leaves, wilting, or stunted growth: Calla lilies adore water. If they do not have enough, they will die. If they do not have enough water, they may not blossom, seem stunted, and have yellowed and wilted leaves. Calla lilies need water to keep the leaves healthy and stimulate blossoming; a lack of sunshine can also cause stunted development.
Drooping flowers and stems: Plant drooping can be caused by either too little or too much watering. Overwatering causes fungus diseases such as root rot, soft rot, and anthracnose. Drooping stems and blossoms can also be caused by too much nitrogen in fertiliser.
If it is dehydrated, adding water will help it perk up. Uproot the plant, remove any mushy, blackened roots, apply a fungicide, and repot it in a sterilised container with a new, well-draining potting mix to help it recover from fungal diseases.