For centuries, the calla lily plant has been a sign of beauty, wisdom, mystique, and purity. From its elegant white blooms to its long and slender leaves, the calla lily is a plant that adds a touch of luxury to any space.
Horticulturalists and flower enthusiasts have long admired calla lilies for their simple yet elegant beauty. But what many don’t realize is that these blooms are actually relatively easy to care for – as long as you know a few essential tips and tricks, that is.
You may be the best gardener there is, but even the best of us can use a little refresher from time to time. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to care for calla lilies, so you can keep your plants looking healthy and beautiful all season long.
So, without further ado, let’s get into some exciting calla lily care!
Calla lily flowers are members of the Araceae family, and their scientific name is Zantedeschia. Zantedeschia is a genus of 28 species of flowering plants that are native to Africa, South Africa specifically, but the calla lily is just one of them.
The most common variety of calla lily is the Zantedeschia aethiopica, also known as the White Arum Lily or Pig Lily. This variety is what you typically think of when you picture a calla lily – a large, white bloom with a yellow center.
Horticulturally speaking, the calla lily is not actually a true lily. True lilies belong to the Lilium genus, which contains around 110 different species of flowering plants. So while the calla lily may resemble a true lily, it’s actually not one.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to how to care for your calla lilies.
When planting this beautiful flower, bury the rhizome (the thick, fleshy root) about 3-4 inches below the surface of porous soil. Calla Lilies typically produce better blooms in late spring or early summer, but you can encourage earlier blooms by planting the rhizomes in late winter.
To ensure that your Calla Lilies have everything they need to thrive, mix in some organic matter – such as compost – into the planting hole. You should also water the plant well after planting, and mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture.
If you’re planting calla lilies indoors in containers, you can plant them at any time of year. Although not specifically an indoor plant, calla lilies can adapt to life indoors quite easily with the proper care and in the right conditions.
Horticulturists recommend planting calla lilies in early spring, as this is when the plant experiences its main period of growth. Therefore, if you grow your calla lilies in early spring, you can expect new leaves and flowers to emerge in late spring or early summer.
When planting Calla Lilies indoors, be sure to choose a location that gets full sun or partial shade. These plants like it sunny, so a south-facing sunny window is ideal. However, if you live in a warmer climate, you may want to choose a spot that gets partial shade, as too much sun can scorch the leaves.
Plant your calla lily flower any time between May-June for the best results. Frost is your main enemy when it comes to planting outdoors, so it’s best to wait until the risk of first frost has passed in your area.
You’ll know it’s safe to plant when the temperatures outside are consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a warmer climate, you can plant earlier – just be sure to keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared to cover your plants if a cold snap is expected.
Calla lilies are tropical plants, so they prefer warm climates. If you live in an area with cooler temperatures, you can still grow this beautiful plant – you’ll just need to take some extra care.
When the temperature outside starts to dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to bring your calla lilies indoors. These plants are not frost-tolerant, so even a light frost can damage them.
Sandy soils with a high organic content are ideal for calla lilies. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, you can improve drainage by mixing in some organic matter – such as compost or peat moss.
If you’re growing calla lilies in containers, be sure to use a well-draining potting mix. These plants like moist soil, so water them regularly – but don’t overdo it, as too much water can lead to root rot.
Hint: If you’re not sure when to water your calla lilies, stick your finger into the soil. If it feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water.
Calla lilies are heavy feeders, so they need a lot of fertilizer for healthy plants. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season – from early spring to late summer throughout the warmer climates. Cut back on fertilizing in fall and winter, when the plant is dormant.
Hint: You can find calla lily-specific fertilizer at your local nursery or garden center.
Calla lilies are relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but there are a few things to watch out for. Check out the list below for some common issues:
● Fungal infections: Calla lilies are susceptible to a few different fungal diseases, including gray mold and root rot. To prevent these problems, water the plant at the base instead of wetting the leaves.
● Bacterial soft rot: This is a common problem in calla lilies that are grown in too much shade. If you see your plant’s leaves turning yellow and mushy, it’s a sure sign of bacterial soft rot. Remove any affected parts of the plant and water in well-drained soil.
● Powdery Mildew: This fungal disease appears as a white powder on the leaves of your plant. It’s most common in humid climates, so be sure to provide good air circulation around your Calla Lilies.
● Armillaria Rot: This is a serious fungal disease that can kill your plant. If you see black spots on the leaves or stem, it’s a sure sign of Armillaria Rot. Remove any affected parts of the plant and destroy them to prevent the disease from spreading.
The best way to prevent problems with pests and diseases is to keep your calla lilies healthy. Be sure to provide the plant with everything it needs – including plenty of sunlight, water, and fertilizer.
Spider mites are the most common pest of calla lilies. These tiny pests suck the sap from the plant, causing the leaves to turn yellow and eventually drop off. If you see spider mites on your plant, treat them with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Japanese beetles, aphids, and thrips can also be a problem for calla lilies. These pests are less common, but they can still do serious damage to your plant. If you see any of these pests on your plant, treat them with an insecticide according to the label directions.
You can find organic insecticides at your local nursery or garden center. If you’re not sure what to use, ask the experts for help.
Now that you know when to plant calla lilies, it’s time to grow them. These plants are not picky and will do well in most conditions – as long as you give them what they need.
Here is a final overview of our combined tips on how to grow calla lilies to ensure beautiful, healthy plants:
● Be sure to plant your calla lilies in fresh soil. These plants like their potting soil to be damp, so water them regularly – but don’t overdo it, as too much water can lead to root rot.
● Calla lilies need a lot of fertilizer to thrive. Be sure to use a high-quality fertilizer and apply it according to the package directions.
● Calla Lilies are susceptible to spider mites, so be sure to check your plants regularly and treat them if necessary.
● These plants love direct sunlight, so be sure to choose a spot that gets a lot of sun with partial shade.
● Calla lilies are also quite tolerant of different soil types, so don’t be afraid to try them in a spot that’s not ideal. They’re known to do well in clay or sandy soils, as long as you have well draining soil.
Calla Lilies are tropical plants, which means they’re not tolerant of colder temperatures. In fact, they can only be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones of eight and above. If you live in a colder area, you’ll need to plant your calla lilies in containers so you can bring them indoors when the temperature starts to drop.
Horticulturalists have created many different varieties of Calla Lilies, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your garden. The most common calla lily plant varieties include ‘White Calla Lilies, ‘ ‘Mango Tango,’ ‘Pink Charm,’ and ‘Yellow Majesty.’
Now that you know how to care for a calla lily plant, it’s time to get out there and start growing! These beautiful flowers are easy to care for and make a great addition to any garden. With a little effort, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous blooms that will last all summer long.
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