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How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Callas Lilies – Complete Guide

Pink Callas Lilies

Callas lilies are admired for their understated elegance. They have long been a popular choice for Easter bouquets and are frequently included in a variety of flower arrangements for events like weddings and funerals. Callas lilies symbolize purity, rebirth, and resurrection with their pure-white trumpet-shaped flowers and delicate appearance. 

These perennials can be grown in pots, flower beds, and along borders, where they can reach a height of 1-3 feet.

Here’s a complete guide on how to grow and care for your Callas lily plant so it’ll thrive in your garden.

Botanical NameZantedeschia aethiopica

Common Name: Callas lily, arum lily

Family: Araceae

Plant Type: Rhizome

Hardiness Zones: 8 to 10 USDA

Sun Exposure: Full, partial

Soil Type: Moist but well-drained

Soil pH: Acidic

Height: 2–3 ft. tall

Bloom Time: Spring

Flower Colors: White, coral, pink, maroon, yellow, and orange

Native Area: Africa (Southern Africa, Swaziland)

What is a Callas Lily?

Ironically, Callas lily flowers are not considered ‘true lilies. Callas lilies grow from rhizomes and come in bright white and different shades of deep pink, rose, bright yellow, orange, and dark maroon or burgundy. Some have pretty white freckles on their leaves, so they are eye-catching even when not in bloom. Callas lilies, or arum lilies, are native to South Africa. Their distinctive shape makes them stand out in garden beds; Callas lilies also make for great indoor houseplants.

Callas lilies, or arum lilies, are native to South Africa. Their distinctive shape makes them stand out in garden beds; Callas lilies also make for great indoor houseplants.

Callas Lilies at the edge of a pond.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Callas Lily Care

Growing and caring for Callas lilies is easy as they do not need too much attention. 

Although, location and proper planting are essential factors to keep in mind while growing this plant. Care for the Callas lily requires planting them in loose and well-drained soil and ensuring they’ll receive full sun or partial shade in warmer climates. 

These lily plants are recommended to be planted in spring. However, if there’s a threat of frost, you should wait until it passes and the soil is warmed sufficiently before planting Callas lilies.


These lilies are tropical plants that thrive in warm environments and conditions, including plenty of bright, indirect light. 

 Your Callas lilies can handle full sun or partial shade in warm climates.


Once the plant’s rhizomes are well established, you can water it once a week or more if your region is experiencing drought-like conditions. Indoor Callas lilies need constant moisture, as pots will dry out quicker than ground plantings. 


These lilies enjoy high humidity and moisture levels, so humid summers keep this flower blooming just fine. 

Avoid humidity percentages below 50 and considerable fluctuations during daytime humidity. Cala lilies thrive beautifully when cultivation variables are kept constant.


Callas lily flowers are fans of warm temperatures and environments between 60°F-80°F. When temperatures drop below 50°F, the plants go into dormancy. 

Dig up your plant’s rhizomes for overwatering before freezing temperatures occur. 

Frost can kill your Callas lily.


A moist, rich, well-drained soil is best to keep Callas lilies plants blooming. 

These plants grow well alongside ponds and can tolerate a moist soil location. However, avoid allowing Callas lilies to become waterlogged, as it can lead to root rot. To increase your plant’s nutritional density of your soil, feed it with organic matter before planting your lilies.


These lilies need feeding upon planting and at the beginning of every spring growing season to promote stunning flowers. 

Well-balanced fertilizers should work fine. Do not use a nitrogen-heavy blend, which can reduce the plant’s flowering.

Yellow Callas Lilies

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Callas Lily Propagation

These lilies can be easily propagated by dividing their rhizome. 

Callas lilies form large clumps, which can be divided into individual plants. 

Plants that grow from rhizomes will bloom much sooner than seed-grown plants. 

To divide a Callas lily rhizome, follow these steps:

  1. Use a shovel to pull up the rhizome if your lily is in the ground. You’ll need a clean pot and potting soil to keep your new plant indoors.
  2. Use a shovel to cut a circle around the root to make it easier to pull.
  3. Once the clumped root has been pulled up, brush off the dirt and place it in a well-ventilated, shady, dry place until it dries out. Do not water it.
  4. Once the rhizome has dried out, use a sharp, clean knife to separate the rhizomes, ensuring that each piece has at least one eye or root growing from it.
  5. Replant the rhizome in a potting containing moist, well-draining soil or in a compost-enriched garden bed leaving at least six inches from other plants. 
White Callas Lilies

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Callas Lily’s Common Problems

When growing these lilies, you may encounter several issues, most notably bacterial soft rot, which affects the botrytis and rhizomes, a fungal disease that creates a filmy grey mold that grows over the plant’s leaves, stems, and petals.

To reduce fungal disease risks, do not overwater your lily, and make sure to plant each Callas lily far enough apart, so it has ample air circulation.

Common pests

Various pests can infest Callas lilies, including slugs, spider mites, and aphids. 

You can treat your plants with horticultural oil like neem oil or mild insecticidal soap to combat any of these pests.

Yellow leaves

Callas lilies love water. They may not bloom and turn yellow if they don’t get sufficient water. 

Also, a sign of underwatering is stunted growth and wilting. To keep your plant’s foliage healthy, water it consistently.

Brown edges 

If you notice your plant’s leaves’ edges turn brown, it may be because you are using nitrogen fertilizer. The best you can do is get a new fertilizer.

Callas Lily Toxicity

Like other Aracear family plants, Callas lily plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate that punctures sensitive tissues of the gastrointestinal system. 

When eaten, they can cause irritation of the IG tract, pain, temporary hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and swelling to both humans and pets.

Though Callas lily poisoning is rare, any part of the plant will almost certainly result in a rather unpleasant experience if ingested. 

Also, if the plant’s juices come in contact with the skin, swelling, pain, or burning may occur. 

Contact a medical professional or poison control if any adverse reactions occur.


Other Flower Guides from Planet Natural:

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Lily Flowers at Home

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Shampoo Ginger Lily

Peonies: How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Peony Flowers


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Melissa Askari is a biologist and master gardener who is known for her contributions to the field of sustainable living. She is a regular contributor to Planet Natural, a website that provides information and resources for gardening, composting and pest control. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices and helping people create beautiful, healthy gardens using natural methods. With her expertise in both biology and gardening, Melissa is able to provide valuable insights and advice to gardeners of all levels. Her passion for the natural world is evident in her writing and her dedication to promoting sustainable practices that benefit both people and the planet.