Calla Lilies: Your Complete Guide to Indoor Calla Lily Growth and Care

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Your quality of life will improve when you add calla lilies in different areas around your home. But, with the number of species available today, do you know which ones to plant? Which flowers thrive best indoors? If you’re looking for flowers that will make your indoor spaces beautiful, consider these plants.

Among other benefits, this plant produces different colored flowers and can absorb airborne pollutants, such as formaldehyde and benzene. This article will provide more information about calla lilies and how you can adequately care for these beauties in your home.

What Are Calla Lilies?

They are gracefully cylindrical flowers native to South Africa and Malawi. Calla lilies were first discovered in the 18th century by a Swedish botanist but aren’t actually lilies. Contrary to popular belief, these plants are part of the Araceae family, along with the laceleaf, devil’s ivy, Chinese evergreens, and philodendron.

During the 20th century, these flowers became more popular in the US and became a standard fixture in American art. these plants are also sought after for special occasion bouquets because of their timeless blooms.

Today,these plants are known worldwide and have become a staple in many backyard and indoor gardens. Because of its beautiful, colorful blooms, many people also grow them indoors using different sizes and types of decorative pots.

Calla lilies come in many different varieties, but the most common ones are:

Acapulco Gold:

As the name suggests, this variety of calla lily produces large blooms in bright yellow. 

Nightlife and Night Cap:

If you’re looking to add a touch of deep color to your indoor garden, these varieties fit the bill. The “Night Life” produces a large flower that comes in dark hues of blue, while the “Night Cap” produces small flowers in redder shades of deep purple.

California Ice Dancer:

This variety has large flowers in creamy white shades. It also produces leaves in dark green, allowing the white blooms to stand out. The flowers of the California Ice Dancers have stalks that can grow about 18 inches tall.

California Red:

The “California Red” variety produces a striking shade of deep reddish pink that is neither too dark nor too bright.

Pink Melody:

A tall calla lily that can grow up to two feet in height, the “Pink Melody” is characterized by having a three-toned flower. Its gradient goes from green to white to pink from the base of the bloom going upwards.

Crystal Blush:

The “Crystal Blush” is similar to the “Pink Melody” but is often whiter with a blush of pink on the edges of its petals.

Fire Dancer:

This variety is one of the showiest because it produces large blooms in deep gold with red edges.

Since this flower comes in many different varieties, it is possible to create a showstopping, multi-colored indoor garden with just calla lilies.

What Do Calla Lilies Symbolize?

When choosing a variety of calla lily to add to your indoor garden, you might also want to consider what each flower symbolizes. This information can be beneficial when wanting to give these flowers to friends and family.

The calla lily’s symbolism has changed over the years. Egyptians used calla lilies to symbolize fertility back in ancient times, while the Romans associated it with sexuality. Both of these meanings influenced the widespread use of calla lilies for weddings.

Traditionally, the white petals represent the chasteness of the bride, and the inner spike of its blooms symbolizes fertility in hopes of having children during her marriage. Over time, the relationship between the flowers and marriage turned these plants into representations of marital bliss and a person’s steadfast devotion to their spouses.

In present times, different colored calla lilies symbolize different things. For starters, white calla lilies are now used in Easter religious services and symbolize rebirth and resurrection. This symbolism is also why white are commonly seen in funeral arrangements to express sympathy.

White calla lilies also symbolize innocence, while yellow blooms show gratitude and pink blooms for admiration and appreciation. Meanwhile, purple signify passion, and black calla lilies convey the idea of elegance and mystery.

How to Care for Calla Lilies

Regardless of the variety you choose, it will be helpful to exert time and effort to care for them properly. This needed care is especially important for younger of these plants as how you care for them can affect their growth and long-term health.

Not properly caring for young calla lilies can become the reason why these plants wilt and die. Instead of improving the aesthetics and ambiance of your home’s interiors, dead calla lilies can become an eyesore. They can even harm other healthy plants around your home.

If you want to care for of these plants but don’t know where to start, take note of these tips:

Light

Because of their tropical nature, these plants thrive when placed in warm environments. Calla lilies need to bask in bright and indirect light for at least six hours a day.

If you live somewhere with humid and hot summer weather, your calla lilies will thrive better when placed in spots that have partial shade. On the other hand, if you live in cool temperatures, your calla lilies will enjoy full sunlight.

Soil

To ensure your calla lilies continue to bloom all year round, be sure to use a rich, well-draining soil.

To increase the nutritional density of your soil, add some organic matter before planting your calla lilies. Organic matter can also increase the soil’s ability to hold water, making it moist for more extended periods. You can add about one layer of organic matter every week to ensure your calla lilies get much-needed nutrients for optimal growth.

Water

Consistent moisture is essential for the growth of these plants, but never overwater them as this causes their roots to rot.  Only water them when the soil gets dry. You can determine this by sticking a finger about an inch deep into the soil.

