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Are Calla Lilies Perennial? – Grow Back Every 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.

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.

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


annual calla lily

These calla lilies grown in containers and pots with fertile soil given sufficient water can help them grow healthy and it may bloom well if planted in spring season. Calla lily  bulbs are saved for the next year so we can see new blooms and it will help the plant to grow all year round except winters. 

What to plant with calla lilies?

Calla lilies companion plants are ligularias, Lavenders, Hostas, Creeping jenny, ferns, hostas and much more when planted outdoors as perennial plants. It is also paired with dichondra, miller, petunias, Catmint, Comos, Freesia and others in large container plants. I would recommend going with the plants which are smaller and have perennial can be placed outside while those plant species which are annual growers can be planted indoors in pots or containers.

Best place for calla lilies and its companion plants is full sun but some plants only thrive best in partial light so you have to choose and pair only those plants which work in this environment same as calla lilies. 

Are calla lilies perennials in zone 5?

No, Calla lilies aren’t perennial in zone 5 and they will grow as annual plants because the region is colder and it supports USDA zone 8 to 11. Also Note that I cannot guarantee that those plants that grow in zone 8 or higher may not face any problems in winters or frost it is possible that they need to be stored in the house otherwise calla can be termed as annual if the life of plant get restricted to one year only because of heavy forst.

These calla lilies are charming looking multicolor flowering species that are not true lilies but have gorgeous petals. They are winter hardy meaning it is capable of surviving in winters but mostly they can be grown as annuals until and unless the owner stores it inside till frost end. Once spring starts calla lily bulbs can be replanted and you can enjoy next summer with calla lily flower blooms.

Calla lily perennial or annual?

Calla lilies are perennial plant not annual but sometimes with different harsh climate conditions turns calla lily to annual in some cases. Perennial calla lilies are grown every year and stored indoors for next season, what happens is they can’t survive too much frost or cold for that reason lily once wither can be cut off and only the bulbs are taken out and placed indoors in moss to protect its rhizomes. 

Once next spring hits, you can plant the rhizomes back in the pot or container or in the garden . It will surely bloom after 3-4th months. Rhizomes rooting is faster than the seed germination that is why every cultivator or gardener prefers bulbs of calla lily to multiply it.

These calla bulbs are stored and they can be planted back every year this way it is called perennial plants. In case of annual plants calla lily, some varieties might have a hard time in winters so they are termed as annual while for main variety if the owner doesn’t store it properly indoors your plant might not survive and can be denoted as annual calla lily plant.

Can calla lilies survive winter?

Calla lilies may not survive winters as the plant is not capable of tolerating low temperature. It will get root rot or may die back if not stored indoors. I would highly recommend to place the plant indoors in a warm area wrapped in peat or sphagnum moss. After the cold season ends you can simply put back calla lily plants outdoors this way it can survive after winters.

Winters are not the best for calla lilies but many people just use this chance to take out all the multiplied bulbs and save it indoors. After winters they plant back all the bulbs this way many people enjoy more calla lily blooms in summers. As You know the calla lilies have grown and produce more bulbs/rhizomes which create more such calla lily babies so we can still plant them next year so for some gardeners winter is the best season for calla lilies which helps them to multiply the plants.

Can calla lily be planted outside?

Yes, Calla lily can be planted outside year round but make sure the winter frost water may not damage the bulbs of calla lily otherwise the plant can stay outside as long as it is not getting too cold. These plants are hardy to zone 8 to 11 and it can also grow indoors but preferred outdoors in spring to summer for best blooms.

Calla lilies planted outside can see much faster growth compared to indoors. In the outdoors they can be planted with other companion plants which makes the garden more beautiful and elegant. 

Calla lily perennial zone 7

Calla lilies are not perennial so in zone 7 you need to put the tubers of calla lily inside the house in peat or sphagnum moss to protect it. Otherwise for zones 8-10 it is able to survive the frost. Once winters are gone, you can plant the bulbs outside in the garden or container. Calla lilies in zone 7 can be called an annual plant.

Calla lily perennial zone 6

Perennial Calla lily should be kept rhizomes indoors in zone 6 as the climate would be too cold and calla lily can’t survive in such a freezing temperature. I recommend planting it after frost in spring. Calla lilies in zone 6 can be called an annual plant because of the freezing climate.

