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.
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.
Calla Lily Description
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.
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.
Calla Lily 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.
Calla Lily Facts
|Names:||Calla lily (common). — Zantedeschia aethiopica (botanical/scientific).|
|Max Growth (approx):||Flower stalk 3ft (90cm) in height.|
|Poisonous for pets:||Toxic to cats and dogs.|
Calla Lily Care
|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.|
|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.|
|Fertilizer:||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.|
|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.|
The Calla Lily is the perfect addition if you’re looking for an elegant and subtly fragrant plant. It’s beautiful flower and gorgeous foliage can really brighten up your home, just make sure you follow the guidance in this article to make sure your plant thrives at home.
The key to Calla Lilies is warmth and wetness. Calla Lilies prefer to live in aquatic areas, this is why you can find them in the wild growing along streams or ponds. So, the trick is to keep them wet – regular watering is essential! You can even leave your Calla Lily in a saucer of water for a short amount of time to let it drink as much as possible.
Originating in Southern Africa, the plant is well accustomed to warm weather! The plant can tolerate up to 75°F, but its sweet spot is between 55°F and 65°F. It’s important to closely imitate the natural conditions that it’s used to, so during the warmer months it may be an idea to home your Calla Lily outside – just make sure it’s not getting too much direct sunlight.
Although they look stunning, Calla Lilies can be really harmful if you have pets. Dogs and cats are both known to have reactions to the plant, so make sure to consider these dangers before purchasing!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do Calla Lilies go dormant?
Yes, so don’t be alarmed if your plant starts losing its leaves in the late summer. You will need to stop watering your Calla Lily after it flowers to allow it to go dormant before the winter temperatures creep in.
- How do I help my Calla Lily flower?
If your Calla Lily is struggling to flower on its own, you can try a low-nitrogen fertilizer. If that fails, you may need to check the pH of the soil, as directed above.
- Is the plant prone to any insects?
Mealybugs and Spider Mites are the most common things that can be found in the pockets of the foliage, so make sure to look out for them!
- How do I know if my Calla Lily is getting enough water?
If your plant isn’t getting enough water, symptoms may include a weak stem, loss of flowers, lack of growth or the yellowing or greying of leaves. If you think your Calla Lily is being overwatered, look out for wilting, waterlogging in the soil or yellow leaves.
- How can I help it flower?
A fertiliser high in potassium is great, Tomato Feed is a good example. This should be used during the winter every fortnight.
- Why is my Calla Lily rotting?
Rotting roots or mouldy soil is really common in Calla Lilies because the amount of water this plant needs is really tricky to get right. Root rot usually means that your Calla Lily has been kept in a dark place for too long. Simply move it to a lighter area and try to dry the plant out as much as possible.