Indoor Delight: Is a Calla Lily an Indoor or Outdoor Plant?

Calla lilies, scientifically known as Zantedeschia, captivate with their graceful allure and vibrant blooms. Originating from the picturesque landscapes of southern Africa, these exquisite flowering plants have found their way into gardens and homes worldwide. With their elegant trumpet-shaped flowers and lush foliage, calla lilies add a touch of sophistication to any setting. Whether grown indoors or outdoors, enthusiasts are drawn to their timeless beauty and versatility.

In this guide, we delve into the world of calla lilies, exploring their cultivation, care, and the enchanting allure that makes them a cherished favorite among gardeners and floral enthusiasts alike.

What is a Calla Lily?

What is a Calla Lily?

A Calla Lily, scientifically known as Zantedeschia, is a perennial flowering plant native to southern Africa. It is renowned for its elegant trumpet-shaped flowers and lush, arrow-shaped foliage. The Calla Lily’s flowers come in various colors, including white, yellow, pink, purple, and even black. Despite its name, the Calla Lily is not a true lily but belongs to the Araceae family.

It symbolizes purity, rebirth, and admiration and is often used in floral arrangements for weddings, celebrations, and funerals. With its striking appearance and cultural significance, the Calla Lily holds a special place in the hearts of gardeners and flower enthusiasts worldwide.

Popular Varieties of Calla Lily

  • Classic White Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica): This is perhaps the most well-known variety. It features elegant white blooms and glossy green foliage, exuding timeless beauty and sophistication.
  • Pink Calla Lily (Zantedeschia rehmannii): This variety boasts delicate pink flowers that add a soft, romantic touch to any garden or floral arrangement.
  • Black Calla Lily (Zantedeschia Schwarzwalder) is a dramatic and striking variety with deep purple to almost black flowers that make a bold statement in any setting.
  • Yellow Calla Lily (Zantedeschia elliottiana): This variety radiates warmth and cheerfulness. Its vibrant yellow blooms brighten up the garden or indoor space.
  • Red Calla Lily (Zantedeschia Captain Safari): This variety adds a splash of color and elegance to the landscape with its rich red flowers and contrasting green foliage.
  • Green Goddess Calla Lily (Zantedeschia ‘Green Goddess’): This variety, characterized by its unique green and white spathes, offers a refreshing and distinctive look, perfect for adding interest to floral arrangements.

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Growing Conditions for Calla Lily:

Light Requirements:

  • Calla lilies thrive in bright, indirect light. When grown indoors, place them near a window where they can receive plenty of natural light without direct sunlight, which can scorch their delicate leaves.

Temperature and Humidity:

  • Calla lilies prefer moderate temperatures ranging from 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C). They also appreciate high humidity levels, so mist their leaves regularly, mainly if grown indoors.

Soil Conditions:

  • Well-draining, rich soil is essential for calla lilies. A mix of equal parts peat moss, perlite, and compost provides the right balance of nutrients and moisture retention.

Watering Needs:

  • Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Water thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry, and ensure proper drainage to prevent root rot.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cultivation

Calla lilies can be cultivated indoors and outdoors, offering unique advantages and considerations.

Benefits of Growing Calla Lily Indoors:

Control over Growing Conditions: Indoors, you have greater control over factors like light, temperature, and humidity, allowing you to create optimal conditions for your calla lilies’ growth.

Protection from Harsh Weather: Growing indoors shields calla lilies from extreme weather conditions such as frost, heavy rain, or strong winds, which can damage delicate blooms and foliage.

Year-Round Enjoyment: By growing calla lilies indoors, you can enjoy their beauty and fragrance year-round, regardless of the season or outdoor weather conditions.

Benefits of Growing Calla Lily Outdoors:

Natural Sunlight and Fresh Air: Outdoor cultivation provides access to natural sunlight and fresh air, which promote robust growth and vibrant blooms in calla lilies.

More Space for Growth: Outdoor gardens offer more space for calla lilies to spread and thrive, allowing them to reach their full potential and produce more significant, more abundant flowers.

Natural Pollination: In outdoor settings, calla lilies attract beneficial insects and birds for natural pollination, contributing to the health and fertility of the garden ecosystem.

So, Do calla lilies do better inside or outside?

Calla lilies can thrive indoors and outdoors, but their performance may vary depending on climate, growing conditions, and personal preferences. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

Indoor Cultivation:

  • Controlled Environment: Growing calla lilies indoors allows for better control over environmental factors such as light, temperature, and humidity, which can lead to optimal growth conditions.
  • Protection: Indoor cultivation protects from harsh weather conditions, pests, and diseases that may affect outdoor plants.
  • Year-Round Enjoyment: Indoors, you can enjoy the beauty of calla lilies year-round, regardless of the season or outdoor weather.

