The fascinating and incredibly gorgeous calla lilies have their origins in the tropical marshes of South Africa. This origin is a pointer to the fact that they are water-loving plants that bloom exceptionally well in warmer regions. How often should you water calla lilies?
Though native to marshes or moist river banks in tropical areas, calla lilies have been successfully grown in temperate regions around the world often as indoor ornamental plants. This is possible because calla lilies are low-maintenance plants that require little care to grow and bloom with trumpet-like flowers.
With the right soil and temperature requirements, proper care for the plants simply means watering them correctly. This prompts the question of what is the best watering schedule or how often should you water calla lilies?
Read on to find the answer to this and many more questions linked to all relevant water management routines for garden or potted calla lilies.
How Often Should You Water Calla Lilies
When it comes to calla lily care strategy, over-watering is something that must be avoided. On the other hand, excessively dry soil conditions due to under-watering would lead to similar results: unhealthy calla lilies.
So how often should you water calla lilies to ensure optimal growth and subsequently glorious blooms? The issue is closely related to a couple of water requirement variables: when to water them and how much water they require.
However, the frequency of watering, how much water to use, and the best time to water them are all dependent on factors such as the temperature, humidity, amount of light, soil type, and whether the calla is potted or planted in the garden. We would discuss how each affects how often you water calla lilies.
When to water calla lilies
– Like all plants, the best time to water them is early in the morning. If your schedule prevents you from doing it in the morning, the next best window is late afternoon.
How often to water calla lily
– Water the plants (whether potted or garden) when the soil is dry. To avoid multiple watering during the day, especially in the afternoon, ensure that you water slowly and deeply so that the water sinks into the soil to the required depth.
Keep in mind that the weather conditions might make it necessary to water more than once a day if the top 1 – 2 inches of the soil becomes dry. For instance, On hot, windy days, you want to regularly check the soil, especially for outdoor/garden calla lilies, to make sure it is not dry.
To test for soil moisture level, stick a finger into the soil up to about 2 inches. If it feels wet or moist, you don’t have to water. Conversely, it’s time to water again if your finger comes out dry.
Also, due to a combination of drainage holes and the limiting pot size, potted calla lilies dry out faster than garden lilies. So don’t be surprised if you have to water the potted plants more often compared to the ones grown in the garden.
When to stop watering
Calla lilies usually become dormant once a year. This occurs when the plants cease blooming (blooming generally lasts between 3 – 9 weeks) leading to the flowers turning yellow and then brownish later.
When the calla lilies stop blooming, it is strongly recommended that you stop watering them and allow the flowers and plants to die naturally. The lack of water ensures the bulb or rhizome dries up making it convenient to store. You can resume normal service when the next growing season comes around.
The dormant bulbs can be stored in the pot in a dark, cool, dry location and watered just sparingly every few weeks to keep them alive. You can then take the pot out after at least 8 weeks (just in time for the new growing season) and resume the standard watering routine.
Calla Lily Irrigation Considerations
While it is recommended that you maintain a watering routine that keeps the soil consistently moist, soggy soil as a result of excessive watering leads to root rot. You want to avoid this because this spells the end of your calla lily if it gets out of control.
Root rot affects the stem and bulb. A foul-smelling bulb and stems that are soft and mushy are two classic symptoms of the disease. The stem won’t be able to supper the weight of the foliage and ultimately collapses.
The recommended solution when it gets to this point is to dispose of the plant and soil in the pot. Before using the pot again, soak it in a good disinfectant for about half an hour. Allow it to dry after rinsing before adding fresh potting soil.
Since several factors determine how often you water calla lilies, you’ll have to discover what works best for you. There is usually a brief learning curve in getting the optimal balance between keeping the soil consistently moist and over-watering. But always remember to frequently test the soil moisture levels with your finger.
Lack of proper soil drainage can also lead to soggy soil. For garden calla lilies, this is typically linked to clay or soils that are too heavy. The typical fix for this problem is to amend the soil using compost or recommended soil amendment ingredients.
For calla lilies grown in pots, improper drainage is caused by a lack of drainage holes and poor potting soil. So you have to ensure that the container or pots have drainage holes before planting.
To ensure that the excess water drains out of the pot efficiently, use a high-quality potting mix. If it is impossible to purchase potting mix, you can make some at home using a mixture of vermiculite or pine bark, perlite, and pest moss. The final product should be light and fluffy.
Remember to line the bottom of the pot or planter with coffee filters so the soil doesn’t wash out with the excess water.
Excess stagnant water
Most often, indoor calla lilies are grown in pots featuring saucers at the bottom to collect the excess draining water. Here is the thing though, the water in the saucer can be reabsorbed by the soil if it’s left for too long in the saucer. This can lead to soggy soil-related problems like root rot.
So emptying the saucer(s) of the drained water should be a part of the watering routine. Do this each time you water the potted calla lilies.
Calla Lily Watering & Care Tips
Ease off on watering if the leaf tips of your calla lily turn brown. This is one sign of over-watering. But this could also be a sign of too much fertilizer.
When blooming stops in late fall, the leaves would start turning yellow. Reduce the watering frequency. The plant is about the enter its dormant period.
At the end of the dormant period, which lasts 2 – 3 months, you can resume watering the bulbs.
Avoid alternating between soil that is too dry or too moist. Your sweet spot for optimal growth is located between these two extremes.
There are no set rules when it comes to how often you should water calla lilies. The irrigation schedule depends on factors such as the prevailing weather conditions, soil type, and whether they are grown indoors in pots or outdoors in the garden.
What is of prime importance is the soil moisture level. The garden soil or potting mix should be kept evenly moist all the time. In essence, you might have to water the calla lilies more often on some days and less often on others – it’s mostly about whether the soil is moist or dry after doing a quick soil moisture test with your finger.