Growing Calla Lilies - Calla Lily Care Guide

Beautiful and graceful calla lilies aren’t terribly fussy, and are an elegant addition to any garden where there’s full or partial sun.

A yellow calla lily
(Image credit: GomezDavid / Getty Images)

Quick Facts about Calla Lilies

  • Botanical name:  Zantedeschia aetheopica
  • Height: 12-24 in. (30-61 cm.)
  • Spread: 18-24 in. (46-61 cm.)
  • Sun exposure: Full sun, part shade
  • Soil requirements: Neutral, slightly acidic
  • Hardiness zones: USDA Zones 8-10
  • When to plant: Spring

Calla Lily Care

Calla lily plants make a beautiful addition to the ornamental landscape. Though the graceful white calla lily flowers are the most common, available cultivars come in a wide range of colors. Below, we will explore the basic needs of this stunning perennial in greater detail.


Calla lilies grow best where they can receive part, or full sun, throughout the day. Ample light is essential to the production of flowers. Still, gardeners living in areas that are especially warm or receive intense sunlight may want to consider planting them in beds that are shaded throughout the hottest parts of the afternoon.


Caring for calla lilies includes paying special attention to soil moisture. Indoor plants, as well as those grown directly in the garden, appreciate consistent moisture throughout the season in addition to adequate humidity.

In most regions, supplemental watering callas in the garden is not required. However, the plants can benefit from drip irrigation or soaker hoses in regions that are especially dry or prone to prolonged periods of drought.

Temperature & Humidity

Calla lily plants grow best where conditions are warm with temperatures of at least 70 F (21 C) during the day. Humidity in the environment also plays a key role in maintaining adequate levels of moisture. Calla lily flowers can tolerate high temperatures in most gardens, provided the humidity conditions are ideal. Extreme heat can be detrimental to the plant, specifically, in regions that are dry or arid.


Calla lilies should be planted into well-amended beds with good drainage. Since they are quite adaptable, the rhizomes will grow well under a wide range of soil conditions, including those that consist of sand or clay. Their ideal garden soil should be neutral or slightly acidic with a pH of 5.6 to 6.5. To successfully grow callas indoors, the plants can be placed into containers filled with high-quality potting mix.


Calla lilies require annual feeding to keep them looking their best. Well-balanced fertilizers can be used any time before the plants start to flower. Both granulated and liquid feeds are good options, depending upon one's specific needs. As with most perennials, make certain to avoid using fertilizer after the plant has finished blooming

Problems, Pests & Diseases

While care for calla lilies is relatively simple, there are some common problems that gardeners need to be aware of. Notable among these are diseases that directly affect the plants' rhizomes and/or foliage. Rot, powdery mildew, and various kinds of wilt may be the direct result of excess moisture. Several types of pests may also target calla lily plants. Slugs and Japanese beetles being the most problematic.


Calla lily flowers can be removed as they begin to fade from the plant. Deadheading each stem prevents the production of seed, as well as encouraging bloom. Each spent flower stem should be removed carefully all the way back to the base of the plant. Dead or yellowing foliage can also be pruned in this manner, helping to maintain a healthy and tidy appearance within garden beds.


Though it is possible to grow calla lily plants from seed, most gardeners prefer to divide those that have already established themselves in the garden. This can occur every 3-5 years, and will result in flowers that are identical to the parent plant. This process should be done in the fall while each plant is dormant. After carefully lifting rhizomes from the soil the roots can be cut apart. New divisions should have at least one healthy, viable growing eye.


To perform their best, calla lilies that have outgrown their containers will need to be repotted. This should occur in the fall, when the plants are dormant. Repot calla lilies every 1-2 years, allowing for division and replanting into new or larger containers.


Here is a list of some common varieties of calla lily.

  • Crystal Clear Calla Lily
  • Garnet Glow Calla Lily
  • Odessa Calla Lily
  • Morning Sun Calla Lily
  • Picasso Calla Lily

Frequently Asked Questions

Are calla lilies toxic?

All parts of the calla lily plant are considered to be extremely toxic. Calcium oxalate and other chemical compounds may be fatal if ingested. Extreme caution should be taken when they are planted near children and pets, as well as when being handled by growers. 

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.