Feeding Calla Lilies : How To Fertilize Calla Lily Plants

calla flowers
calla flowers
(Image credit: johnandersonphoto)

Few flowers have the elegance and simplicity of the calla lily. While not a true lily, callas are an integral part of weddings and funerals alike, their classic flowers representing love and devotion. Callas can get waist high and need plenty of water and a high phosphorus fertilizer. Fertilizing calla lily plants not only enhances overall health but promotes more and bigger blooms. Calla lily fertilization should also be done at planting.

Calla Lily Feeding at Planting

Feeding calla lily plants at planting and again each spring can help promote huge blooms with more flower production. Avoid high nitrogen feeds that will encourage foliar development but reduces flowers. These South African natives are heavy water users and require plenty of the right kind of nutrients for maximum flowering and healthy growth. Some tips on how to fertilize calla lily will ensure beautiful flowers and erect, vigorous plants. Calla lilies grow from tubers. Just like bulbs and corms, these are underground storage organs that contain all the material the plant needs to produce leaves, stems, and flowers. The tubers need to be plump, free of blemishes, and injury. Inspect your tubers every year if you have to lift them and overwinter tubers indoors. When you are ready to plant them in spring, prepare a well-draining garden bed or plant them in a container with good potting mix. Incorporate well-rotted compost, bone meal, or cow manure into the soil to begin a gradual feeding process. You may also want to give the tuber a bi-weekly diluted fish emulsion to stimulate growth. Remember, feeding calla lily plants is only part of the equation. These are water lovers and must never be allowed to dry out.

How to Fertilize Calla Lily Annually

In southern climates, calla tubers can remain in the ground and will produce foliage year-round. In northern climes, these tender tubers should be lifted and stored indoors in a cool, dry location until spring or all danger of frost has passed. Plants that remain in the soil benefit from mulch over their root zone. This will slowly compost into the soil, enriching it while it also conserves moisture. For an annual calla lily feeding, use an organic product or a time release blend. These deliver nutrients at a slow rate which the plant can easily uptake. You can also incorporate bone meal around the root zone to add phosphorus which enhances blooming. A high phosphorus formula may be used in spring for calla lily fertilization, but keep in mind this only delivers a high dose of one macro-nutrient and the plant will need a balanced feeding for overall health.

Other Calla Lily Nutrient Needs

Calcium is another crucial nutrient for calla lilies. It may be necessary to perform a soil test to determine if your garden soil has adequate calcium in it. For natural sources of calcium, the bone meal also works, as do eggshells. You may incorporate gypsum or lime to the soil as well before planting the tubers. This should be done at least six months prior to installing the tubers, so it takes a little pre-planning. The plant needs nitrogen too, but avoid high nitrogen formulas which promote leaf and stem formation. Instead, use good compost which has a balance of nitrogen and carbon. This natural, slow release product will feed the tubers for a year as it gradually works into the soil.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.