Once rhizomes (stems that send out roots and shoot from the plant’s nodes) appear, you can water your calla lilies once every week or more. Proper watering is especially important if you experience drought-like or dry conditions in your area.

When planting calla lilies in pots indoors, you need to water them more frequently as pots dry out faster. Calla lilies placed in pots will need more moisture, so make sure to check the soil using your finger regularly.

Temperature and Humidity

Calla lilies love warm environments and temperatures ranging between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They also enjoy a decent amount of humidity and moisture and will thrive and bloom even during hot, muggy summers. If you place your calla lilies in environments that go below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, expect them to go dormant.

Since calla lilies don’t do well in frigid temperatures, make sure to protect them during the winter months. You can do this by drying their rhizomes and wrapping them in newspaper or by placing them in a paper bag. Store your calla lilies in a cool, dry place — preferably somewhere that stays around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fertilizer

Calla lilies will require fertilizer after planting and again every spring and at the beginning of their growing season. Sticking to a schedule when feeding your calla lilies is essential to promote bountiful flowering.

You can use any well-balanced fertilizer, but avoid using any that contain high levels of nitrogen. Nitrogen fertilizers can deplete soil nutrients and reduce the ability of your calla lily to produce flowers.

Potting and Repotting

Potting and repotting are essential when growing these plants. Doing this enables you to replace poor soil with a new potting mix, making the medium healthier and moister. Besides allowing the plant to grow well, repotting also prevents diseases from spreading.

If you notice the roots of these plants look crowded, it’s time to transfer them to a bigger pot. You can also re-pot your calla lilies the moment you see any issues with their roots. Root issues will affect the overall health of your plant and cause it to die.

Repotting your calla lilies is easy and doesn’t require any experience. Start by lifting the plant out of its smaller pot and gently place it into a larger pot. Be sure to pay careful attention to the overall condition of its roots while doing so. After placing these plants in a bigger pot, top it up with about an inch of new soil.

Propagation

If you want to reproduce these plants without spending tons of money, you’ll need to know how to propagate them yourself. Plant propagation allows you to obtain new varieties and hybrids and avoid disease transmission.

When propagating these plants, look for rhizomes thriving and divide them into smaller units. Let the cuttings dry for at least one day or until you see a callus starting to form. Once done, plant them with a starting mix and keep the cutting moist.

Knowing when to propagate your plant will also affect your success. It’s ideal if you begin storing rhizomes early on and planting them during spring. This season presents prime conditions for propagation since the dangers of frost have passed.

Diseases

These plants are prone to several diseases, such as bacterial soft rot and botrytis. Bacterial soft rot damages the rhizomes of your calla lilies, while botrytis is a fungal infection that causes gray mold to grow in the plants’ petals, leaves, and stems.

To protect these plants from common diseases, be mindful of how often you water them. Aside from causing their root rot, overwatering your plants can also attract bacteria. Too much moisture is ideal for bacteria to reproduce, so watering too often will encourage bacteria to live and multiply around them.

Planting these plants far from each other can also prevent diseases. When planted in gardens, your calla lilies should be spaced about six inches apart from each other. When in containers, space them out four inches apart.

Planting your calla lilies with ample space can ensure they have good air circulation, preventing waterlog.

Pests

calla lilies

Because of its colorful flowers and glossy leaves, it’s no wonder these plants attract pests. If you notice an infestation, treat it immediately. Allowing pests to prey on your calla lilies can cause unattractive, dark spots on leaves and affect their ability to bloom.

Some of the most common pests that calla lilies attract are spider mites, slugs, and aphids. To combat pests when caring for these plants, spray or rub plants with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap. For better results, use them during early mornings and evenings, as pests are most active then.

Toxicity of Calla Lilies

Unfortunately, calla lilies are toxic to pets, such as cats and dogs, due to a toxic substance called calcium oxalate crystals. This substance can cause severe pain, temporary hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and swelling upon ingestion. These crystals target the sensitive tissues of your pet’s gums, tongue, and throat. Other common signs of poisoning in pets include nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, excessive drooling, and foaming at the mouth.

If you notice your pet suffering from any of these symptoms, immediately take them to the vet. The longer you leave these symptoms untreated, the more severe the effects will get.

These plants are also toxic to humans. You can experience the same symptoms after swallowing any part of the plant. In some cases, calla lily sap may cause severe pain, burning, and swelling when in contact with skin.

When caring for these plants indoors, make sure to place them in areas inaccessible to your pets or children. Place your calla lilies on high counters or tables or hang them above windows.

Frequently Asked Questions About Calla Lilies

More and more people are adding these plants to their indoor plant collections. They are great plants because they are easy to cultivate, offer an impressive range of colors, and blossom after eight weeks of planting them. These plants Calla lilies also make stunning cut flowers, and their arrow-shaped foliage will surely make any garden look more attractive.

Before you head out to a nursery and look for a specific variety of these plants, take some time to read the information below. This section answers some of the most common questions people have about caring for calla lilies.

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