Outdoor Cultivation:

  • Natural Sunlight: Calla lilies typically thrive in natural sunlight, and outdoor cultivation provides access to abundant sunlight, which promotes robust growth and vibrant blooms.
  • Space for Growth: Outdoor gardens offer ample space for calla lilies to spread and thrive, allowing them to reach their full potential and produce more significant, more abundant flowers.
  • Natural Pollination: Outdoor calla lilies attract beneficial insects and birds for natural pollination, contributing to the health and fertility of the garden ecosystem.

Whether Calla lilies do better inside or outside depends on your specific circumstances and preferences. Indoor cultivation may be preferable for those seeking more control over growing conditions and year-round enjoyment. In contrast, outdoor cultivation offers the benefits of natural sunlight, space for growth, and natural pollination. Consider your climate, available space, and desired level of involvement in plant care when deciding where to grow your calla lilies.

How to Care for Calla lilies indoors?

How to Care for Calla lilies indoors?

Potting and Repotting:

Choose a well-draining pot with ample drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, as calla lilies prefer moist but not soggy soil. Report your calla lily annually in the spring to refresh the soil and provide space for root growth. Use a potting mix rich in organic matter, such as peat moss or compost, to ensure adequate nutrients for healthy growth.


Feed your indoor calla lilies with a balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season (spring to fall). Choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for flowering plants and follow the instructions carefully to avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to salt buildup and root damage.

Pest and Disease Control:

Monitor your indoor calla lilies regularly for signs of pests such as aphids, spider mites, or thrips. If detected, treat the infestation promptly with organic insecticidal soap or neem oil. Also, proper air circulation around the plants should be ensured, and overcrowding should be avoided to prevent fungal diseases like powdery mildew.

Overwintering Indoors:

Bring your potted calla lilies indoors before the first frost to protect them from freezing temperatures in colder climates. Place them in an excellent, dark location with temperatures around 50-55°F (10-13°C) and reduce watering to allow the plants to enter dormancy. Keep the soil barely moist during winter and resume regular watering and fertilizing in the spring when new growth appears.

How to care for Calla Lily Outdoors?

How to care for Calla Lily Outdoors?

Planting Calla Lily Outdoors:

Choose a sunny or partially shaded location in your garden with well-draining soil. Plant calla lily bulbs in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. Dig holes 3 to 4 inches deep and space the bulbs 12 to 18 inches apart. Cover the bulbs with soil, water thoroughly, and mulch lightly to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

Watering and Mulching:

Water your outdoor calla lilies deeply once a week, especially during dry spells, to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or compost, around the plants to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth.


Remove spent flowers and yellowing leaves regularly to promote continuous blooming and maintain a tidy appearance. Use clean, sharp pruning shears to snip off faded blooms and trim away any damaged or diseased foliage. Avoid cutting back the entire plant, as calla lilies need their foliage to photosynthesize and produce energy for future growth.

Protecting from Frost:

In colder regions, protect outdoor calla lilies during the winter months to prevent frost damage. Apply a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plants to insulate the soil and protect the bulbs from freezing temperatures. Cover the plants with a frost cloth or bring potted calla lilies indoors before the first frost.


Apply a balanced fertilizer formulated for flowering plants once a month during the growing season (spring to fall). Choose a fertilizer with a higher phosphorus content to promote blooming. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and timing to avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to nutrient imbalances and foliage burn.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can calla lilies be grown indoors in low-light conditions?

While calla lilies prefer bright, indirect light, they can tolerate moderate to low light conditions indoors.

Do calla lilies need to be divided and replanted regularly?

Yes, dividing and replanting calla lilies every few years helps rejuvenate the plants and prevents overcrowding.

Are calla lilies toxic to pets?

Yes, calla lilies are toxic to cats, dogs, and other pets if ingested. To avoid potential poisoning, keep them out of the reach of curious pets.

How long do calla lilies bloom?

With proper care, calla lilies can bloom from spring to fall, with individual flowers lasting one to two weeks.

Can calla lilies be grown from seed?

While calla lilies can be grown from seeds, they typically take several years to reach maturity and may not produce flowers true to the parent plant.


In conclusion, whether grown indoors or outdoors, calla lilies add elegance and beauty to any garden or living space. You can enjoy their stunning flowers and lush foliage year-round by providing the right growing conditions and proper care. Whether indoors, where they offer controlled environments and year-round enjoyment, or outdoors, where they thrive in natural sunlight and fresh air, calla lilies are sure to enchant with their timeless allure and vibrant blooms.

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