Is a Calla lily annual or perennial? [When potted or outdoors]

The beautiful South African calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) are treated as mere weeds in their native.

The beautiful South African calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) are treated as mere weeds in their native. They have come to gain popularity in the U.S. They come in various colors like waxy white, orange, dark green, pink, red, or purple. Anywhere you decide to use your calla lilies, garden, or potted houseplant, they deserve a spot in every home. With their cheerful colors on the magnificent vessel-shaped flowers, the calla lilies provide a spectacular rich effect in all homes. They are straightforward to grow and need little work on their maintenance hence embraced by home gardeners globally.

If you have grown or received them as a gift for the first time, you may wonder, are they going to last, or is it a lapsed beauty?

Are calla lilies annual or perennial?

Calla Lilies annual perennial
Photo by GomezDavid from iStock

Calla Lilies are beneficial in more than one way. They provide color to homes and gardens, food sources for pollinators last but not least, and cut blooms for florists and DIY projects. With all these benefits, you will want to have them around for an extended period.

Generally, calla lilies are perennial and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 11, you can also treat them as annuals in some conditions. Because they are not frosted tolerant, other people get rid of them once the spring or bloom season is over, not knowing you can save them until the next season. How you treat them determines if they will last through even winter seasons.

How do calla lilies spread?

Calla lilies are bulbs, and just like most bulbs, they spread through their roots producing even more bulbs. In areas that don’t experience winter, calla lilies spread like wildfire and kill the surrounding plants by barring blocking sunlight. Since they reproduce, it takes less for a new plant to shoot, so it’s best to alert new shoots or pot these lilies to control their growth.

 Apart from the rhizomes in the ground, they are also spread by bird-borne seed and cuttings. It is best to remove flowers as they wither to reduce the amount of seed accessible to birds and eliminate rhizomes and plant cuttings correctly. But if you want the rhizomes to spread and fill the garden, don’t divide them too often. This allows them to reach their maximum potential and avoid crowded conditions and decreased plant vitality. This will control and prevent the rhizomes from spreading to unwanted areas of your garden and intruding on smaller plants. But if you want to get rid of them completely, simply dig them out and dispose of them.

Conversely, when planting the calla lilies, choose the bulbs or calla rhizomes that are large, strong, and plump. The rhizomes’ size will determine the plant’s size in general and the size of the blossoms. Therefore, the bigger the rhizomes, the bigger the plant will, and it will have outstanding flowers. Who wouldn’t wish for such a magnificent sight to behold in their home?

Can calla lilies be potted?

potted calla lily
Photo by hamikus from iStock

Whether outdoors or indoors, calla lilies can and should be potted. When all the peril of frost has passed away, it is best to put the calla lilies in the pots.

Due to climatic differences, it’s advisable to grow potted calla lilies inside rather than outside. You can expect potted Callas to flower for three to nine weeks since they all have different growing conditions.

When potting, pay close attention to the container, and water needs to grow high-quality Calla lilies. Always check for any signs of damage or diseases. Affected calla lilies should not be potted but discarded.

Your pot or container of choice should be of the right size depending on the size of the Callas lilies you are planting. Generally, extra tall pots or the standard ones work best. Similarly, be keen on your potting line during potting. It is often difficult to determine the upside of a tuber, especially when the buds are still very young. The tubers must be planted inverted with about 0.5- 1 inch of potting means layering the crown. The pots should be watered immediately after potting. Fertilize them during blooming seasons to produce more flowers.

Potted Callas are limited to pots and cannot become intrusive. The Callas also look more organized and prettier when potted. In colder climates, potted calla lilies can be removed, treated for insects, and then returned inside for winter and grown as indoor plants.

How long do calla lilies last?

The calla lilies are available throughout the year, depending on the care given to them. As stated earlier, most people see no use for them during the winter seasons, but there are ways to preserve and maintain them for the next season.

These bulbs can be dug out and planted again in another setting, preferably indoors, to avoid winter frost. You can also leave them in the ground during winter in tropical climates (zones 8-10). Elsewhere, lift the rhizomes before the first frost, and clean the excess soil. Have them dry out in the direct sun for a couple of days, then store them in a dry place that rests between 50-60 degrees F. Plant again during spring after the frost danger has passed away and the soil has warmed there is adequate sunlight.

The Callas are perennial, but their blooms are periodic, depending on the growing settings. Calla lilies become dormant once a year.

Parting shot

Callas are not just ordinary beautiful flowers but are perfect for adding some natural glow to a room or an exceptional touch to a wedding bouquet. In general, the calla lily calls for no reinforcement to get it to flower. As long as the moisture and light settings are at the plant’s convenient levels, the blossoms will come about naturally.

However, calla lilies are poisonous and should not be kept near children or pets. The roots are the most toxic part of the plant, though the whole flower is fatal. Signs of calla lily poisoning are; diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. When swallowed or simply put in the mouth, the plant’s oxalic acid causes swelling and burning of the mouth, tongues, and throat. Moreover, if the acid gets in your eyes, it can cause pain and swelling. As much as they don’t need much maintenance, they need to be handled with sensitivity.