The Q&A Archives: Advice for growing Calla Lilies

Question: Can common calla lilies be grown indoors in pots? I have been growing a common calla lily for several weeks indoors in a 6-inch plastic pot. The stems are very long and the leaves are big and green. I would like to keep the calla lily indoors on my east or west-facing windowsill. My east-facing windowsill gets morning sun. My west-facing windowsill gets afternoon/early evening sun. Which exposure would be best...east or west? Or is it best that I place it outside on my east-facing balcony? What are the water requirements? Should I let the soil dry out a little between waterings? How much water should I use? What temperature? Also,is it advised that I place my calla in an open window so that it can get air circulation?....Is this required for strong stem and flower growth?
J.Davis- N.Illinois

Answer: There are different calla lily species with slightly different requirements, so it is always helpful when sending a question to include the complete botanical name, e.g., Zantedeschia aethiopica for common calla. If yours is indeed common calla, it should take full sun for 6-8 hours in your region, so your east balcony is fine. It can also take filtered shade. Keep soil consistently moist, but not wet. They are native to South Africa so can not take cold temperatures. Place it outside when danger of frost is over (and bring indoors in the fall before frost). Use a slow-release fertilizer or any general fertilizer for blooming plants or bulbs according to package instructions. Strong stem growth comes from correct exposure to sunshine. Too little light and the stems and foliage will be pale and floppy. Good air circulation is important, just make sure your calla isn't in a cold draft. Best wishes with your plant!

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