Are Calla Lilies Perennial or Annuals? (Growing Caring Guide)

With its beautiful and colorful blooms, calla lilies are a favorite among gardeners and flower lovers. These gorgeous blooms may give a sense of refinement to any garden or floral arrangement and have a timeless charm. When it comes to calla lilies, one of the frequent queries is whether or not they are perennial perennials. Understanding the lifecycle of these flowers and their growing patterns can help us determine whether calla lilies are perennial or not. In this blog post, we will delve into the intriguing world of calla lilies and explore whether they have the potential to grace our gardens year after year.

Are Calla Lilies Perennial?

Calla lilies are perennial plants that come back every year if rhizomes protected. We first cut off calla lily wither blooms and dug up bulbs of perennial calla lilies. Perennial plants like Calla lilies are grown year after year in case of calla they need to be protected from heavy frost, this way they are called perennial.

For some people calla lilies are still annual because they don’t take out bulbs and let their calla bulb freeze, this way it won’t grow back next year. Gardeners like me and many used to take out bulbs then it is stored indoors inside the house and wrapped in sphagnum moss which safeguard the rhizomes for next season.

Once string starts you can plant back all calla lily bulbs again in pots or large containers and water them on a regular basis or whenever they need.  Also make sure don’t put calla bulbs in direct sun or partial light, they just need shade only until it grows the shoots. Once Shoots emerge and create a length you can change the place of the pot to direct sun or partial light source. This way calla lilies will get more sunlight, which means more growth and they will bloom after 3 months or in the summer.

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Quick Facts about Calla lily :

Family  Araceae
Scientific Name  Zantedeschia aethiopica
Native South Africa and Southern Africa
Other Names   Arum lily, Calla lily
Plant Type  Flowering plant/ Rhizome based
Hardiness zone  3 to 10
Bloom Time Summers
Height  1-3 feet(19-36 inches)
Width 1-2 feet(12-24 inches)
Soil   Well draining
Light Requirement  Full Sun to Partial
Fertilizer  Liquid based
Uses  For flowering Purposes
Growth Rate  Slow growing
Flower Colors White, Yellow, coral, pink, violet

Calla lilies as perennial have green leaves year round but if the climatic conditions are perfect like not too cold temperature and efficient light source. Frost is the number one reason why calla lilies are sometimes called annual but when they are protected from freezing temperature it can grow again next year which basically means it is now perennial. For perennial plants you should give them full sun to partial light and provide proper water which makes the soil moist, don’t make it soggy else root rot is a common problem which can occur.

There are a variety of calla lilies that don’t like winter or frost. That is why those calla lilies didn’t survive in cold climates and they are termed as annuals. If you really want calla lilies to grow every year then make sure to follow what I have explained like digging up the soil and taking out the rhizome or bulb of the calla lily plant and putting it in peat or sphagnum moss. Provide them over 54 degree F temperature it will be ready for the next spring season and you can expect the blooms in the month of early to mid summer.

How to Keep the Calla lily Growing for years if you want to make the plant perennial. So to make sure your calla lily grows every year, place them in a warm temperature and if you have a cold season coming then place the calla lily bulb back indoors and provide a warmer place. This will surely save the plant.

Are calla lilies perennial


Calla Lilies: An Overview

Zantedeschia, or calla lilies, are beautiful blooming plants that mesmerize with their timeless beauty and distinctive features. These fascinating plants, which are native to southern Africa, are members of the Araceae family, which also contains well-known species like the peace lily and philodendron.

The magnificent funnel-shaped blossoms of calla lilies are one of its most distinctive characteristics. A single, enormous petal called a spathe makes up each bloom, which delicately encircles a long, thin spike called a spadix. Calla lilies stand out from other blooming plants due to the harmonic interaction between the spathe and spadix, which results in a captivating floral structure.

The wide variety of hues that calla lilies exhibit only serves to increase their attractiveness and adaptability. The traditional white calla lily is a timeless representation of innocence and beauty because of its pure perfection. These beautiful flowers may also be found in a wide variety of hues, such as vivacious yellows that express warmth and pleasure, gentle pinks that conjure a sense of elegance and femininity, and energetic oranges that show vigor and excitement. Deep purple and burgundy calla lilies create a feeling of mystery and refinement for those looking for a more dramatic touch.

Beyond its aesthetic value, calla lilies have symbolic meaning in many cultures and situations. They are a common option for weddings and other significant occasions since they have historically been connected to purity, rebirth, and loyalty. Calla lilies are loved around the globe as symbols of fertility, wealth, and heavenly beauty.

Both seasoned gardeners and novices alike might find cultivation of calla lilies to be gratifying. These plants do well in wet soil with some shade, so they are suitable for a range of garden settings. Calla lilies may flourish and produce gorgeous blooms with the right care, complimenting any landscape or flower arrangement.

