Calla lilies will grow the most flowers possible if they are planted in full sun. In warm climates they will still flower well in part shade and protection from the harsh afternoon summer sun. For cool climates it is essential to plant them in full sun for the most flowers possible.
Calla lilies are easy to care for and drought hardy. They grow from rhizomes which send up bright green shoots with white specks. If you are growing the plants from rhizomes, choose the biggest ones possible because they will produce more stems and more flowers.
When to plant calla lilies
It is best to plant calla lily rhizomes or plants in spring after the weather has started to warm and there is no chance of frosts. In temperate or sub-tropical regions calla lilies will stay green all year and can be left in the ground over winter. They will not grow flowers again until the next spring.
Growing calla lilies as an annual
In cold regions calla lilies can be grows as an annual and the rhizome can be dug fall. Trim off any dead flowers and stems down to 2-3 inches from the rhizomes. Let the rhizome dry out for 4-5 days in a protected area and store them in damp peat moss over the summer in a basement or garage.
These can be bought out again in spring ready to grow new stems and new flowers.
Calla lilies can grow up to 2 feet tall so make the perfect border plant. I have planted mine in front of a mango tree and next to some larger canna lilies.
6 Ways to get more calla lily flowers
Here are my top 6 ways to get more flowers from your calla lily.
1. Choose full sun position
Plant calla lilies in the ground or in pots in a full sun position. This is the best way to get them producing the most flowers possible. Trim back any overhanding branches or shrubs that are blocking the sun for your calla lilies.
Calla lilies in pots can be moved out into a full sun position in spring and then brought under a protective verandah or garage during the winter months. This will help to protect the stems from frosts and keep them alive over the cold months.
In very hot regions, calla lilies will grow best with some afternoon shade. A position that gets 6 hours of sunlight is ideal with protection from the harsh afternoon sun.
2. Plant rhizomes in spring and only give small amounts of water
Growing calla lilies from rhizomes is easy and will give you healthy plants and flowers by summer. Plant rhizomes in spring in good quality soil and give them small amounts of water until you see stems grow through. After this keep them well watered and feed them with a liquid fertilizer.
Call lily rhizomes grow fast and you should see shoots within 2 weeks of planting. Flowers will generally appear at the start of summer. Calla lily plants bought in early spring will flower sooner. I bought my calla lilies already in flower in spring and they are continuing to grow flowers into summer.
3. Plant in well-draining soil
Well-draining soil is essential for healthy calla lilies and lots of flowers. If you are planting them in the ground improve the soil first with aged cow manure and compost. This will increase the air and organic matter in the soil allowing it to drain well. This will prevent the rhizome from rotting in the ground before it produces flowers.
4. Feed calla lilies each month with liquid fertilizer
To get the most flowers possible from your plant, feed calla lilies with a liquid fertilizer each month over spring and summer. Calla lilies use up a lot of energy producing flowers so feed them regularly to keep them growing strong. You can use a general liquid fertilizer or a flower and fruit promoting fertilizer.
Use a flower and fruit promoting fertilizer if you notice that you have lots of leaves but no flowers.
5. Deadhead calla lily flowers as soon as they have finished
Deadheading is essential to support your plant to grow as many flowers as possible. As soon as the flower has started to dry up and turn brown, snip them off as close to the base as possible. This will keep the plant’s energy focused on producing new flowers rather than seed pods.
6. Choose the biggest rhizomes possible
For the most flowers from your calla lily rhizomes choose the biggest rhizomes possible when purchasing them. Large rhizome will produce more flowers and more leaves giving you a bigger and more productive plant.
When choosing a plant in a pot, choose one with the most leaf stems possible. Don’t worry about flower at this stage. Lots of leaf stems indicates that the bulb is healthy and that you will soon get lots of flowers when the weather warms in spring and summer.
Can calla lilies get too much sun?
Calla lilies can suffer from sunburn if they are exposed to too much harsh afternoon sun. This can happen in hot dry climates where the sun is hot and the soils are drier. In this case it is best to plant calla lilies in a position that gets protection from afternoon sun.
A front garden that gets afternoons shade from nearby shrubs and tree is perfect for protecting calla lilies. Plant them in pots so you can move them around in summer to get protection from the harsh sun.
Will calla lilies bloom all summer?
Calla lilies will bloom all summer if the old flower heads are removed, if they are watered regularly and fed with liquid fertilizer. Feeding them monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer is a great way to keep them blooming all summer long.
How long do potted calla lilies last?
Potted calla lilies can grow all year in mild climates with protection from frosts. In cold regions calla lilies will grow well from spring to summer but die back in fall. The rhizomes can be dug up and stored in a cool, damp place over winter. Plant them again in spring and they will grow new stems and flowers.
Growing Calla Lilies in Full Sun | Summary
Calla lilies will produce the most flowers when grown in full sun. Plant them in well-draining soil and water them well over the warmer months. Protect calla lilies from harsh afternoon sun if you live in a hot dry climate. Calla lilies will keep producing flowers all spring and summer if the old flower heads are snipped off and the plant is given a dose of liquid fertilizer each month.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.