Growing Calla Lilies or Zantedeschia in Your Summer Flower Garden

Calla lilies are one of the most exotic of the semi-hardy perennial bulbs.

While there are six species found in the wild, most of us grow hybrids and the instructions for success are below.

Not hardy

This is not a particularly hardy bulb as it will die somewhere close to 25F or -4C. They tolerate light frosts but nothing heavily frozen. I grow mine in pots and take them indoors for the winter after they have been touched by the first light frost (or the garden has but they've been missed) I want them to be thinking of going dormant with cold temperatures and reduced light levels.

planting bulbs
Calla Lily

Poor Indoor Performers

I have grown them indoors all winter and kept them alive but they weren't too happy about it. I grew it very cool (around 50F) and allowed it go quite dry between waterings. It was too long and leggy the following year so now I simply let them go dormant.

I now let my calla lilies go dry and dormant and keep them coolish (don't let them freeze but don't give them any heat either – they get low 40's high 30's in their current winter home. Do not water when they are dormant or you'll rot them. If you have dahlias, treat them identical to dahlia tubers.

The following year, grow it in the full sun (although a bit of noonday shade is ideal to protect the leaves from scorching). Grow in a well-drained but moist soil that is rich in organic matter. Add lots of compost to the planting hole for best results. If you try to grow it in a dry garden, do not put it out in the full sun (hot and dry is a death sentence).

Ground Or Containers

They are ideal for growing in either the ground or in containers.

Easily propagated - simply divide up the tuber in the spring and make sure each section has an eye. They'll flower if the division is large enough.

Book cover spring bulbs


These are the commonly available calla lilies you'll see in garden shops.

'Apple Court' dwarf growth habit, white spathe
'Aztec Gold' spathe bright orange to reddish
'Best Gold' spathe large and golden yellow
'Black Magic' spathe yellow, throat is black
'Bridal Blush' spathe is cream with pink tones

'Cameo' spathe is peach, black throat
'Carmine Red' spathe is deep carmine
'Dusky Pink' spathe light pink

'Harvest Moon' spathe is pale lemon yellow 'Lavender Petite' spathe is plum edged with blush pink

'Majestic Red' crimson red spathe
Maroon Dainty' plum spathe with paler throat

calla lily

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