Calla lily perennial zone 4

Zone 4 is too cold for calla lily perennial plants so you have to put the bulbs inside the house and wrap in peat or sphagnum moss that will provides it warmer conditions so calla lily can survive. Calla lilies in zone 4 can be called annual plants because of too cold temperatures.

Calla lily perennial zone 8

Calla lily is winter hardy in zone 8 so it makes it a perennial plant. It means it can survive the temperature in zone 8. It can be called a perennial plant  in zone 8-11 because they are able to withstand this particular cold temperature otherwise zone 3,4,5,6 calla lilies are not going to handle the frost.

Are calla lilies perennials in Ontario?

According to Planthardiness, Ontario covers USDA zone 0 to 7a which means the province belongs to colder regions and our calla lily is winter hardy to zone 8-11 which means calla lilies cannot be perennial in Ontario province and considered as annuals.

Are calla lilies perennials in Alberta?

Calla lilies are not perennial in Alberta, Canada as it ranges from zone 0 to 5 and these zones calla lilies are considered as annuals and perennials. You should put bulbs back indoors in winters and again take out and plant them in spring, as more colder regions make calla lilies bulbs freeze and it won’t survive below 30 degree F temperatures.

Are calla lilies perennials in Georgia?

Calla lilies can be considered perennial in Georgia, cities that have hardiness zone 8-9. Those living in zone 6 and 7 may need to take the calla lily inside and protect it for winters and then grow back in spring. For those calla lilies growing in zone 8-9 can withstand the frost at some point.

How to store calla lily bulbs over the winter

You can store calla lily bulbs over the winter using sphagnum or peat moss so it can get warmer temperature. Some people use newspapers to wrap calla lily bulbs and place it in a dry area at the corner where people maintain warmth or at least more than 51 degree F temperature so that calla bulbs can stay fresh and don’t get any infection which hurts the rhizome.

If Winters passed successfully then it is win for you because now spring is the season where these bulbs can be placed back in ground and wait for summer to get blooms of calla lily flowers. Proper caring is important in winters as it can hurt the bulbs badly or it can save it for next season.

How to grow calla lilies in Florida

Calla lilies can grow in direct or partial sunlight in Florida and it mostly loves the area which has daylight sun. If you Florida belongs to zone 8-11 and our calla lilies are perennials to those zones which means it can survive the winters in that zone.  If your calla lilies can get enough sunlight and water then it would result in vibrant blooms in summers.

Also growing calla lily in Florida sunlight you need to give the plant water regularly if it dries out. Most people forgot to give them water which resulted in drought conditions, pale and dull leaves. Giving water timely would  protect it from sunlight heavy rays as it needs water to get moist. Calla loves wet soil so if the soil is moist always then it will surely grow much quicker.

Are calla lilies invasive

Yes, Calla lilies are invasive and can spread to large land by producing more bulbs, which creates more rooting. If these bulbs are taken out and planted in winter, hardy zones of calla lily include zones 8-10 then it can make it to spring again as they tolerate winters easily in those zones. White calla lilies are mostly said to be invasive. For those who wants to limit the growth of calla lily bulbs you can plant it in container or pots to protect the garden area for other flowering plants.

Do calla lilies prefer sun or shade

Calla lilies prefer sun and not shade, yes they do need shade when calla lilies are small seeds or when they start to grow from bulbs but mostly full sun is their requirement to fulfill all its needs. Usda zone 8-11 are mostly preferred as they can grow in full sunlight their and can also survive the winters. Plant calla lilies bulbs in a light spot in the garden and if they get full sun then you need to regularly give them water. Shade is not preferred for calla lily plants.

How to grow calla lilies in Australia

Calla lilies can grow in Australia in full sun to partial light areas or in gardens. It is considered perennial in zone 8 to 10 and Australia have only 4 zones from 7b to 11 so most probably the country most provicene can survive the winter frost except for zone 7b which get low temperature and heavy frost so our calla lily bulbs can’t survive in that zone only. All other zones 8,9,10,11 where calla lilies are planted can survive but if you still want to keep it stored then make sure to use a paper bag to wrap the bulb or use sphagnum moss so it gets warth. And in the next season you can plant back and wait for the bloom to show up in summers.

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. 

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Amelia Clark

I am Amelia Clark, An experienced gardener with 6 years expertise and this is my blog talk about plants and flowers. See more about me.

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