The Q&A Archives: Care For Calla Lillies

Question: I recently purchased 2 potted dwarf Calla Lillies. The label on the pot gives very little instruction for their care. It states: "Prefers bright light, not direct light. Do not over water." That's it. Nothing else. I've been having a difficult time finding someone who knows how to care for them since they are so exotic and rare in this part of the word.

Anyway, when I bought these plants, they both had very stiff stems and leaves with beautiful flowers. After one month, one plant still has stiff leaves and stems, but the flowers have closed up. Why? Will the flowers open again?

The second plant still has open flowers, but the stems have become droopy, and the flowers are almost up-side down. It's leaves are still stiff. Neither plant has any brown spots. They are both still very green.

Both plants are still in the original pots and are kept indoors near a window, but not in direct sunlight. I have watered them only once since the purchase one month ago. The average temperature indoors is about 75 degrees.

Could you please tell me what I'm doing wrong with these plants and how to correct the problems?

Thank you for your help.

Diana Jacob
Brick New Jersey

Answer: Calla lillies (Zantedeschia) are originally from South
Africa and do not tolerate cold winter weather, so they're perfect for indoor growing. As a potted plant, the rhizomes are usually started into growth during the fall to force blooms during the winter. They may also be planted in spring for summer bloom. During their growth period
they prefer cool household temperatures, rich soil and ample
moisture. After blooming, when the leaves begin to yellow,
the plants should be rested by gradually reducing water,
allowing them to dry out. Callas need a rest in order to bloom again. It is a good idea to repot into fresh soil each year (usually after the dormant period), because callas like a good rich mix. I suspect temperatures have been a bit too warm for your plants which is why they're not looking as robust as they could. They may also be on the verge of going into dormancy after flowering. I'm afraid they only flower once before needing a rest so the flowers will not reopen. Hope the above answers all your questions!

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