Calla lilies have appeared in literature, art, and design in addition to being beautiful. Numerous artists have used their graceful shape and alluring hues as inspiration and immortalized them in paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. Calla lilies’ ongoing popularity attests to their ubiquity and capacity to inspire feelings of elegance and beauty.

Buy Fresh Calla Lily Bulbs/Rhizome :

White Calla Lily Bulbs, Organic Bulbs

Calla Lily Zantedeschia Yellow 2 Bulbs

Calla Lily Zantedeschia BLACK 2 Bulbs

Calla Lily Zantedeschia Red Fire 2 Bulbs

Are Calla Lilies Annuals or Perennials?

Calla lilies are primarily considered as perennial plants. This means that, under suitable growing conditions, they have the ability to regrow and bloom for multiple years. Calla lilies may be maintained as annuals or plucked from the ground and kept inside over the winter in areas with severe winters or unfavorable growth environments.

Calla lilies, which are generally perennial plants, have a remarkable capacity to regenerate and bloom again if grown in the right circumstances. This quality makes them more desirable to horticulture aficionados and enables a more in-depth appreciation of their alluring beauty.

Calla lilies often grow in abundance in wetland regions, such as along the sides of streams and in marshes, in their natural habitats. These conditions provide the plants the right amount of moisture, nutrient-rich soil, and light shade for them to flourish. The capacity of calla lilies to easily absorb nutrients and water, maintaining their healthy development and continual blooming, demonstrates their natural adaption to such circumstances.

However, calla lilies could need extra care to live and flourish in areas with severe winters or unfavorable growth circumstances. Calla lilies are often handled as annuals in colder locations when frost and subfreezing temperatures are frequent. As their bulbs may not survive the winter frost, they are only grown for one growing season before being transplanted the next year.

Gardeners may take a number of precautions to safeguard calla lilies throughout the winter, when the temperatures drop dramatically. Before the first frost, you may remove the bulbs from the ground and keep them inside in a cool, dry area. This technique entails carefully digging out the bulbs, removing extra dirt, and letting them dry for a few days. When the bulbs are completely dry, you may store them in a container filled with peat moss or vermiculite to keep them from getting wet until you’re ready to transplant them in the spring.

Alternatively, calla lily bulbs may be extensively mulched with organic materials like straw or wood chips in areas where the soil does not freeze severely. These safeguards improve the bulbs’ chances of surviving the winter by helping to insulate them from the cold and preventing the soil from completely freezing.

Calla lilies may be replanted in the ground or containers, depending on the gardener’s desire, after the frigid grip of winter has loosened and the weather begins to thaw. The bulbs awaken from their dormant condition with the approach of spring, putting out new shoots that will ultimately give birth to their stunning and alluring blossoms.

Difference Between Annuals and Perennials

In order to properly care for calla lilies, it is essential to comprehend the distinction between annuals and perennials. The main differences between these two varieties of plants are as follows:

  • Annuals: During a single growing season, annual plants go through all stages of their life cycle. They begin as seeds, sprout, develop blooms, lay eggs, and ultimately perish. As a result, they must be replanted every year to keep up a steady show of flowers. Petunias, zinnias, and marigolds are popular annual plants.
  • Perennials: Under the correct circumstances, perennial plants, such as calla lilies, may sprout and bloom every year. They can survive for many years. During the winter, these plants often fall into hibernation before starting to develop again in the spring. Roses, tulips, and daylilies are a few perennial plant varieties.

Hardiness Zones

When it comes to effectively cultivating calla lilies, knowing the hardiness zones is essential since it helps identify whether a certain area is suitable for these lovely plants. Gardeners may choose plant kinds that are best suited for their local environment by using hardiness zones, which provide useful information about the usual minimum winter temperatures in various locations.

Calla lilies are often regarded as hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8–10 because to their predilection for warmer climates. These are often the areas where the winters are pleasant and there is little chance of temperatures falling below freezing. In these regions, it is possible to grow calla lilies as perennial plants that come back every year to adorn gardens and landscapes with their exquisite flowers.

Alternative methods may be used in areas with colder climates when the normal winter temperatures fall below the range that calla lilies enjoy. These regions allow for the cultivation of calla lilies as delicate perennials, which implies that although they may last the winter, they will need more care to preserve their health. Gardeners in colder climates may use a variety of methods, such as mulching, insulation with straw or blankets, or even temporary covers like frost cloths, to protect the bulbs during the winter months. These actions aid in establishing a microclimate that protects the bulbs from the worst winter elements and raises their chances of survival.

In colder areas, treating calla lilies as annuals is an additional alternative. In this situation, the bulbs are sown in the spring or the beginning of the summer, allowed to develop and bloom over the warmer months, and then removed or changed the following year. With this method, there is no longer a need to safeguard the bulbs throughout the winter, and gardeners in colder regions may still take pleasure in the beauty of calla lilies, although on a seasonal basis.

