How to Grow Calla Lillies


Calla lilies are herbaceous, perennial-growing, flowering plants that are indigenous to South and East Africa. The common calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) produces 8 to 9--inch long trumpet shaped white flowers. Hybrid varieties of calla lilies come in an assortment of colors including yellow, pink, purple, white and even dappled colors. Whether you grow the common calla lily or one of the hybrid varieties, make sure you provide them with rich, fertile soil and plenty of water.

Planting Calla Lily Bulbs

Step 1

Choose a planting area for the calla lilies that can provide full sun in the mornings and dappled light in the afternoons. This is especially prudent if your growing region has hot, arid summer weather. Plan on planting calla lily bulbs in the spring once the temperature remains above 55 F; otherwise, the calla lilies will not grow.

Step 2

Spread out over the growing area a 4 to 5--inch layer of peat moss, aged manure or dehydrated compost. Use a garden fork or shovel to incorporate the mixture into the soil down to a depth of 12 inches.

Step 3

Dig holes for the calla lily bulbs that are between 4 and 5 inches deep and approximately 1 to 2 feet apart.

Step 4

Plant one calla lily bulb into each of the previously dug planting holes. Scoop in soil over each of the calla lily bulbs. Then, tamp the soil down over the entire planting area.

Step 5

Water the calla lily bulbs to moisten the soil thoroughly. Keep the soil in the growing area moist, but never soggy wet. Calla lily bulbs will begin sprouting in 2 to 3 weeks, depending on conditions.

Caring for Calla Lilies

Step 1

Water the calla lilies 1 to 2 times a week during their growing season. Provide enough water to moisten the soil down to a depth of approximately 3 to 4 inches.

Step 2

Fertilize calla lilies once every month using a 15-15-15 granular fertilizer. Read the instructions suggested by the manufacturer so you will know the precise amount of fertilizer to use.

Step 3

Spread a 2 to 3--inch layer of pine bark, grass clippings or leaf mold as mulch around the calla lilies once they are about 4 to 6 inches tall. This can help conserve moisture and prevent weeds from growing.

Step 4

Dig up the calla lily bulbs in September using a garden fork, if you live in the USDA Zones 1 through 7 (calla lilies cannot tolerate freezing temperatures).

Step 5

Shake off any excess soil from each of the calla lily bulbs. Then, place the calla lily bulbs in a warm location to dry for about 3 to 4 days.

Step 6

Store the cleaned and dried calla lily bulbs in a cool and dry area in your home. Ideally the temperature should remain between 55 and 60 F, as recommended by Pacific Callas.

Step 7

Plant the calla lily bulbs the following spring after there is no more chance of spring frost.

Things You'll Need

  • Calla lily bulbs
  • Shovel
  • Peat moss, aged manure or dehydrated compost
  • Shovel or garden fork
  • Planting stakes
  • Pine bark, grass clippings or leaf mold
  • Fertilizer
  • Trowel
  • Paper bag


  • Floridata: Calla Lily
  • Pacific Callas: How to Grow Calla Lilies
  • Campbell's Nursery: Growing Calla Lilies

Who Can Help

  • U.S. National Arboretum: Planting Zones
Keywords: planting calla lily, growing calla lilies, planting calla lilies

About this Author

Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.