Calla lilies are surprisingly beautiful flowers. From a distance they may seem somewhat understated, however the closer you get to the interesting flowers and blooms, the more intrigued you will become. Learn how to plant Calla lily bulbs, so that you can enjoy them year after year in your summer garden arrangements.
Calla lilies, also known by their botanical name zantedeschia, are perennials in warmer zones 9 and above.
Calla lilies, just like daylilies, are not actual lilies!
These plants grow from rhizomes, which are shaped very much like bulbs all attached together. Many Identify the rhizomes as bulbs because of their appearance.
Several years ago I received a gift of Calla lilies on Mother’s Day from my sweet children. I wanted to make sure that I took special care of these important flowers, to grow them to full bloom and enjoy the wonderful gift.
They were planted in two containers on my front deck where I knew I would be easily able to water and care for them.
I was so surprised at just how beautiful they were when they finally bloomed. The flowers had great substance, and the colours so perfectly blended that it seemed they could have been created by an artist.
The shape is so unique, and the plant structures inside the flower are so interesting to see.
Where Is The Best Place To Plant Calla Lily Bulbs?
You can plant Calla lilies in the garden or in pots. Both places are great spots to plant these flowers.
Do Calla Lilies Need Sun Or Shade?
Callies lilies do best in full sun however they do tolerate some shade.
There is a rule of thumb on where to plant your bulbs, depending on the area where you live.
If you are in a very hot location where your summers are scorching in the sun, your calla lilies will benefit from some shade.
If you are in a cooler climate where the summer sun is not too strong, your calla lilies will prefer your sunny location.
I am in a cooler area in zone 5b. I chose to plant my calla lilies in pots on my front porch. In this location they get sun from early morning until around 1PM.
They grew very well in this location and bloomed beautifully.
When Should Calla Lily Bulbs Be Planted?
Plant calla lilies when the risk of all frost has passed. Check your frost dates and use these times as a guide for planting.
How To Divide Calla Lily Bulbs
Calla lilies are actually rhizomes, and they form bulb shapes on the rhizome as they mature and multiply.
Calla lily rhizomes are very easy to divide.
At the end of the season when you dig up your original rhizome, you will most likely find that many small bulb shaped protrusions have formed around the outside of the original.
These can be broken off and separated from the original piece that you planted, if they are large enough.
It’s best to keep the small ones attached to allow them to grow, and break off any larger parts that have formed.
It’s best to divide your calla lily rhizomes in the fall. Then they are ready to plant in the spring.
If you divide them in spring, allow them to dry for several days before planting, so that the wound can heal.
How To Plant Calla Lily Bulbs
How Deep To Plant Calla Lily Bulbs?
- Whether growing in the garden or in a pot, plant your Calla lilies at a depth of approximately 4 inches.
Should You Soak Calla Lilies before Planting?
- Calla lilies do not require soaking before planting. Give the soil a good soaking after planting, to help initiate growth.
Planting Callas In The Garden
- Plant in the right location for your area, in full sun or partial shade.
- Space rhizomes at approximately 8 inches apart.
- They should be planted in good fertile soil, rich in organic matter, at a depth of about 4 inches.
- Plant with the flat part of the rhizome facing downwards, and the pointy end with plant growth facing up
Planting Calla Lilies In Pots
Calla lilies grow very well in pots! This is how I grow mine.
- Fill the pot with a rich potting medium.
- Add some organic fertilizer or compost to the soil. We have been using Gaia Green organic all purpose 4-4-4 fertilizer with great results, and a little goes a long way.
- Dig a hole 4 inches deep.
- Place rhizome in the pot , smooth side down, planting tips facing upwards.
- Cover with soil and water in well.
- Keep the soil moist, and water every few days.
- It may take up to three months to get blooms, depending on the variety of Calla lilies planted.
- My callas took 2 months to bloom. They were planted on Mothers Day and were blooming by mid July!
Calla Lily Bulb Care
What Soils Do Calla Lilies Like?
- Calla lilies do best in moist, rich, organic and fertile soils. Make sure that there is good drainage in the planting location.
What Fertilizer Is Best For Calla Lilies?
- Calla lilies do best with fertilizer with high phosphorous content.
- Be careful not to use a fertilizer with high nitrogen, as this will lead to great foliage, but no blooms.
- You can’t go wrong using just plain organic compost, fish emulsion fertilizer, or a balanced fertilizer.
How Often Should You Water Calla Lilies?
- Calla lilies require quite a bit of moisture. Water every couple of days.
- Be careful not to overwater, and make sure there is good drainage. It’s important that the rhizomes aren’t sitting in water.
Do You Deadhead Calla Lilies?
- Definitely deadhead old spent blooms.
- This will allow the plant to put it’s energy into more growth for the plant, rather than into seed production.
When Do Calla Lilies Bloom?
- Calla lilies bloom within two to three months from planting. Some may bloom even later, at four months from planting, depending on the variety.
Do Calla Lilies Come Back Year After Year?
- Calla Lilies can be perennials in zones 9 and above.
- Otherwise if grown in colder zones they will need to be dug and stored away every year.
How Long Do Calla Lilies Last?
- Calla lily rhizomes can last for a very long time if properly cared for.
- In fact they can last for decades, or longer.
- They are plants you can gift to others to start their own display, to continue them on in a different location.
- Make sure to dig up and properly store for the winter if you are in zone 8 or less.
Do Calla Lilies Spread?
- Calla lilies spread by growth of the rhizome. They remain fairly well contained within the area that they are planted.
How To Store Calla Lily Bulbs
- Lift the rhizomes out of the soil by digging around the plant.
- I lifted mine and brushed off the dirt.
- Allow them to dry for several days, and then cut back the stems and cut off the roots.
- You can wash them off at this point and divide if there are any larger parts for division. I left mine intact with a little bit of dry potting soil in place.
- Place in a box with good air circulation. Place the clumps inside the box and make sure that they are not touching each other.
- If one happens to go moldy throughout the winter the mold can spread to healthy rhizomes. Keeping them apart and not touching will help prevent this from occurring.
- Store in a cool dark place.
- When you check on them in spring, they will most likely have started to sprout!
- Make sure not to plant them out until all danger of frost has passed!
I hope that you have found this post on how to plant calla lily bulbs helpful! Please feel free to leave a comment or question. They are always welcome!
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