KC Gardens

How do I keep my Mother’s Day calla lily going?

QUESTION:

I received a calla lily for Mother's Day. It is still in the pot I received it in & is doing ok but not great. Can you tell me how to care for it? Thank you, Mary

ANSWER:

I'm guessing you wish to keep the plant indoors. A Calla Lily likes 6 hrs of bright, indirect light, and should be kept away from drafts (heating or air conditioning vents). The soil should be well-draining and should be moist at all times, that's moist, not soggy. Fertilizing with a with a low nitrogen fertilizer monthly is a good idea, but stop fertilizing when the bloom begins to die back. Their ideal temperature range is 50-75 degrees. With that being said callas are very high light requiring plants. It is best that the plant be grown outdoors for the summer in a more sunny location. Indoors they will struggle with the lower light.

The rhizome needs to go through a rest period of several months. So when the bloom dies, stop watering, let the foliage die, cut it off, remove the rhizome from the pot and store in a cool, dark, not to damp location. After the rest period, repot in fresh well draining soil, water, fertilize and move it to a warmer location. Don't water quite as much as normal, until the green leaves begin to appear. If you move outdoors bring back inside before a frost and withhold water so that it goes dormant. It can be kept over winter in the garage if it does not freeze or the basement. Bring back outdoors next spring after danger of frost is past.

You mention that your plant is doing okay, but not great,. Without knowing specifically what the problem is, here are some things to watch for. Be careful not to over water, if the leaf tips are brown this might be the problem. Likewise, make sure to follow the care guidelines above. Are there any pests present? Like scale or aphids? If the flower is still good and the leaves and stems are turning yellow, this could be a sign of a rotting rhizome, which is the reason not to over watering. But again, without more details, it is hard to answer this part of your question. Please feel free to re-post a question to the blog with more details.

Hope this helps.

Carole-Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

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