How To Grow Calla Lily Bulbs Indoors?

Calla lilies are tall, tubular flowers that bloom in white, yellows, pinks, purples, and reds. One can grow calla lily flowers both indoors and outdoors. These sensual and exotic flowers are easy to grow and care for, and you can have them in your home 12 months a year. At least my dad says so, and only four things are needed: calla lily bulbs, quick-draining soil, a container (s) and water.

My dad is 75 now. Ten years ago, he got into the flower business, where he started growing beautiful white Breeding Hybrid Calla Lilies.

In ten years, his business grew, and now he makes a significant income. Last winter was one of his best, he says, where he earned weekly the amount of money I used to make in a month, and in that time, my salary was way above average. His existential dilemma is solved.

Dad has a large greenhouse (image above) where he grows Calla Lily and then sells these in winter. A few days ago, I helped him to prepare bulbs for sale. He needed to prepare 1000 Calla Lily bulbs ready to deliver to a buyer. While cleaning and sorting, tiny lily rhizomes with stems were left behind. So I asked dad if I could use these and try to grow the calla lily flower in a pot (I do not have a greenhouse yet).

I wanted to find out if I could first grow flowers indoors for myself and then eventually, in time, do it as a business. So, here I am sharing my calla lily step-by-step process. Thanks, dad.

What are Calla Lilies?

Calla lilies are cylindrical flowers native to South Africa. A Swedish botanist discovered them in the 18th century. Still, they are not lilies, meaning the calla lily is not a true lily (Liliaceae), along with the devil’s ivy and philodendron. Nevertheless, several species of Calla Lily are available on the market today.

What Do Calla Lilies Symbolize? The calla lily meaning is purity, holiness, and faithfulness. Egyptians used calla lilies to symbolize fertility back in ancient times, while the Romans associated it with sexuality. Traditionally, the white petals represent the chasteness of the bride, and the inner spike of its blooms symbolizes fertility in hopes of having children during her marriage. This is why Calla Lilies are often used for weddings. White calla lilies also symbolize innocence, while yellow blooms show gratitude and pink blooms for admiration and appreciation. Meanwhile, purple signify passion, and black calla lilies convey the idea of elegance and mystery.

These plants are part of the Araceae family and grow from rhizomes, which can be divided in the spring or summer. They produce trumpet-shaped flowers in various colours and grow best in rich, moist soil. Because of its beautiful, colourful blooms, many people grow them indoors using different sizes and decorative pots.

Calla lilies come in wide varieties, but the ones I plan to grow indoors are California Ice Dancer. They have large flowers in creamy white shades and produce leaves in dark green, allowing their elegant white blooms to stand out. 

The flowers of the California Ice Dancers have stalks that can grow about 18 inches tall. Although, the last time we measured, lilies from dad’s greenhouse were around 50 inches or over 1m tall (image above).

Do calla lilies do well indoors?

Yes, calla lily does well indoors. Give them water when the soil is slightly dry and they’re good to go. They do not like cold so make sure to protect them during the winter months. If you place your calla lilies in environments that go below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, expect them to go dormant.

Are calla lilies easy to care for indoors?

Calla lily is very easy to care for indoors. They tend to like the North or East facing windows. They can tolerate a mild West window. However, they should not sit in the South window where the sun is all day long, as the leaves will probably bleach out. 

How long does a calla lily flower last?

One blossom will last one week, or possibly more, so you can enjoy them for a long time.

Calla Lily Planting In A Pot Step-By-Step Process

What is needed:

  • Containers. For containers, ideally, use a high-quality, all-purpose potting mix. I did not have these. I used simple containers.
  • Soil. Use a rich, well-draining soil.
  • Flower bulbs or ‘seeds.’
  1. Dig up the calla lily rhizomes or bulbs in the spring or summer. Break apart the roots.
  2. Gently cut the calla lily rhizomes into pieces with a knife or simply by hand. Each piece should have one or two stems.
  3. Feel in the small plastic container with the soil and press firmly with the palm of your hand. Make a small hole for the divided calla lilies in the centre of your container, 3 to 4 inches deep.
  4. Place the divided calla lilies (the tuber-like rhizomes) and cover them with more soil. Pat the soil down firmly. Water the separated calla lilies until moist. When planting calla lilies in pots indoors, you need to water them more frequently as pots dry out faster. So make sure to check the soil using your finger regularly.


Place the pot in a shady place, keep it moist, and do not allow rhizomes to freeze

Consistent moisture is essential for their growth, but do not overwater them as this causes their roots to rot.  

Calla Lily grows best with extra humidity, so a daily water mist would be helpful. The Calla Lily I am planting now are grown from bulbs, have a dormant period from June until August, and are winter/spring bloomers.

Now, I am planting my calla lilies in July. It is relatively warm here and often humid. So I decided to keep them outdoors (image below), away from the direct sun.

Keep your calla lily out of the reach of kids and pets. Every part of your calla lily is toxic, from the rhizomes and roots to the leaves and flowers. 

Calla Lily Growth Progress After 4 Weeks

After four weeks, this is how much lilies have grown. I transferred these from a small pot into a bit more spacious one. While many flower pots will get ready to be sold, I am keeping a few for myself.