It’s crucial to remember that hardiness zones are not the only deciding element in gardening choices, despite the fact that they provide a valuable framework. The success of cultivating calla lilies may be impacted by the microclimates present in a certain place, including proximity to water bodies, wind patterns, and sunshine exposure. To make a more accurate determination of whether calla lilies may flourish in a certain place, gardeners should take these aspects into account in addition to the stated hardiness zone.

Winter Care

To ensure the survival and thriving of calla lilies during the winter months, proper care is essential. Here are some tips for winter care:

Outdoor & Indoor Preservation

  1. Outdoor preservation: It’s crucial to get calla lilies ready for winter in areas where they may be planted outside all year. After the first frost, trim back the leaves, clean up any clutter surrounding the plants, and mulch the area to shield the bulbs from the cold.
  2. Calla lilies may be taken from the ground in colder areas before the first frost and kept inside during the winter. The bulbs should be gently dug out, the extra dirt removed, and they should be placed in a cool, dark area with sufficient ventilation. To maintain moisture levels and stop them from drying out, store them in containers containing vermiculite or peat moss.

Division and Expansion

During the dormant period, calla lilies can also be divided and expanded to create more plants. Here’s how:

  1. Division: Carefully cut the dormant bulbs into smaller pieces, ensuring that each piece has a strong root system. Make sure the top of the bulb is slightly below the soil level before replanting the divisions in well-draining soil. Thoroughly water the freshly planted divisions.
  2. Expansion: Calla lilies may be multiplied if desired by planting the dormant bulbs in indoor pots over the winter. This enables early development and the potential for outside transplantation as the weather warms up in the spring.

Growing as Perennials

When growing calla lilies as perennials, there are a few key factors to consider:

  1. Sunlight: Calla lilies grow well in moderate shade to direct sunlight. For optimum development and flowering, give them 4-6 hours of direct sunshine each day.
  2. Calla lilies need well-draining soil, which is a requirement. They benefit from the addition of organic matter, such as compost, to improve fertility and drainage. Their preferred soil pH range is slightly acidic to neutral (about 6.0-7.0).
  3. Calla lilies benefit from regular soil moisture, but not from standing water. Once or twice a week, thoroughly water them, letting the top inch of soil dry out in between.
  4. Fertilization: To encourage strong foliage and a profusion of flowers, use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks throughout the growth season.

Can You Grow Them as Annuals?

Calla lilies may be cultivated as annuals in areas with cooler weather even though they are typically perennials. Gardeners in these regions may take advantage of the magnificent blooms of calla lilies for only one season by planting them as annuals. The plants may be taken out and replanted the following year after the growth season is through. But remember that planting calla lilies as annuals can need buying fresh bulbs or beginning from seed every year.

Reasons to Plant Calla Lilies

There are several reasons why planting calla lilies can be a great choice for your garden:

  • Elegance and Beauty: Calla lilies are highly regarded for their opulent, refined look. Their magnificent blossoms give any landscape or floral arrangement an air of elegance and beauty.
  • Versatility: Calla lilies may be planted in many different places, such as flower beds, borders, pots, and even as cut flowers. They may be utilized in a variety of ways to improve the aesthetics of both indoor and outdoor environments because to their adaptability.
  • Calla lilies are available in a broad variety of hues, including the traditional white as well as brilliant yellows, pinks, oranges, and purples. With this species, you have many options for putting together eye-catching color schemes in your garden.
  • Calla lilies often connote purity, grace, and rebirth in symbolism. Due of their symbolic implications, they are popular selections for weddings, special events, and bouquets.

How to Care for Calla Lilies

Proper care and maintenance are essential for the health and vitality of calla lilies. Here are some important care tips:

  • Keep the soil equally wet but not soggy by watering it. Once or twice weekly, water thoroughly, letting the top inch of soil dry out in between applications. Refrain from overwatering to prevent root rot.
  • Applying a layer of organic mulch around the plants will help to retain moisture, control weed growth, and maintain soil temperature.
  • During the growth season, fertilize calla lilies every 4-6 weeks using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. For the correct application rates, according to the directions on the fertilizer package.
  • Deadheading: Cut the stem slightly above the leaves to remove wasted blooms. By preventing the development of seed pods, which might redirect energy away from flower production, deadheading promotes ongoing flowering.
  • Pruning: After the first autumn frost, trim the leaves back to the ground. In doing so, the plants preserve energy for the next growth season and get ready for hibernation.
  • Control of Pests and Diseases: Keep an eye out for common pests like slugs, spider mites, and aphids on the plants. Use the proper organic or chemical controls to quickly treat any pests. To further prevent fungus, provide enough air circulation and abstain from overhead watering.

