When To Plant Calla Lily Bulbs – Planting Guide 2024

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With their majestic, trumpet-like design, calla lilies are an instant wow factor. Whether you want to plant them indoors or outdoors, we can tell you the best steps to take for a vibrant display.

When to plant calla lilies: Calla lilies are able to grow in many different areas, as long as they receive the proper care. It is best to plant calla lilies, which start out as tubers, in the spring. Wait until the threat of frost has passed. You can plant them either directly into the ground or in containers. If you live in an area that regularly has cold winters, you will need to dig up the tubers in the fall. Do this before the first fall frost date. Conversely, if you live in an area where it doesn’t go below freezing in the winter, you can actually leave your calla lilies in the ground over winter. Calla lilies will bloom in the summer. For plants that have remained in the ground over winter, you can expect early summer blooms. As for those that are planted in the spring, expect mid-summer blooms. Be sure to leave the foliage after the blooms expire so that the leaves can bring nutrients to the tubers to store for the next blooming season.

Planting Calla Lily Bulbs in Different Climates

Tropical Climate

Calla lilies should do well in a tropical climate. The temperatures are warm enough that you can leave the tubers in the ground throughout the year. Just make sure the soil drains well so that root rot doesn’t set in.

Dry Climate

Calla lilies need water but not too much of it. They can survive next to streams, as long as there is good soil drainage. A dry climate is probably not the best for calla lilies.

Temperate Climate

In a temperate climate, you might be able to get away with keeping calla lily tubers in the ground year-round. As long as it doesn’t really dip below freezing, you won’t have to dig them up in the fall.

Continental Climate

A continental climate is good for calla lilies but you will need to be more selective about their placement. These flowers will burn in direct, full sun, and the hot summer months may be too much for calla lilies.

Be sure to plant in an area that has shade in the afternoon. Furthermore, you will definitely have to dig the tubers up in the fall before the threat of frost.

Polar Climate

Calla lilies won’t survive cold temperatures in the winter which is why they need to be dug up in the fall. You can try planting calla lilies in a polar climate if your summer months are warm enough for them to grow.

Choosing Calla Lily Bulbs

Acapulco Gold

Anyone who wants to bring sunshine to their garden will delight in this variety. The blooms are a bright yellow and they are very large in size.

California Red

For a bit of drama, you can select this variety of calla lily. The color is a nice shade between red and pink and is quite vibrant.

Fire Dance

For a true pop of color, this variety won’t disappoint. The blooms are a golden color that eventually transitions to red edges.

How to Plant Calla Lily Bulbs


A bit of care needs to take place when deciding where to plan your calla lilies. These plants don’t like full sun and in very sunny locations, their flowers can actually burn.

The best location for calla lilies is in partial shade or with filtered light. Think of places that get morning light but afternoon shade.

Planting calla lilies under a young tree is also a good idea. The thinner branches and a small number of leaves will provide a nice smattering of shade.

The natural location for calla lilies is actually near ponds and streams, so this gives you an idea of what to recreate.

Soil conditions

Overall, calla lilies aren’t too high maintenance when it comes to soil. The one factor you want to consider, however, is that they don’t like to stay in pooling water.

Too much water in the soil will lead to root rot for your calla lilies. Always make sure the soil is properly turned over before planting and that there is ample organic matter to ensure good drainage.

If you want to plant your calla lilies in a container, make sure it has holes in the bottom for good drainage.


There are two times that are best for planting your calla lilies. What you choose will depend on personal factors.

Those wanting to place their calla lilies right into the ground should wait until spring and the threat of frost is over. Late April to mid-May should work but always consult your local frost dates.

Another time to plant calla lilies is in the fall. However, you will most likely have to start them out in containers inside.

If you live in a very warm climate that doesn’t freeze too much in the winter, then you can plant one month before the first fall frost date.

Container planting

Planting your calla lily bulbs is pretty simple when choosing a container. Simply select a container that has good drainage holes and then uses an all-purpose potting mixture.

The size of the container will depend on how many bulbs you are planting. While you don’t want the container to be too large, it should be big enough so that you don’t have to worry about constantly re-potting your calla lilies as they grow.

Outdoor planting

If you want to plant outdoors, select an area with good drainage and that has partial shade.

Calla lilies start from tubers, which look like bulbs, and they don’t like to be too deep. A hole 4 inches deep will be plenty as you want just lightly cover the tops. If there is some exposure, that is okay.

Water after planting to allow the soil to settle around your calla lily tubers. If too much of the tubers are exposed after this, you can add a bit more soil.

Look for the eyes

If you’re unsure of which end to place in the dirt for your calla lily tubers, take a closer look at them. They should have growing points, also known as eyes, at one end. This part of the tuber should be placed facing upwards.

How to Water Calla Lily Bulbs

The first month after planting is the most important for watering. You want to give the calla lily tubers enough water to stimulate growth but not so much as to cause rot.

Aim to water about 1 inch of water every week. As you will most likely be planting in the spring, you only have to supplement if it isn’t raining.

For container planting, be sure to check the soil by hand. Sometimes if there are larger drainage holes, the water can seep out easier, which means you will need to water more regularly.

How to Grow Calla Lily Bulbs

Leave the foliage

After your calla lilies are done blooming, you can definitely tidy them up a bit. However, you don’t want to cut them right back.

The leaves work hard to gather more energy which is then stored in the tubers. The longer the foliage is left out, the stronger the tubers will be, which will lead to more vibrant blooms the following year.

Prepare for winter

In some, warmer areas, you can leave your calla lilies in the ground during the winter. However, you want to give them a bit of extra protection.

Because calla lily tubers are so close to the surface, you can add extra mulch, leaves, or straw to the soil. This will help insulate them from colder temperatures.

Anyone who lives in a gardening zone that is zone 10 or colder will have to dig up their calla lily tubers. This is essentially anywhere that dips slightly below freezing in the winter.

In the fall, before the first frost date, dig up your tubers. You can store them in peat moss for best results and then plant them again in the spring.

How long do calla lily bulbs take to grow?

Calla lilies are mostly planted in the spring. They start off as tubers, which are similar to bulbs.

Once they start to grow in that spring, you can expect blooms in early summer.

However, if you live in a colder climate and need to wait for your spring planting, calla lilies may not bloom until late summer.

If you live in a warmer climate and you can keep your tubers in the ground throughout the winter, you can count on early summer blooms.


Calla lilies make an excellent addition to any garden. They can be planted right in the ground but also work well in containers. Plant your tubers in the spring for summer blooms but remember that if you live in a colder area, you will need to dig the tubers up in the fall before replanting them in the spring.

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