The Q&A Archives: Calla Lily

Question: I have a four-year old white calla lily, always a houseplant. It has never bloomed, has never had more than ten leggy stems, and is already potbound again (third repotting), with fat white roots poking out the bottom. I've moved it to a corner that has Southeast and South exposures, mist it frequently, and keep the soil moist. Is this plant doomed? If I repot it, should I trim back the root ball?

Answer: Hmmm... Generally, calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) are grown as "deciduous perennials", that is, they grow for a season, then are encouraged into dormancy, to be resurrected the following season. Right about now would be the proper time for that "potting up". Maybe you've been expecting too much of it. It sounds like you're kind of stuck until after this active growing season. Try giving it some extremely WEAK fertilizer now and see what happens. Come autumn, cut back on the watering and keep it in the pot until the foliage dies down. Once it is dry, lay the pot on its side in a cool, dry, airy place. Don't water it at all during this time. Then, next year, pot it up and start the process all over. <br>Good Luck!

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