Calla lilies are easy to grow and add a classy look to perennial gardens, cutting gardens and container plantings. Their smooth, sword-like foliage stays neat and attractive all season long. Native to South Africa, Calla Lilies (Zantedeschia) provide a spectacular effect with their rich, cheerful colors and their breathtaking chalice-shaped flowers (spathe) surrounding a finger-like stalk (spadix).
Calla lily flowers emerge in mid to late summer and last for weeks. You can choose from many colors, including classic white (a favorite for weddings), yellow, orange, pink, rose, lavender and dark maroon. In the garden or in a vase, calla lilies are elegant and always impressive
SHADE AND SUN: Callas will grow in full sun or partial shade. In cool climates, a warm, sunny location is best.
ZONE: Calla lilies are winter hardy in zones 8-10. In colder areas they can either be grown as annuals or can be dug up in the fall and stored indoors for replanting the next spring. Reference the USDA Hardiness zone map here.
WHEN TO PLANT: Calla lilies should be planted in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. For a head start, you can plant the rhizomes in pots indoors about a month before planting them into the garden.
WHERE TO PLANT CALLA LILIES
FLOWERBEDS AND BORDERS: Calla lilies grow between 1 and 2 feet tall, depending on the variety. This makes them a good choice for the front or middle of a flowerbed. The speckled foliage looks attractive all season long, both before and after the plants are in bloom.
CUTTING GARDENS: Calla lilies are terrific cut flowers. They are easy to arrange and can last for up to two weeks in a vase. Planting callas in a cutting garden makes it easy to grow a wide range of different colors and have plenty of flowers for bouquets.
CONTAINERS: Calla lilies grow well in pots and planters, either on their own or mixed with other annuals. The flowers last for weeks and some varieties change color as they mature.
- Dig a hole 2 to 3” deep.
- Set the calla lily into the hole with the “eyes” (growing tips) facing up.
- Cover with soil and water lightly.
In warm zones, like Sunnyvale, calla lilies can be planted as soon as any danger of frost has passed.
Calla lilies should be grown in well-drained soil. When the rhizomes are first planted, it’s important not to overwater them. Once the plants have a few leaves, you can begin watering them as needed. In warm areas, like Sunnyvale, calla lilies grow well in full sun or partial shade.
Calla lily bulbs should be planted 2 to 4” deep and about 6” apart. After planting, it may take 2 weeks or more for the first shoots to appear. Once that happens, the plants will grow quickly. For an earlier start, the rhizomes may be planted indoors, about a month before the last frost date.
In warm climates, where calla lilies are perennial, the plants typically flower in early summer. When calla lilies are planted in the spring, they will produce flowers in late summer.
During the growing season, calla lilies appreciate a monthly dose of liquid fertilizer. This is especially true when they are grown in containers.
AFTER THE BLOOM
In warm climates where calla lilies are winter hardy (zones 8-10), the rhizomes can be left in the ground to bloom again the following summer. The plants may need to be divided every few years to keep them blooming well.