Varieties of Calla Lilies

Calla lilies come in a variety of cultivars, each offering its own unique characteristics. Here are a few popular varieties:

  • Commonly referred to as the white calla lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica has huge white blossoms and glossy, arrow-shaped leaves.
  • The Zantedeschia ‘Flame’ calla lily adds a splash of bright color to the landscape with its fiery, orange blossoms with yellow centers.
  • Zantedeschia ‘Picasso’: The “Picasso” calla lily has beautiful blossoms with white petals flecked with purple, providing a dramatic and artistic show.
  • The beautiful deep purple to almost black blossoms of the Zantedeschia ‘Black Star’ cultivar provide drama and elegance to any arrangement.

These are just a handful of the stunning calla lily types that gardeners may choose from.

Color Options of Calla Lilies

Calla lilies offer a wide range of color options to suit various tastes and preferences. Some of the most popular colors include:

  • White: Elegant and traditional, white calla lilies stand for innocence and purity. Weddings and other formal events often employ them.
  • Yellow: Bright and cheery calla lilies inspire sentiments of happiness and optimism. They work well at bringing a bit of sunshine to landscapes and bouquets.
  • Pink calla lilies stand for affection and appreciation. They are well-liked options for showing gratitude and are ideal for romantic situations.
  • Orange: Bold and enthusiastic orange calla lilies provide warmth and vigor to any garden or flower design. They serve as striking focal points.
  • Purple calla lilies have a regal and opulent air about them. Their rich, deep hue gives every scene a dash of refinement and drama. 

Common Problems with Calla Lilies

While calla lilies are generally hardy and resilient, they may encounter a few common problems. Here are some issues to be aware of:

  • Root Rot: Root rot, which is characterized by yellowing leaves, wilting, and a foul stench, is a result of over watering or poorly drained soil. To stop this issue, make sure there is enough drainage and abstain from overwatering.
  • Calla lilies are sensitive to pest infestations from slugs, spider mites, and aphids. Regularly check the plants, and if required, take the necessary precautions to control these pests.
  • Fungal infections: Fungal infections like powdery mildew or leaf spot may develop as a result of excessive moisture or insufficient air circulation. To stop the spread of illness, provide enough ventilation, abstain from overhead watering, and treat any symptoms right away.
  • Winter Damage: Calla lilies may be vulnerable to damage from freezing temperatures in areas with harsh winters. To safeguard the bulbs and assure their life, use the proper winter care steps. 

Tips For Successful Care and Maintenance of Calla Lily Plants

To ensure the successful care and maintenance of calla lilies, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Choose a spot with well-draining soil and exposure to both partial shade and full light.
  • Consistently apply water to keep the soil uniformly wet but not soggy.
  • Throughout the growth season, apply a balanced fertilizer on a regular basis.
  • Taller types should have support to keep them from toppling over.
  • After the first autumn frost, remove any dead blooms and trim back any leaves.
  • Take the necessary steps to control any illnesses and pests you find.
  • Mulch the area surrounding the plants to keep moisture in and weeds out.
  • In winter in areas with freezing temperatures, lift and store bulbs. 

Interesting Facts about Calla Lilies

Here are a few intriguing facts about calla lilies:

  • True lilies do not exist; calla lilies are. They are a member of the Araceae family of plants, which also includes philodendrons and peace lilies.
  • The word “calla” means “beautiful” in Greek, which perfectly reflects the gorgeous blooms that bear this name.
  • Due to their grandeur and meaning, calla lilies are often used in bridal bouquets and flower arrangements.
  • Traditional African and Native American societies have used calla lilies for therapeutic purposes in addition to their decorative significance.
  • It’s crucial to keep Calla lilies away from children and dogs since they might be harmful if consumed.
  • When handling calla lilies, it’s best to use gloves since their sap has the potential to irritate certain people’s skin.
  • Calla lilies may be used as cut flowers for up to two weeks with the right care and have a lengthy vase life.

These intriguing details further the attraction and mystique of calla lilies, capturing the interest of both gardeners and flower lovers.

Final Words

I hope you get the answer on “Are calla lilies perennial” and now you know perennial and annual plants are 2 different climatic conditions which makes one survive for a year and other survive for many years. 

Related Posts:

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The Language of Flowers What Calla Lilies Symbolize in Different Cultures

Calla Lily Varieties A Guide to Different Colors and Shapes

Calla Lily Bouquets Creative Ways to Use Them in Weddings and Events

How to Grow and Care for Calla Lilies – Tips for a Healthy Plant

Calla Lily Meaning : White, Black, Yellow, Colors Symbolism

Deadhead Calla Lily – How and When to Cut Back

Calla Lilies In Pots – Do They Grow Well(Care, How to)

How Long Do Calla Lilies Last? – Care Guide

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark , a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Check our Social media Profiles: Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram Tumblr

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