The Q&A Archives: Calla

Question: I have received a calla lily plant in a plastic pot and the flowers have all bloomed out. What do I do with this plant now? The leaves are very green, but limp. Is it a possibility that it is overwatered? Do I need to fertilize it now or cut it back? I do not want to put outside in the ground, but want to keep it in the pot. Can you help?

Answer: Sounds like the leaves are weakened, but I'm not sure why. You should keep the soil moist, but not soggy wet, and feed weekly with a 1/4 strength dilution of liquid fertilizer. When the flowers are spent, cut the flowering stems down to the level of the foliage. Callas need a rest in order to grow and bloom properly. There is a natural resting period that callas go through during the fall, when the leaves should wither and dry up. At that point, gradually slack off watering, and allow it to rest for 3-4 months. Repot it in fresh, rich potting soil (make sure to place the rhizomes 4-6" deep), and resume feeding and watering. You can keep your calla indoors, but you'll need to stop watering in the fall so the leaves will wither and die. At this point I'd keep it going through the spring and summer, then force it into dormancy in the fall. After it has rested, it should bloom again for you.

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