Growing Calla Lily Plants Indoors


Calla lily flower picture

Although an outdoor plant by nature, the Calla Lily will perform wonderfully as an indoor plant.

Keeping this rhizome happy indoors is a matter of paying attention to some very basic growing conditions.

Facts

Origin: South Africa
Names: Calla lily (common). -- Zantedeschia aethiopica (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx): Flower stalk 3ft (90cm) in height.

Description

The Zantedeschia aethiopica is native to southern Africa. As such, this plant is used to very different growing conditions than are found naturally in other parts of the world.

Growing from a single rhizome, or bulb, this plant requires wet growing conditions in order to remain healthy. These oddly shaped flowers bloom in June and July outdoors, but from spring into fall if kept at the proper temperatures indoors. Otherwise, these plants provide beautiful leaves for the rest of the year.

How it looks: This plant grows directly from its bulb, without any stems in between. Large leaves open up just above the soil, and rise 2 to 3 feet into the air as they unfurl. The trumpet shaped flowers grow a few inches or so above the dark green foliage at the top of a tall stalk.

A single bulb will produce multiple leaves and flowers. Leaves are shaped like an arrow and grow quite dark. The white flowers can grow up to 10 inches long each. Every bloom produces a large, single-petal flower that resembles an upturned bell with one side stretched out of proportion. The center stamen is always yellow.

Flowering: The Calla Lily requires no encouragement to get it to bloom. So long as the moisture and light conditions are within tolerance levels of the plant, the blooms will occur without any special attention.

Close up picture of white flower

Poisonous for pets: Calla lillies are toxic for pets including dogs and cats if they ingest this plant. Look for signs of mouth irritation, problems swallowing, vomiting or any other unusual symptoms and take your pet to the vet asap to get treated.

Flowering Problems

If you lily refuses to flower for an entire growing season, the problem is likely in the soil. Test the potting soil for pH. The soil pH should be between 6.0 - 6.5 for a healthy plant.

If your soil pH is within limits, you might be over watering. Check the moisture level of the soil and adjust so that it is moist, but never soggy, three inches down.

For a plant with good soil pH and good moisture, the problem may be too little sunlight. Increase its light, but not its temperature. Any changes will require at least four weeks to produce blooms.

Giving Some Love And Calla Lily Care Indoors

  • Temperature: These flowers can be rather picky about their temperatures. For ideal growing conditions expose the bulbs to days no hotter than 65°F and no colder than 55°F. The above ground plant can tolerate temperatures as high as 75°F. If your home is hot, use mulch to keep the bulb cooler in its pot.

  • Light: This plant requires plenty of bright sunlight during non-peak hours of the day. Provide it with a sunny window facing east or west for best results.

  • Watering:Zantedeschia aethiopica is a water loving plant. It grows best on the edges of ponds and in the mud. Because of this, your indoor lily will prefer moist conditions. Keep the soil always moist, but never allow water to sit in the container. Too much water will cause the bulb to rot.

  • Soil: Standard potting soil is a good mixture for this plant. Avoid potting soils with an unbalanced pH or too much fertilizer mixed in.

  • Fertilize: The Calla Lily normally doesn't need fertilizer. If you desire better growth, use a fertilizer with no ammonium in it. Use this in a mixture of 1 part fertilizer to 1 gallon of water, and fertilize once every two weeks for a single season only. Continued fertilization for long periods of time will harm the plant.

  • Re-potting: This plant takes to re-potting well. Simply dig the plant out of the soil, including the entire bulb. Replant the bulb with the shoots pointing up at least three inches deep in the soil. Cover, and water once. Wait until new growth is evident before watering again.

  • Air Humidity: Normal room humidity is acceptable for this plant, as long as the soil is kept moist. This is especially true during winter.

  • Propagation: If the Calla Lily is fertilized, small black berries will form. These can be dried out and planted in three inches of potting soil. This will form new bulbs. Otherwise, you can dig up the rhizome and break off a section of it. Permit this to dry for two days, then plant with the non-smooth side up and water according to re-potting instructions.

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